Blackmagic Design Forum
Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Curt Banter on Jan 29, 2012 at 2:24:17 pm

Hey Everyone,

I'm trying to convert HDMI on a Macbook Pro to SDI with a Blackmagic Mini converter and then pass that signal onto a Panasonic switcher. For this build specifically I'm using a Panasonic AW-HS50N. I know the convertor works because when I plug it directly into a monitor I get a good clean signal. But, when I plug into the switcher, it sees nothing. I'm running the system in 1080i for the record. Oh, and I know the switcher is working ok because I'm also converting 2 Panasonic cameras with the same kind of converters and bringing those in on the first two inputs. They look great, no issues with those at all. I also moved those around to other inputs, all the inputs work fine. Any ideas on the computer? I've used the convertors very successfully with cameras, but I've had problems with computers and the HDMI to SDI converters on 3 separate builds. I'm starting to think it may be time for another solution. But, would love to know if I'm missing something. Thanks!


Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Bob Zelin on Jan 29, 2012 at 6:48:20 pm

It won't work. The HDMI to SDI converter is not a scan converter and the output is not 59.94, it's 60 from the MacBook Pro. The Panasonic switcher won't lock up to 60. I had the exact same problem. It's not going to work.

It's funny that if you had the MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE Blackmagic ATEM switcher, you could have simply used an DVI to HDMI cable, and it would have locked up your MacBook Pro. BUT NOOOOO - you had to get the more expensive AW-HS50N.
for $3549,
as opposed to the ATEM Television Studio -
for $945.

So guess what, you now have to bo out any buy this -
for $995, and this will convert your Mac Book Pro DVI output to
HD-SDI for your Panasonic switcher.

Next time - think Blackmagic all the way.

Bob Zelin
ps -
and yes, even if you had the more expensive

you would have still had the same problem, unless you wound up
getting the Panasonic DVI option input card.


Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Curt Banter on Jan 30, 2012 at 12:57:56 am

And just like that I got a $2000 education. :-)

Bob, thanks for the info. That is super helpful. I have been making versions of this work in a lot of systems over the years, but I'm thinking between the switchers or scalers I had in the mix it was doing the work of moving that signal from 60hz to 59.94. This time I got bit.

We did look at going with the ATEM switcher on this build, but with the addition of a surface it was more money. Of course I hadn't fully figured in the scan conversion price.

Again thanks for the info.


Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Bob Zelin on Jan 31, 2012 at 2:06:44 am

surface - use a laptop as your "surface".

Bob Zelin

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Shimon Hirschhorn on Jul 11, 2012 at 3:44:26 pm

There is more than one way to skin a cat. You can also use the Lynx CHD-1812


This has a HDMI to SDI conversion and frame sync in one unit.

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Sam Francis on May 12, 2012 at 11:13:52 pm

Thanks Bob, awesome info. Just wondering about one thing. We're thinking about getting the ATEM TVS at my church to switch between a live video feed and ProPresenter out of an iMac. Are you saying that we wouldn't need a scan converter for the iMac if we used the ATEM TVS? Just a Mini-Displayport to HDMI adapter would work, and it would "lock up" the signal to the right resolution and frame rate? Would it be a specific resolution and frame rate or would it match the other cameras coming in?



Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Curt Banter on May 13, 2012 at 4:48:18 am

Well, I can't answer for the TVS unit, but we did that in our shop with the ATEM 1 and it worked pretty well. But, keep in mind that everything has to be in the same resolution. So, you can't mix 720 cameras with a 1080 computer. The switch can work with one standard at a time and everything has to match it. But, if it's all at the same size, the switch will handle the refresh differences.


Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Sam Francis on May 13, 2012 at 5:54:11 pm

Okay thanks a lot Curt. So then how can you know what resolution your computer will output? I mean the iMac's screen is 2560 x 1440, but it can output to different resolutions. Would it possibly just match the resolutions of the cameras already plugged into the TVS?

I'm just trying to avoid having to drop another $1000 on a Matrox Convert DVI if I can haha.



Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Christopher Savo on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:08:18 pm

Hi All,

I am having issues very similar to the entire discussion above and wanted to get a little clarification/ask for some advice on what I need to get in order to correctly output a new iMac through SDI.

Here is a little info on my setup:
Switcher: Grass Valley Indigo with the HD-8 Acapella Upgrade (Basically its just the Indigo controlling the Acapella routers 8 HD SDI inputs).
Computer: iMac 13,2 - Late 2012 ( )

I first bought and tried the Blackmagic HDMI to SDI mini converter ( ) only to then after the fact find out that it couldn't be used with computers or DVD Players due to copyright (so the Blackmagic tech told me). He told me to get the DVI extender ( ) as it would work to output the computer correctly to SDI. With the DVI Extender I had to unplug and re-plug in the input cable EVERYTIME in order to get the signal to show up.

