Background: I tried recently to hook my Macbook Air to my TV using an HDMI cord and a converter. It worked completely using Netflix and iTunes but the audio did not work with ANY of the AVI files I tried using VLC, even when I connected the audio ports using a 3.5 mm audio jack cord.

A few days later I tried to use VLC when not hooked up my TV but the sound has stopped working and I don't know why. The files are not corrupt, because they work fine on my MBP using VLC. I deleted my version of VLC, downloaded the latest version and deleted my preferences in case I had changed something vital without realizing it.

I have confirmed that my audio output is set correctly in my settings, but I don't have external speakers so I haven't tried that yet. Has anyone ever come across an issue like this before?

Edit: It resolved itself after a few days and I have no idea. I guess I will leave this open because someone might know what happened and the question might help someone else?

  • 1
    Did you check VLC settings ? In the audio menu, you can choose the audio output it will use. Sometimes, it chooses badly and doesn't respect OS X settings.
    – olivier
    Aug 17, 2011 at 18:11
  • 1
    I did, and I think it is set to the default output, but then I deleted all my VLC preferences because that wasn't working. I will check again this evening, don't have my MBA with me.
    – Katey HW
    Aug 17, 2011 at 18:13

3 Answers 3


This has happened to me before. I discovered that if you start VLC before you plug the HDMI cable in, it won't play sound out the correct output. This works consistently for me:

  1. Plug MacBook Air in via HDMI
  2. Verify proper output is selected in System Preferences
  3. Start VLC up

Hope it helps.


On Mac go to VLC Audio Settings>Audio Device>Select HDMI. That worked for me.


Could you confirm if iTunes, Quicktime or/and Flash (youtube videos) are working correctly and have sound.

I have experienced something very similar and the symptoms were:

  • Starting iTunes resulted error -200
  • Quicktime refused to play any AVI files (which it previously did)
  • No sound in ANY media app (including flash) but sound still working for system sounds and notifications in Skype, Adium.

The way I resolved this was to just to restart my MBP in safe mode (when powering on your MBA, hold Shift until you see a grey progress bar under the grey Apple logo). Then see if iTunes and Quicktime worked (just started them and closed them) and restarted again in normal mode.

The problem above hides somewhere in that for some reason Mac OS X decides that there is no hardware output device available, when it IS available. Happened when I upgraded to Lion (10.7.0)

  • All other video types are working with sound (I had thought I had said this but it may have gotten edited away) - I tried Youtube and iTunes videos, but not Quicktime because I was convinced the issue was with VLC.
    – Katey HW
    Aug 18, 2011 at 16:53
  • And I have not upgraded to Lion, using the immediately previous update. But I think I have done a general update since the last time I used VLC successfully with sound.
    – Katey HW
    Aug 18, 2011 at 16:54

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