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Connect PC to TV
simple or problematic?
Visit Thailand

 1:13 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I recently upgraded a video card on a pc so I could connect it to the TV.

The pc now has a 7 point s-video port (tv out). The TV is a regular old style TV.

I bought a cable that takes the 7 point s-video to the video-in port of the TV, and a wire to take the sound to the TV system speakers (l+r).

I have tried to read up on this and from what I can tell I just have to plug them all in boot up and turn the TV on as if it was a monitor.

However when I do this the screen on the TV remains blank. Am I missing something? Is connecting the pc to the TV as simple as I describe above?

The pc is not connected to any other monitor just the TV. I plan on using it as such to play games, messenger etc.

[edited by: Visit_Thailand at 1:13 am (utc) on Dec. 23, 2007]



 12:40 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe resolution? I've never connected a PC to a TV but I'd guess the PC would have to be set to a resolution the TV supported.


 1:26 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm assuming the video card has more than just the S video out. It's possible that the tv out must be "turned on" in the video cards configuration panel.

Visit Thailand

 2:36 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies.

I attached the pc to the video 2 of the tv and I managed to get the start up screen but then the tv screen goes to the generic blue video screen just before the window log-in screen appears.

Strangely I can log into safe mode without any problem. Although I must admit the picture is grainy and not good resolution.

What I may do is just buy a small LCD tv as the video out on the pc has three slots, the regular monitor, the s-video out and a flashy looking LCD port.

I wondered whether it is the resolution as well, which is why I am leaning towards getting a new TV rather than splash out on a new monitor.


 7:09 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think that would fit with it being resolution - safe mode will run in 640x480, and I believe the Windows start-up screen is displayed in that resolution, with it switching to the defined one when the logon window appears.

I suspect any non-HD TV will be the same - a monitor is likely to be cheaper than a TV in terms of dollars per pixel.


 8:22 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Actually, the fact that it fails as soon as windows begins running sounds like the software for the card is doing it. I would definitely try hooking up a regular monitor to see if there is a setting in the card configuration software that turns on the tv out feature.

Most of the cards I see these days have specialize software that handle their advanced features.


 12:02 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

The screen going blank when Windows is starting is 99% of the time Windows loading the graphics driver, which is not set up for TV-out. Your graphics card software should be able to enable the video out at a different resolution than your main display if it's any good.


 12:27 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

It will show the startup screen when Windows is loading then default to the main monitor. You need to change the settings in the display properties box. Depending on what GFX card you have it will be in different places so I cant tell you where to go. Just fiddle!


 12:28 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oh if its an old tv as well its likely going to be 640x480 res or 800x600 at a maximum.

Also it will only be at 66 htz if it is not a digital TV and the image will flicker a lot.


 1:49 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

The pixel equivalent of SD TV is about 720X480 NTSC or 720x576 for PAL. You lose 10% of that to overscan. Additionally SD TV has Round Pixels, i.e. each pixel of color does not completely fill out. And you also introduce problems due to interlacing which will make sharp horizontal planes flicker. So overall you have a much smaller resolution and a lot less definition among other things, at most you can watch movies or play games on it. Anything else and it's really no good, text is going to be pretty much unreadable unless you use a very large font.

I do this myself with my Canopus converter but only so I can preview video for DVD that I'm working on.


 2:06 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

You might get a better image with a VGA to TV converter off eBay, about 20 quid. They'll take a VGA input and give you a proper composite video output. Don't know if they work any better than a standard TV out though.

Visit Thailand

 12:08 am on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

A sincere thank you to everyone for your help.

I had already tried playing with the resolution in safe mode but it would not change, due probably as mentioned to the res of the TV.

I will check the graphics card and see what success that brings.

Reason I thought of buying a LCD TV rather than just a monitor is because while the monitors are cheaper the small TV is only a few thousand Baht more expensive plus I can watch HD TV on it which may come in handy. Plus it will mean less clutter.

Thanks again and as it is already Xmas here, Merry Christmas / Happy Festive Season to all. :-)


 1:11 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just bought me a new tv! It has VGA and DVI inputs on it. Not tried them, never will. Just thought it was worth mentioning.


