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HDMI Coming to Macs?

March 2, 2010 - Dave Hecei

Both and have reported that a new Mac mini prototype has been spotted and it has an HDMI port. This rumored HDMI port would be a first for the Macintosh line, something that has been on Windows PCs for a while now. This rumored mini also has the mini DisplayPort, allowing it to still drive two separate monitors.

Going beyond the idea of a new Mac mini coming, the idea that it will have HDMI lends me to believe that Apple might be gearing the mini to true media server duty. With services like Apple’s own Front Row, Netflix streaming, and Boxee, the mini makes a perfect ’set-top-box’ like device. Plus, it’s actually has a smaller footprint than the AppleTV and has much more processing power since it has a Core 2 Duo processor.

Back in the fall of 2008, Apple introduced new MacBook Pros with the new mini DisplayPort. This new video (and audio, even though Apple does not implement that half yet) standard was touted to be an open industry standard. This basically meant that Apple didn’t have to pay fees to use it, something that cannot be said about including an HDMI port, which needs to be licensed.

At the time, Apple said they wanted to follow this new open standard and that HDMI was limited. The specidications for HDMI 1.0 said that it could only drive a monitor up to 1920 x 1200. DisplayPort has advantages over standard DVI and HDMI, but now that HDMI is up to version 1.3a, resolution is not as much of an issue.

While there are mini DiplayPort to HDMI adapters available, this only carries video – there is no audio output through the DiplayPort. This is disappointing, especially since the mini has digital audio output already built in. For some reason Apple decided not to tie this audio into the DisplayPort.

It seems strange that Apple would so quickly abandon DisplayPort, or maybe that it has decided to abandon DVI. It is also quite possible that HDMI will only be available on the mini and will not be an option on any other Mac model. If any Mac should have an HDMI port it really should be the mini. This would allow the mini to be connected to an HDTV with just a single cable feeding audio and video, making it a great ‘mediacenter’ system.


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Rumored Mac mini with HDMI port