How to plug a Thinkpad into an HDMI TV
September 6, 2006 10:06 AM   Subscribe

How do I connect my VGA-only Thinkpad T60 to a French TV with HDMI and YPbPr inputs?

I have a US Thinkpad T60 laptop (ATI X1400 graphics). It only supports VGA output, although with a docking station (that I don't have) it can do DVI. And I have a TV in Paris, a new-looking Phillips LCD HDTV. It has 2 HDMI inputs, an open French 20 pin video connector (the other one is plugged into a LiveBox), and a set of component inputs labelled Y/Pb/Pr. How do I get video out from my laptop to show on the TV?

I believe my options are VGA -> component or DVI -> HDMI, but I don't know enough about how video works to know what that really entails. And I've got no idea at all what, if anything, can be done with the 20 pin input. I do know that Thinkpads tend to be rather lean on video output; there's no S-Video hiding in the VGA pins, for instance. On the other hand the X1400 video card should give some flexibility.

I'm looking to AskMe for two kinds of suggestions. Either a good A/V store in Paris where I can go and look for the parts I need. Or a suggested technical solution for what cabling will make this work. I'm willing to pay a modest amount of money to get this working, up to $150 or so.
posted by Nelson to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The "French connector" is SCART which only supports SD analog video. If that's good enough for you, your Thinkpad should have come with a video cable for connecting to a TV. If you have that, all you need then is a video to SCART adapter, which you can get from any electronics store, and possibly hardware or household stores.
posted by cillit bang at 10:28 AM on September 6, 2006

Thanks for the info on SCART. Unfortunately the Thinkpad does not have a video cable for connecting to TV; there's no composite nor S-Video on the thing, not even hiding among the VGA pins. Weak, no?

Any hope of VGA->SCART? I see SCART has RGB inputs similar to what VGA outputs, but there's some argument about whether there's an SCART-compatible sync coming out of a VGA.
posted by Nelson at 10:36 AM on September 6, 2006

I doubt the TV will accept anything other than interlaced 576-line video through the SCART pins, even on RGB, and very VGA ports will output that.

Your best option is DVI to HDMI. It only requires a plug adapter rather than an actual converter, and any cable you can find will work.

VGA to Y/Pb/Pr requires a fancy box like this, may not work, and will give you worse picture quality.
posted by cillit bang at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2006

Second the suggestion for DVI to HDMI. They're the same, just with different shaped plugs. You can get a DVI to HDMI cable that doesn't need adapters, I do this with my Mac Mini.
posted by Mwongozi at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2006

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