I am on the phone now with Blackmagic and they are sending me another DVI extender to make sure it's not an issue with this unit, but I honestly don't have high hopes for it.

I have seen the Matrox Unit that is recommended ( ) here also recommended other places. I am wondering if a the Kramer VP 482 will work to do the same thing and if anyone has any experience with this unit ( ). It's only a little less than the Matrox Unit in price, but it uses HDMI (which is the signal format I am using so 1 less adapter would be good) and when your working for a Non Profit that doesn't like to spend money every penny counts.

Thanks in advance for your help/advice!

Chris Savo

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Korkie Bullard on Nov 15, 2013 at 7:33:55 pm

I am having a problem connecting and computer to my Tricaster 460 via the Blackmagic HDMI to SDI mini converter. The tech told you that they can't be connected to a computer? The one I talked to said it should be no problem, but I don't want to wait on hold for another hour just to get a different answer every time. What should I use to connect my computer to my tricaster? I have both a mac and a pc.


Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Christopher Savo on Nov 27, 2013 at 12:17:03 am

Hey Korkie,

Sorry for my delayed response. I am very bad about checking my Personal e-mail at times. If you are uisng the Blackmagic mini converter that I linked above I can guarantee you that NO MATTER what a tech from Blackmagic tells you it will not work reliably with a computer. I was only successfully able to get the mini converter to work for about 5 minutes when I first bought it and I was told that was a fluke because possibly at that point my computer was not sending out a copyrighted signal.

If you were to ask me I would recommend going away from Blackmagic completely for this conversion. Since I last posted I have returned the Blackmagic DVI Extender and successfully setup my system using the Matrox unit that was recommended by others above. It really is a great unit with many features and things none of the Blackmagic or Kramer products had and I especially love the fact that it is has options for either Stand Alone or computer control (In this case I guess you really do get what you pay for). I do have some other Blackmagic converters in my system working great, just not one to convert a computer signal.

Hope this response helps!


Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Braden Bergman on Feb 1, 2014 at 9:53:15 pm

WE have used the BM dvi to sdi, sdi to hdmi and hdmi to sdi converters for a while now. we own several different switchers for High res systems and HDSDI broadcast. These BM converters have been reliable with Macs and PCs both with every switcher system we own and routers with the exception of Panasonic 410's and 400's. with my mac hooked up HDMI to the BM converter i am set to 1080i@60 i am coming out sdi to a HD and going to a ForA, a Panasonic 410, a Analog way pulse, a Screenpro 2 a Encore, Pandora input card, a Barco sdi router and a BM sdi router and coming out sdi from a router to BM sdi to hdmi into monitors. all systems set to 1080I@59 and all see the computer and are able to lock except the Panasonic. this sounds like a issue Panasonic should be able to fix with a software upgrade.

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Sarah Reinold, CTS-D on Jun 17, 2015 at 5:48:52 pm

I would think its because of HDCP.....Mac's typically output HDCP unless told not to, and HDCP can't be passed through SDI. There for the computer is like, nope, im not outputting video because the switcher i am going to is not HDCP compliant.

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Chris Sorenson on Feb 13, 2016 at 5:46:31 pm

Hello Sara and Everyone else,
I have a solution that will resolve the issue of converting you Mac's video output to SDI. The frame rate of the Mac's video signal is the problem. If you use a DECIMATOR MD-HX Miniature HDMI/SDI Cross Converter with Scaling & Frame Rate Conversion, you can effectively re-clock the frame rate of the MAc's video output to the proper timing for your SDI input. I was dealing with the same issue and this is the only device that I have found that can resolve this video issue reliably. The MD-HX can be purchase from Amazon for $295.00 and it is worth every penny!

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Bob Zelin on Feb 14, 2016 at 5:18:26 pm

excellent follow up post.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Andreas Claesson on Feb 28, 2016 at 9:12:05 pm

So, and sorry for the perhaps dumb question, but this works from a MacPro HDMI to HD-SDI? It didn't have a genlock in.. does that pose a problem when hooking it up to a switcher?

Re: Macbook Pro HDMI to SDI problems
by Chris Sorenson on Feb 29, 2016 at 2:40:08 pm

No that doesn't pose a problem, I am connecting to a Panasonic AV-HS410 live switcher and it works great. I am currently have two in use on my system.