Ah, obsolence.
June 4, 2009 7:08 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to hook up my new laptop to my old TV, but I can't find the parts. Care to help?

Video and audio outputs on the laptop: VGA, HDMI, SPDIF. I also have a headphone jack and a couple of free USB ports.
Inputs on the TV: Component, RCA, and SVideo.
The laptop's an HP Pavilion dv7-1270. TV's an older Sony Trinitron.

I know any solutions will not involve HD, as the TV won't support it. I'm cool with that, though I would like to watch Blu-Ray movies on it anyway (laptop has a drive).

Any suggestions? Do I really need to buy a receiver? Would even that work?
posted by converge to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can buy a VGA-to-svideo converter boxes for about $50. I bought one several years ago and used it on my first media computer, long before I ever had a HDTV. Works fine. They might be cheaper now.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:19 PM on June 4, 2009

There isn't an easy way to do this. Well, there is, but it's going to look really really crappy. A cable such as this will do the job of switching VGA into component, however your component inputs must match the color space being used (that one required R,G,B where as most proper component inputs are YPbPr). For this, you would either want to buy a new television (emphasis mine) or get a proper converter that can switch HDMI out to component for the best results or VGA to component or composite. This is an example of one of those converters that will do that job (although I've never used this model and can't vouch for its quality).
posted by cgomez at 7:21 PM on June 4, 2009

With respect to jabberjaw's suggestion, you will need to verify whether your VGA output on the laptop supports a "TV-out" function. When you're looking for these types of adapters, you'll probably find a bunch that look like they'd do exactly what you want but it requires equipment that support its functionality (for instance, ATI made a bunch of cards that required those adapters so you'll probably find a billion and one of those).
posted by cgomez at 7:23 PM on June 4, 2009

BTW I'm pretty sure OP means "composite" and not "component" for video input.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:27 PM on June 4, 2009

Yes, Rusty, I did. Sorry. Thanks.
posted by converge at 7:41 PM on June 4, 2009

To make it clearer, I have both Component and Composite. Right now, though, the Component slots are used up by other devices (though I could just unplug those when I want). Here's a diagram of the TV inputs.

So, I take it there's no such thing as an HDMI-to-composite adapter?
posted by converge at 7:53 PM on June 4, 2009

I wonder if you could piggyback HDMI-to-DVI and DVI-to-component adapters (no endorsement intended with those links--I'd be more inclined to buy from cablestogo, cablesdirect, newegg or ebay).

Somebody who knows more about this than me will probably point out why this won't work.

On preview: shit, composite. I wonder if there's a doohickie that will convert component to RCA.
posted by box at 7:55 PM on June 4, 2009

There is no such thing as an HDMI to composite or component cable. There are converter boxes/dongles that can be used to achieve this, but they get a bit pricier. You can check with the manufacturer of your PC to see if they offer a TV-out function on one of the ports which would allow you to buy a semi-proprietary adapter to accomplish what you want to do.
posted by cgomez at 8:00 PM on June 4, 2009

I got an $35 el-cheapo converter (VGA to composite) called "PC TO VIDEO EZ" to hook up my HTPC to my standard-def TV, with a separate headphone to RCA thingie (which are dirt cheap). Despite being cheap and no-name, it's been wonderful over a year of heavy use. Very clear, good color, etc.
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:11 PM on June 4, 2009

cowbellmoo: is this what you're talking about? Excellent suggestion.

cgomez: I looked at those, but they are, as you said, extremely expensive.

box: thought of that, as they're readily available, but was concerned that the digital to analog conversion would screw it up. (Probably the reason there isn't such as thing as a HDMI to composite cable).

Thanks to all for your help. All best answers.
posted by converge at 11:13 PM on June 4, 2009

Here is a HDMI to component converter. I haven't ordered one of those, but I do order from the company.
posted by Climber at 7:01 AM on June 5, 2009

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