Home theatre lovers have long lamented the absence of an HDMI port on their favorite Macs, particularly the diminutive Mac mini, which seems ready-made for inclusion in such a place. But that may be changing soon.
AppleInsider is reporting that HDMI has been spotted on a prototype of a new Mac mini, essentially replacing the DVI port on the system in favor of the popular High-Definition Multimedia Interface used on modern home theatre components, including HDTVs and even the Apple TV itself.
HDMI was built on top of the DVI (Digital Video Interface) specification, which Apple and other computer manufacturers have used for years to provide connectivity with displays. The HDMI port is more flat than DVI’s, but its backward compatibility has provided a method for Apple users to at least have the option of buying an adapter to get HDMI output for their systems in the past.
But it appears that Apple may finally have a change of heart regarding HDMI, according to at least two unnamed sources queried by AppleInsider. A new Mac mini prototype which includes the port at long last is also said to use Nvidia’s MCP89 chipset, itself the successor to the current MCP79 (aka GeForce 9400M) chipset found in tandem with Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors in most Mac products today.
Sadly, an ongoing dispute between Intel and Nvidia will probably prevent Apple (and others) from using the MCP89 chipset with Intel’s latest Nehalem-based Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. That leaves Apple with no choice but to either delay the product refresh for now, or continue using the existing Core 2 Duo processor.
And what about other Macs with HDMI connectivity? A number of companies offer adapters to convert from mini DisplayPort to HDMI, although most of them will only carry the video signal. Apple is said to have their own adapter which was intended to ship alongside the recent iMac revision -- and on newer systems with an updated mini DisplayPort, both audio and video get carried over to HDMI. AppleInsider also theorizes that such a move might finally lead to the adoption of Blu-ray on the Mac, which CEO Steve Jobs notoriously called “a bag of hurt” back in October, 2008.