 3:36 pm on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm in the process now of setting up an iMac 20 to serve as a TV for my daughter. I'll be setting everything up this weekend. All I needed was an extra piece of hardware to make it happen. Its called a Hauuppauge (I got a WinTV-HVR Hybrid TV Stick)! Its a digital and analog TV receiver for Mac or PC. We'll see how everything works out but according to the tech guy, its a plug and play solution. Plug the cable into the Hauuppauge, the USB into the computer and you're good to go. Cost is about $120.00 USD.


 6:33 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)


I've heard of them before, I think they're supposed to be pretty good.

You can get a USB Freeview adapter off eBay for about 30 quid. In the UK we have a free digital system called freeview, as they're finally turning off our analog signal.


 11:31 am on Dec 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hauppage is excellent choice, only downside is it records directly to MPEG which limits your options after capture. For simply viewing and/or recording material that is not that important its great. I wouldn't use it for family video... It's like having a DVD recorder except for your computer, the files can be directly authored to disc as they are already DVD compliant.

Not sure about the external models but the 150/250/350 PCI cards don't look for analog protection like Macrovision.


 9:02 pm on Dec 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you guys get this worked out, this could be a very popular post. You'll be famous.

I have been surprised at how little "how to" information is available on this subject in the popular press. I suspect it is because there is no serious money in a easy, basic solution that works.


 1:17 am on Dec 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

People do this all the time, it isn't anything new. the probelm is you need a HD TV and card capable of outputting HD if you want to get anything that compares to a monitor.

You may even have a way of doing this right under your nose, if you have a DV cam check the specs to see if it supports analog pass through. If it does it's simply a matter of hooking it up to your comp via firwire, hook your analog cables to the RCA/S-video jacks and wallah instant computer TV.

Is'nt very practical, the dedicated TV cards have channel options etc. They start around $30 for the cheap models. On the other hand if you want to capture those old family VHS movies using a DV cam is ideal. somewill allow you to send the video back to the cam and convert it back to analog for viewing on a TV. As I mentioned above i do this with Canopus DV converter but that's a dedicated box designed for doing that.

One thing to note, if you live in the UK cams that normally have this feature have it disabled because of a tax.


 1:30 pm on Dec 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

have it disabled because of a tax

Yeah, we UKarians get taxed on everything. Our 'TV License' costs 120 per year, just to own any device that is capable of receiving a TV signal. The excuse is that we have the BBC who don't have any ad breaks, and it's to subsidise them.

Incidentally, the BBC run a whole host of TV channels that do have ad breaks, but apparently the subsidy doesn't work the other way around!


 1:43 pm on Dec 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Our 'TV License' costs 120 per year, just to own any device that is capable of receiving a TV signal

That would start the second Civil War here.


 3:50 pm on Dec 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hooked the Hauuppage up yesterday on my daughter's iMac 20, it was a 15 minute install and everything worked as expected.

How simple was it? Well, I let my 7 year old daughter do it. Daddy's taking her through computer boot camp over the next month and I figured she might as well start learning how to install software. Oh, she installed Panther too, that was just over an hour of installation. Worked perfectly too. Just gotta love those Macs!


 3:50 pm on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone! I am experiencing a series of problems in connecting my laptop to the TV as well. I admit that I am really a newbie in this field and I've been looking all over the web for some solution to my problem - in vain. I have a nvidia video card with one VGA output. Since both my TVs are not HDs (one is Hitachi, one Panasonic, both quite old) I can connect it only either through a S-video (4 pins) or a "yellow" video cable. I bought a converter, VGA in and both S-video and "yellow" component video out, but my laptop will recognise the connection to the TV only with the former. Anyway, once connected the Hitachi won't show the least sign of change, whereas the Panasonic does show the image, but in black and white and really disturbed. Since the laptop desktop is depicted 3 times in the TV, in a stretched form resembling 3 "S"s, the first idea I had was that the problem could be the frequence, but I tried to change all the changeable, nothing happend.

I would be awesome if anyone could give me a hint on what to do (possibly without having to buy anything else)!



 12:01 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

but in black and white and really disturbed.

That's indicative of using the wrong TV format. TV's in the US are NTSC, most of the rest of the world is PAL. Make sure you have it set to the correct TV format.

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