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I'm connecting a late-2006 MacBook Pro with the Apple DVI to Video adapter and an S-video cable (4 pins) to a high-end but outdated TV. Unfortunately, the output via the S-video cable seems to be only black and white, whether I'm using PAL or NTSC (the TV can switch). Via the composite video output and a S-video adaptor I can get color on the TV, but I'd like to get the pure S-video output, as the quality should be better.

I've tried changing settings and of course restarting but haven't had any luck with this. Is there a setting I can change to get this to work, or is there some hardware restriction here?

UPDATE: I can get color by changing some settings (NTSC/52 Hertz on Mac and TV, 1027 x 768 Resolution) but the picture is pulsating.

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What settings did you change? – Kyle Cronin Apr 2 '12 at 18:13
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It's likely that your adapter has failed, if you can get some distorted color, but not a steady, stable image. Use the video output for now, and replace or the Apple DVI to Video adapter when you can.

The pulsating output when you change some settings suggests that the filters the adapter uses to generate the color signal are failing or have failed and no longer correctly separate the signal. If you never received color with any settings, then the s-video cable going to the TV could be suspect, but in this case you can probably lay the blame on the adapter.

I would test with another cable, just in case it's a cable problem (intermittent connection, for instance) before replacing the adapter.

But at $20, the DVI to video adapter isn't a huge expense either.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation. A test with a Mac Book and a mini DVI adaptor with the same cable proved that the adaptor's S-Video output is at fault. Strange that the Composite video output works fine though. – newenglander Apr 2 '12 at 19:48
@newenglander The svideo is a signal-separated version of the Composite. A good system creates the two signals first and presents them on the svideo output, then combines them for the composite output. A cheap adapter creates the composite output, then separates them for the svideo output. Sadly, it appears that Apple chose the latter path. – Adam Davis Apr 2 '12 at 19:51

You either have a bad adapter, cable, or TV. The S-Video standard separates the luma (dark to light) signal from the color signal. If only the luma signal is getting through, it will result in the picture being black and white. I suggest trying a different cable, and, if you have one available, a separate S-Video device. If both those work properly, your adapter has gone bad.

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