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I'm planning on using a MacBook Pro with a projector that only has a VGA input (through the MBP's Mini DisplayPort and a Mini DisplayPort to VGA converter). Will this have problems with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), either under Snow Leopard or Windows XP?

I'll only be showing other people's photos, user-generated movies or PowerPoint slides. The MacBook Pro was purchased from Apple new in December 2009.

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In case anyone is wondering, superuser.com/questions/79768/… was not why I purchased my MacBook Pro. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 10 '10 at 2:28

2 Answers 2

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HDCP protected content, (i.e. most of the HD stuff, even when downloaded for free from itunes) will only play on your macbook internal display. As soon as you connect to external vga, itunes will refuse to play it. This is going to be a big issue for new enthousiastic apple TV users using HDMI2VGA dongles to connect to their vga projectors... time to upgrade to one that has HDMI input, projects in HD, and supports HDCP. And rewire your room :(

However normal dvds, netflix and youtube streaming, and non-hd content from itunes play beautifully on my viewsonic vga projector...

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I can't answer your question from personal experience (yet). However...

Apple' tech specs for the latest MBP has this: Pure digital video output

  1. DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (optional)
  2. VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (optional)
  3. Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter supports 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display(optional)
  4. HDMI output using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter

apple.com/macbookpro/specs

The 2nd line of the video specs above appears to say yes... your VGA projector should work. I wish I had read this last week, because I was forced to migrate my PowerPoint seminar presentation to a (gasp!) Windows machine when the projector in use only supported VGA. Bummer! A $20 dongle would have solved my problem.

The current MBP and the mid-2009 MBP both supported HDCP (High definition content protection)... which caused me to have to buy a new flat-screen monitor because my previous one didn't support HDCP. So... it appears that not all digital video is created equal. Even if your projector had DVI it might not work (unless it supports HDCP).

The following may shed some light on your topic http://www.serialdigital.com/2010/02/21/macbook-pro-black-screen-or-%E2%80%98snow%E2%80%99-over-dvi-into-switchers/

Good Luck

Mitch

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