iPad Accessories: Connections for a TV or Projector

The iPad has a pretty big screen for a tablet computer, and when it comes to the Retina display, you can't help but give it high praise.. But that display is still not nearly as large as a TV or a monitor that you might see in a conference room or auditorium. To send iPad content to a bigger screen, you can choose from three connectors:

  • VGA Adapter cable: Projecting what’s on the iPad’s screen to a larger display is the very reason behind the iPad Dock Connector–to–VGA Adapter cable that Apple sells. You can use it to connect your iPad to TVs, projectors, and VGA displays to watch videos, slide shows, and presentations on the big screen.

    VGA (video graphics array) delivers, by today’s standards, low-resolution video output, compared, say to the more advanced HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface).

  • Component AV Cable: You may otherwise have decent results playing movies off iPad to a TV using yet another cable that Apple sold, the Apple Component AV Cable. (You mightbe able to find a used one online.) The hookup is from the dock connector on the iPad to the so-called component video ports of your home theater or stereo receiver; such component connectors are red, blue, and green.

    As part of this setup, you also need to hook up red and white audio connectors to analog ports on the receiver.

    Some buyers of the Apple Component AV Cable have been disappointed, however, because the product doesn’t exactly mirror the iPad display at all times. In fact, it all-too-frequently doesn’t. The app you’re trying to project must support playing video to an external display, and only some do, such as

    • Videos, Photos, and YouTube among the iPad’s built-in apps

    • The optional Keynote, Netflix, and Air Video programs

    • Safari, which works for some videos, but not everything you’re viewing through the browser

  • Digital AV Adapter cable: The newest addition to the Apple adapter family is the Apple Digital AV Adapter. If you have an original iPad, this cable does what the other two adapters do, but instead of using VGA or component video connectors, it uses HDMI, which is a standard on state-of-the-art HDTVs and other modern gear.

    If you have an iPad 2 or a third-generation iPad, however, this adapter includes a nice bonus: It lets you mirror the display on your iPad on a big screen TV, which is great for demos and presentations. It has been used to, among other things, play Angry Birds on the bigger TV screen, or to watch HD movies in hotel rooms.

Speaking of mirroring the display of your iPad onto a large-screen TV, you can do that wirelessly with the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad as long as you’re streaming to another Apple accessory, Apple TV. It’s all accomplished through AirPlay.

Apple TV provides a lot of niceties in its own right, even if you don’t own an iPad. For example, you can watch 1080p TV shows and movies; watch videos on Netflix, YouTube, and Vimeo; listen to music from your iTunes library on a PC or Mac; and admire photos through iCloud.

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