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I have an early 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Screen and USB type A ports. I'm trying to declutter (and come up with a way of easily switching my peripherals between my windows laptop and my Mac) and there are a plethora of USB-C hubs with HDMI out. Is it possible to use a USB-A Male to USB-C female adaptor to use this port for HDMI out on my machine?

I have a USB 3 type A docking station at work that outputs DVI and Display Port that I use with my Mac, so I'm aware that my laptop will output video over USB, but I've tried the above configuration and the laptop sees the hub as USB 2.0 and no display is detected.

TLDR;

Can I use a USB-C hub with a Type-A to Type-C adaptor to get HDMI from my Early 2015 MacBook Pro with no USB-C port?

It may be my flawed understanding, but I am under the impression that USB-C was just the type of connector and independent from the spec, so I don't know why this wouldn't work.

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USB-C is indeed just a connector, and so a number of different standards can use it. HDMI output needs the Thunderbolt 3 standard to be delivered over the USB-C connectors, but your 2015 MacBook Pro doesn't and can't use that standard on its USB-A ports. A USB-A to USB-C adaptor will simply pass on the USB data.

  • Thanks, why does it work over my Belkin USB-A dock? Is it possible to do this with any combination of adaptors (including thunderbolt) or am I going to have to suck it up and use HDMI directly? – SWa Mar 26 '18 at 11:57
  • @SWa Can you provide full details of the Belkin USB-A dock, preferably a link to its specifications. – Mike Scott Mar 26 '18 at 12:17
  • Sure, it's one o fhtese belkin.com/us/support-article?articleNum=8328 – SWa Mar 26 '18 at 12:25
  • @SWa That's not just a USB hub, it's an external graphics adaptor with a USB driver. If you could find a USB-C equivalent, you might be able to make it work. But I doubt there is a USB-C equivalent, since most (but not all) laptops with USB-C ports support Thunderbolt 3 and so can deliver video signals directly through the USB-C connector. – Mike Scott Mar 26 '18 at 12:33
  • HDMI output needs the Thunderbolt 3 standard to be delivered over the USB-C connectors... This is fundamentally incorrect. Thunderbolt 1, 2, and 3 supply a DisplayPort signal, not HDMI; nor does HDMI require "the Thunderbolt standard". To use HDMI, you need to convert DisplayPort to HDMI, preferably with an active adapter. – Allan Mar 26 '18 at 15:22

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