Big Screen Blues
December 22, 2007 8:09 AM   Subscribe

How can I play things like movies from my laptop to my TV?

I have a Compaq PC500 Notebook with an S-Video port, and an RCA HDTV that has one also, as well as an s-video cable. I figured that would be pretty straightforward, and that I could just plug them both in, unplug the dvd cables (both the s-video spot and the red/yellow/white cables are located on the front of the tv, because it's kind of big and bulky.) However, when I turn it on, and switch the input to front, nothing happens- are there extra steps I need to take that I've missed?
posted by Glitter Ninja to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, you need to tell the laptop to send the video to an external source, on my Compaq it's fn 4 to switch to external monitor dunno about the s-video out. Consult manual for exact key sequence.
posted by Ferrari328 at 8:17 AM on December 22, 2007

With Dell laptops you need to tell the computer to send the video signal out the port instead of just to the screen. You do this by hitting Fn+F8.

Your notebook probably requires something similar. On Dells the button is labeled "CRT/LCD". Do you see something similar?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:18 AM on December 22, 2007

Damn preview.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:18 AM on December 22, 2007

Another way to get a good image on the TV is to use the VGA/DVI out from your computer; most HDTV's have a VGA in. If you have a DVI port you'll need a DVI to VGA adapter, which you can get for about $3.50 on eBay.

I believe S-Video can only output 480i, which most likely won't be the highest resolution your HDTV can support. I have a 32" one on my desk here, and when I use the VGA port it has a resolution of 1366 x 768. If I used S-video, I believe the vertical resolution (second number) would be 480. Not nearly as nice looking.

If you use the VGA/DVI, you can basically use the thing like a monitor, which is very cool for certain uses.
posted by DMan at 8:59 AM on December 22, 2007

I've got a Compaq presario w/S-video output. Here's what I do: right click on the desktop -> Graphics Options -> Output to -> Television.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:08 AM on December 22, 2007

Since S-Video is video only, you're also going to need a cable to go from your laptop's headphone jack to the TV's audio-in. If the TV only has an RCA audio-in, then you can get a headphone to RCA cable from (any) Radio Shack.
posted by rhizome at 11:08 AM on December 22, 2007

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