Mini-DVI to Video

[Edit: 2007_01_10]
It works just like it says on the website!

If you want to know the details of my investigation read on, otherwise you can be happy to know that I’m using my TV as a second monitor for my laptop 🙂

I want to hook up my 12″ Aluminium PowerBook G4 1.33GHz to a television.


Apple sell a product called the “Apple Mini DVI to Video Adapter” (Part Number: M9319 or M9319G/A), but in the comments section someone complains that it’s not compatible with their 1.33 GHz 12″ PowerBook:

Not for use with 12″ Powerbook 1.33 Ghz as stated in Apple’s following article number 86507 (type it into the ‘search’ box in Apple’s ‘support’ page).

Very unclear advertising regarding machine compatability. Apparently 2 types of ‘mini-dvi’ – both called ‘mini-dvi’. This is only compatable with the most recent version of the 12″ Powerbook.

Apple – you need to clarify this.

The Apple support article refers to the compatability a product called the “Apple Mini-DVI to S-Video/Composite Adapter” which does indeed appear to suggest that it’s compatible with these machines,

The Apple Mini-DVI to S-Video/Composite Adapter has an S-video connector as well as a composite video style connector, which is a convenient way to connect the PowerBook G4 (12-inch DVI), PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.33GHz) or PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.5GHz) to a television or a video projector.

Now, I’ve done a bit of research about all the PowerBook’s Apple ever made and there only appears to be two models of 1.33 GHz 12″ PowerBook G4, called “M9183LL/A” (with combodrive) and the “M9184LL/A” (superdrive). According to that Apple support page they both have,

Mini-DVI port (12-inch models)

and

S-video and composite video output using mini-DVI to video adapter (sold separately) (12-inch models)

I looked up the serial number of my machine in System Profiler then entered it into this which tells me the details of my model:

Name: PowerBook G4 (Aluminum Model 2004)
Model: M9184 PowerBook G4 1.33GHz Drive=SuperDrive
Bus speed: 167MHz
Screen size: 12 inch

As well as some of it’s history:

Model introduced: 2004
Production year: 2004
Production week: 32 (August)
Production number: 1595 (within this week)

We are also provided with a link to another site detailing the history and specs of this machine, and also confirming the video output:

Video Out: DVI, S-Video (see notes)

Now I started to compare all of this data with what the traders are telling me. For example, when I look up parts available for the “Apple PowerBook G4 1.33GHz 12″ SuperDrive (M9184LL/A, A1010)” which I believe my machine is, I do not find the adapter I’m looking for, but when I search for this product I do find it available from this trader and referred to by the following names:

Apple Mini-DVI to Video Display Adapter
Apple part number 992-5930
Apple Model number M9319G/A, M9319GA

However I’m unsure if my machine is compatible with it. Only the following are listed:

“Apple PowerBook G4 12″”
“PowerBook G4 (12-inch”
“PowerBook G4 (12-inch DVI)”

Although the description reads as follows and would seem to suggest that my machine should be good to go as it was introduced in 2004:

The Apple Mini-DVI to Video Adapter was designed specifically for use with the latest 12-inch PowerBook G4 (models introduced in September 2003).

The adapter connects to the Mini-DVI port on the new 12-inch PowerBook G4 and provides both S-video and Composite video connectors. It allows many devices such as TVs, VCRs, or overhead projectors with S-Video or RCA (Composite) connectors to be connected to your new 12-inch PowerBook G4.

So … anyone know what’s going on here? Can I really use this adapter to connect my laptop to a TV or not?

Only one way to find out, try it!
But first, call Apple.

On Monday the 8th of August I phoned the UK Apple Store: 0800 039 1010
I asked about hooking up my PowerBook to a TV but was advised to call technical support which would cost about 9p / minute: 0870 876 0753

At 13:59 I called the technical support number and spoke to Dave.
He asked for my name, phone number and email address.
I explained that I want to make sure I order the right product for hooking up my PowerBook to a TV. He asked for my PowerBook serial number in order to get the right information.
I was told that he was going to set up a new case and would need some more information.
They already had a record set up for my phone number so they had to make a new one for me.
Dave told me that Apple would like to keep me up to date on news, products & services but I declined.
I was told that my powerbook was purchased on 11th August 2004 and that he’d look into the right product for me while I was kept on hold.

He came back and told me that there are a lot of different products available so he asked what kind of connections I have on my TV. I told him that I have red, white and yellow RCA Composite as well as SCART inputs. I was put back on hold.
Dave said that he wasn’t sure which product to advise so he was going to talk to the sales team and they might take the call off me but he would let me know if he was going to do that.
At 14:18 there was then a high pitched beep, and an automated female voice saying “The other person ha…” then the line went to a constant tone suggesting the connection had been dropped.
At 14:20 I hung up.

[edit: 2007_01_13] I actually just realised that Dave called me back at 14:18 on Monday and left a message apologising for losing the connection. For some reason (probably because I held the line for a couple of minutes after the connection dropped) I never heard the phone ring so I only just got the message today.

At 14:32 I called the store again:
Pressed 3 (help to buy an apple product)
Pressed 4 (all other options – not student, business etc)

Explained what had happened but told that they couldn’t deal with my case here so they’d put me through to an automated message system where I should choose option 5 (all other queries).

I then got through to an Irish girl called Lyndsay.
I explained what had happened and also told her that the technical support member, Dave had started a case for me and that she might be able to find information there.
After a little while identifying exactly what the product was she advised me to order it, and that if it doesn’t work Apple would pay to have it returned and replaced with a compatible one. If necessary I should ask for Lyndsay by name as she’s the only one by that name and she would deal with my case personally.
Conversation ended at 14:43

At 15:00 I order the product from their website.
I’ll let you know how it goes when it arrives!

[edit: 2007_01_10]
The delivery came at around 10:30 on Tuesday the 9th, but I was asleep so I missed it.* Fortunately UPS came again the next day and I set my alarm extra early (10:00) in order to be awake this time. (I still stayed in bed and just got my girlfriend to go and answer the door for me though.)
It’s here! Now I just need an male-male RCA composite video cable, which rather annoyingly my local electrical store doesn’t have.
Close but no definitive answer yet!
Stay tuned…

* Hey, I’m a full time student now, sleeping in is my raison d’etre!

[edit: 2007_01_10]
Ok, so I rumaged around in my tool box and found an old (and short) twin phono cable which will suffice. It just means I have to have the laptop quite close to the TV. Saves me spending more money though.

I have just watched a bit of a DVD from my laptop on my TV. It looks great, the image quality is even a bit better than on my laptop which is odd but still, I’m happy. This is exactly why I wanted this cable in the first place – I don’t own a DVD player but I do have a computer and a big TV. Put two and two together and what do you get? Big screen movies! Yay!
The other important thing to point out is that the reader on the Apple store who complained it didn’t work on his 12 inch PowerBook 1.33 GHz is misleading. I don’t know the details of his case, but all of the information about my case is here and you can see for yourself all of the technical specifications, product numbers etc.

I added a comment to the product page in Apple’s store and this is what they said,

“Your review is being reviewed and will be available within the next 3 business days.”

There’s something slightly amusing about reviewing a review. But who reviews the reviewers?!
Anyway, thery’re wrong, it’s available right now:

Apple Mini DVI to Video Adapter
Works on 12 Inch PowerBoook G4 1.33 GHz

Written by GW from BRISTOL

Contrary to what GR from Kilmarnock said, this product does work on my laptop (which I bought in August 2004): “Apple PowerBook G4 1.33GHz 12″ SuperDrive (M9184LL/A, A1010)”

I ordered the adapter on Monday and it arrived on Tuesday.
I am now happily using my big, widescreen TV as a second monitor for my laptop.

Just remember that the video cable to connect the adapter to the TV is not included with this product.

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