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When the new Apple TV arrived, I couldn’t wait to hook it up…after all, it would magically transform…well, I don’t know. I just knew I needed to get one to fully take advantage of my iPad. Unfortunately, after digging to the bottom of a small box, I realized I was missing a critical component–an HDMI cable. At least, I thought that’s what I was missing.

A few questions started going around in my head:
  1. Where can I get an HDMI to HDMI cable for less than Apple’s $19.00
  2. If teachers are buying their own Apple TVs to put into their classrooms–presumably so they can mirror student iPads, as well as their own, is there an HDMI to VGA adapter?
  3. If teacher buying their own Apple TVs wanted to connect that device to a television with component cables (red, green, blue), how would they do that?
I admit that I am a rank beginner with my iPad and Apple TV. I have yet to buy the HDMI cable, although I may have a chance this weekend.

Fortunately, there were a few folks online who had some suggestions for alternatives:

 288  somernewland@mguhlin Check Amazon. Lots of cheap options!
 pwelter@mguhlin I’ve used this on amazon has a Basics HDMI for $6 also that will work fine. 

6 foot cable for $9.99 via Amazon

Two other responses:

 126  drrios@mguhlin I hooked up my Apple TV with an HDMI cable from Altex. Much cheaper. 153  mmongardi@mguhlin I just bought an HDMI cable at an electronics store. So yes, you can do better than $19!

While it would be neat if all our classroom equipment had HDMI, chances are, they don’t. But we do have digital projectors…and older televisions with component video/audio.
HDMI TO VGA or Apple TV to Digital Projector
Ok, so here’s the problem–teachers are buying Apple TVs to put in their classrooms, but they don’t have any televisions with HDMI to plug into. Would it be possible to just use an HDMI to VGA cable that you could plug into a digital projector? The answer is NO, the cable below won’t work:
$0.99 HDMI to VGA Cable via Amazon – THIS WILL NOT WORK
Here’s why:

This is a good quality cable, but it does not convert HDMI to VGA. HDMI is a purely digital signal and VGA is analog, unless you have a device that can accept a digital signal via its VGA port this will not work. If you need to display HDMI on a VGA monitor this will not work for you. Probably cheaper to get a secondary video card.

Alas, it looks like a $100 converter box would be needed to go from HDMI digital signal to VGA analog on a digital projector, but thanks to the power of Amazon, it’s not that expensive:
$40.96 HDMI to VGA Converter Box
Ok, so to revise my understanding here…
The Apple TV via HDMI to HDMI would be plugged into the converter box, and the digital projector cable would go into the VGA slot. And, it works with Apple TV according to this comment:

I needed a converter to convert the HDMI out of the Apple TV2 to the VGA in of a projector so that I could project my iPad2 screen. Works perfectly for this solution.

I could actually stop right here since this pretty much solves the problem the teachers were having. 
However, for fun, what would it take to connect the Apple TV to a television with component video?
VGA to Component Cable
You would probably need the following:
  1. Apple TV
  2. HDMI to HDMI Cable ($9.99 via Amazon)
  3. HDMI to VGA Converter Box ($40.96 via Amazon)
  4. VGA to 3 RCA Component Cable PC RGB LCD HDTV ($3.60 via Amazon)
So, the way I understand it, you plug the HDMI to HDMI cable, one end into the Apple TV, and the other into the HDMI to VGA Converter Box. Then, you plug the VGA end of the VGA to Component Cable into the VGA slot on the HDMI to VGA Converter Box and the 3 RCA Component Cable end into the back of your television set (or VCR).
Do these 3 solutions work and what’s the cost (no shipping included) of connecting an Apple TV to…
  1. HDMI TV – $10 = (HDMI to HDMI Cable at $9.99 via Amazon)
  2. Digital Projector – $51 = (HDMI to HDMI Cable at $9.99 each + HDMI to VGA Converter Box at $40.96)
  3. Television or VCR with Component Cable support – $55 =  (HDMI to HDMI Cable at $9.99 each + HDMI to VGA Converter Box at $40.96 + VGA to Component Cable at $3.60 each)

Given that you bought an iPad, an Apple TV, another $50 doesn’t seem that bad an investment…or does it?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure