I have an LG HDTV and a 2019 MacBook Pro with a thunderbolt to HDMI adapter. What i would like to do is to watch tv normally but playing the tv's sound on the Mac's speakers. Is this possible? Does someone knows a way of doing this?

Thank you very much in advance

  • Theoretically not impossible as long as both TV and HDMI adapter support HDMI eARC feature (not sure if the older ARC would also allow to do so).
    – Robert
    Aug 31, 2020 at 11:36
  • Hi @Robert, thank you for your answer. Do you know a way of achieving this? Aug 31, 2020 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


No. This cannot be done.

Your MacBook doesn't have HDMI ports; they are Thunderbolt 3 ports meaning the display signal you're getting from it is DisplayPort. So, they will not support ARC* (HDMI technology) as mentioned in the comments. Secondly, the DisplayPort signal is one way; it's video out.

The Mac isn't designed to be an monitor with audio/video capabilities; it's not an HDMI endpoint device, it's the source. This would be like asking your TV to send audio or video to your XBox or DVD player.

Now, this doesn't mean you can't input sound into your Mac; obviously it can because it has a line input port. What you need to do is extract the audio channel from the HDMI with an HDMI Audio De-Embedder/Extractor then take the audio via a 3.5mm cable and input it into the Mac. You can then use a product like Audio Hijack or Soundflower to route the audio from the Line-In to the speakers.

While this is obviously possible, sending this into a computer will inherently introduce a audio delay as it has to be processed by the Mac. Remember, your Mac isn't an amplifier where the audio is simply boosted, it's being processed. Even a 1/4 second delay will be very noticeable and quite distracting. Since you can't introduce a video delay on your LG, there will be no way to overcome this.

Bottom line...

Buy a cheap set of speakers or a soundbar for the TV. A lot of the Bluetooth speakers have a AUX input and the LG TVs have a 3.5mm output. If not, you can always get the HDMI audio extractor.

* Audio Return Channel. Wikipedia: HDMI Ethernet and Audio Return Channel.

  • Thank you very much for your answer @Allan. You explained everything very well. Actually, my final goal when doing this operation was to listen the tv using bluetooth headphones. The problem is that i can't do it using the tv audio directly because my tv doesn't support bluetooth, so i thought maybe i could redirect the tv audio to the mac and then connect the headphones and listen the tv from the mac. But as you said, this is not straightforward and there will be audio delay. So i think i don't have any chance of achieving this. Or am i wrong? Sep 1, 2020 at 10:28
  • Here's how you do it.... From the back of the LG TV, go from S/PDIF (optical) port to a Bluetooth Transmitter. You can power it from one of the USB ports on the TV. Pair your headphones with that transmitter and you've got TV headphones. I use this exact setup on my bedroom TV
    – Allan
    Sep 1, 2020 at 16:17
  • damn!! i didn't know about that, that's a really easy and perfectly working solution. Thank you very much again @Allan!! you made my day :D Sep 1, 2020 at 17:57

Disregard using HDMI.

Your TV likely has a 3.5mm audio output jack.

Your MacBook has audio input capability, either through the 3.5mm headphone jack or via a USB-C and/or Thunderbolt dongle.

Plug the TV's 3.5mm audio output into your MacBook, and then play that audio on the MacBook's speakers:

There may be issues due to audio delay, but you should test that on your setup to see if it is satisfactory.

  • This is literally the same thing written by @Allan in his answer but with much less detail. Aug 31, 2020 at 22:30
  • @DougMasters I disagree. His answer leads with a big bold No. This cannot be done. My answer says that it can be done, and explains how.
    – pkamb
    Aug 31, 2020 at 22:33
  • 1
    Did you read the whole answer? He talks about using the 3.5mm jack and explains how to set it up and why it wouldn’t work. He even says “while it’s obviously possible” basically saying it technically can be done. In your answer you don’t explain how to go from the input to the speakers and I just looked on my MacBook and can’t find a way to do it. Aug 31, 2020 at 22:37
  • @DougMasters I disagree that it wouldn't work. At the very least the OP will want to test TV > MacBook speakers using a cheap 3.5mm cable. It certainly will work... just need to test if there is any unsatisfactory audio delay.
    – pkamb
    Aug 31, 2020 at 22:43
  • Did you read the comments in the answer you linked where they talk about the delay and that it’s not acceptable? You only confirmed that it really doesn’t work. Aug 31, 2020 at 22:53

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