• Apple Working on Making Macs HD-Capable?

    According to a report in AppleInsider this morning, Apple is getting ready to add HDMI output to the next model of the Mac mini. Currently, the small-form-factor Mac has only a DVI video port: only the Apple TV box currently supports HDMI video output. Apple has also, according to this article, developed its own custom Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter for older Macs that will enable them to connect to HDTVs with one cable.

    The computer industry is increasingly moving to direct HDMI audio/video output, rather than the older DVI standard: all Intel motherboard chipsets newer than the 945G Express have supported HD video plus 8-channel (7.1) sound over HDMI, as have NVIDIA’s GeForce 8200 and 8300 chipsets. DVI video is basically compatible with HDMI, but the dual-link DVI implementation on Mac mini - as well as most PCs - doesn't have audio data on the high-speed serial channel. While DVI to HDMI dongles exist - as well as ones that convert the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, there's no current way of transmitting audio and video through a single cable.

    The new Mac mini prototype that is reportedly being tested is said to have an HDMI port where the DVI connector is located on the current model. This computer, according to AppleInsider's sources, uses the NVIDIA MCP89 chipset, which is the new model of the MCP79 used in most Macs that have Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Given that Intel sued NVIDIA to prevent it from shipping MCP89 chipsets compatible with Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, the new Mac mini is believed to be based on a Core 2 Duo platform.

    Along with this upgrade, Apple is also said to be working on its own Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter which would let Mini DisplayPort-enabled MacBooks, iMacs, minis, and Mac Pros send HD video and audo over a single cable. This adapter was apparently intended to be included with new 27-inch iMacs, along with Blu-Ray support. However, when Apple reportedly balked at high licensing fees for Blu-Ray technology, the HDMI adapter was pulled as well. AppleInsider speculates that this adapter may become available at some point, but this is less clear.
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