Page 1 of 1

How to connect your PC to your TV …

How to connect your PC to your TV …

One can have numerous reasons why one would want to connect a PC to a TV …

The most important one is probably to playback Movies or TV Shows using XBMC (I use OpenElec), or a slide show of photographs, but I’ve also used it for presentation purposes at work (PowerPoint slideshows) or for Skype sessions with family members and business meetings.

In this article I’ll try to cover as much as I can, covering different “PC’s” (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc), different Operating Systems (Windows, MacOS X, Linux) and as many connection types as I could find.

On our old website, we already had an article describing how to connect your PC to your TV. It’s unfortunately an old and kind-a outdated article, so I decided to write a new article for Tweaking4All with more up to date information.

Why Connect your PC to a TV?

The most popular purpose to connect your PC to a TV is to playback Movies or TV Shows on a TV using XBMC (I use the OpenElec distribution). You don’t have to limit your choices just to XBMC of course. Applications like Media Player Classic (Windows), VLC, Plex, Windows Media Center, MicroDVD Player and Apple FrontRow are most certainly suitable for this purpose as well.

Alternative purposes can be Video Conferencing (using Skype or FaceTime), business presentations with PowerPoint or KeyNote, Gaming, Halloween pranks or showing a big scoreboard during an event.

Audio / Video Connections

When connecting a computer to your TV, the computer will serve as an audio and video source. To make that happen we of course have to make sure that both devices support the same connectors. Therefor, an overview of available connectors, conversion options and required computer settings.



Too many options … HDMI Recommended! 

If all your choices are wide open, then I highly recommend using HDMI on both your TV and Computer, as it offers Audio and Video transport in highest quality. HDMI has pretty much become the standard for audio and video, supported by numerous computers, TV’s and Projectors.

Some additional HDMI features that might be available for your equipment:
HEC (HDMI Ethernet Channel) or ethernet over HDMI,
ARC (Audio Return Channel) which allows Audio to go in two directions,
CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) which allows devices to control other devices.

Analog vs Digital

In this day and age we have the option to use Analog (classic) or Digital signals for Audio and/or Video.

Digital Audio and Video is not only recommended over Analog for it’s superior quality and reduced sensitivity to interference, but standards like HDMI and DisplayPort often combine everything in a single connection or wire. An exception is DVI, which does not support Audio over the same cable.

TV to PC - Digital Audio and Video often are combined in one connection

TV to PC – Digital Audio and Video often are combined in one connection

When using Analog Audio and Video, you’ll find that you need to hookup at least 2 connections or “wires” – one for Analog Audio (typically the 3.5mm Headphone jack on your computer) and one for Analog Video (RCA Component, RCA Composite, VGA, S-Video).

PC to TV - Analog often requires 2 connections

PC to TV – Analog often requires 2 connections

HDMI and HDMI to Analog Converters 

When using HDMI to Analog converters, for example HDMI to Composite, one will have to pay attention to the fact that HDMI signal can be encrypted with HDCP. For example, the output of your NetFlix box, or BluRay player, will most likely be HDCP protected. An analog converter will not be able to convert this HDMI signal to an analog signal.

To remedy this, one would need a converter that is HDCP capable (rare!) or use a HDMI splitter which by accident strips the HDCP. See our article How to remove HDCP from HDMI signal for more details on how that can be done.


Identify your Video connectors

In this day and age we have quite a selection of video connectors. Some have Audio and Video, some just Video, some are Analog, some Digital, etc.

It’s relatively common that next to the connector on your PC, Laptop, TV, or Projector, a writing or a symbol is placed to indicate the type. But that is not always the case and quite often the text is quite unreadable (same color as the casing, microscopical print, etc). That’s why I’ve made a list of common video connectors and what they offer.

I placed them in preferred order. My criteria are based on best picture quality, how common a connector is, and if audio is available. In this table I only cover the relatively common connectors so don’t expect old or exotic connectors …

Common Video Connectors
TYPE EXAMPLE (Male vs Female) Video Audio Notes
HDMI HDMI   Digital Digital The current standard for A/V. Originally designed and used for home A/V, more and more computers switch to using HDMI as well. Depending on the HDMI version, HDMI can also carry Ethernet (HEC), return Audio (ARC) and control signals (CEC).
HDMI Mini  Mini HDMI Digital Digital HDMI through a smaller connector, typically found on tablets, laptops, cellphones, camcorders and digital camera’s.
HDMI Micro Micro HDMI Digital Digital The smallest HDMI connector, typically found on cellphones and camcorders.
Single Link
DVI-D Single Link Digital DVI was originally the successor to the old VGA connector, moving computer video to the digital era. Today it’s still typically used on computers and some flatscreen TV’s offer this connection as well. The male connector (on the left) fit’s in DVI-D, DVI-D Dual Link, DVI-I and DVI-I Dual Link.
Dual Link 
DVI-D Dual Link Digital DVI-D Dual Link offers a higher “bandwidth”, allowing higher resolutions, through one connector which should not be confused with dual monitor use. The male connector (on the left) fit’s in DVI-I Dual Link as well.
Single Link
DVI-I Single Link Digital and Analog Combines DVI-D Single Link with an additional, VGA compatible, analog signal. We see these connectors often on video cards of desktop PC’s. The male connector (on the left) fit’s in DVI-I Dual Link as well.
Dual Link
DVI-I Dual Link Digital and Analog Combines DVI-D Dual Link with an additional, VGA compatible, analog signal. We see these connectors often on video cards of desktop PC’s.
DisplayPort Displayport  Digital Digital For a while, brands like HP used this format for their computer monitors. Seems however that DisplayPort Mini and HDMI have replaced this format connector.
DisplayPort Mini Displayport Mini Digital Digital Smaller version of the DisplayPort connector, typically used on laptops. Please note that the a ThunderBolt port on Apple devices ( ThunderBolt Icon ) looks exactly the same as a Mini DisplayPort connection ( DisplayPort Icon ). A DisplayPort device can be connected to Apple’s ThunderBolt port. However a ThunderBolt device, like a hard-drive for example, cannot be connected to an Apple DisplayPort mini connection on your computer. 
VGA VGA/SVGA/XVGA/UVGA Analog VGA connectors have been around for years and originate from the old IBM PC era. Sometimes referred to as HD15 or D-15 connector, quite often blue colored. Other names are SVGA, XVGA and UXGA although these names only refer to the video resolution.
Component Video Component Video Analog Component video keeps video signals separate using 3 wires. For the longest time this was considered one of the best video quality connectors and uses round so called RCA connectors (also known as Tulip or Phono connectors). They are typically bundled as 3 wires.
SCART SCART Analog Analog This rather large connector, commonly seen in Europe, can carry a variation of input and output video and audio signals. The video signals can be Component Video or Composite Video like. Note that it’s not uncommon that not all formats are supported by SCART devices.
S-Video (4 pin)  S-Video (4 pin) Analog S-Video provides video quality close to what we see with Component Video and was popular with laptops for a while. Implementation however can cause connectivity issues when 7 pin or 9 pin variations are used.
S-Video (7 pin)  S-Video (7 pin) Analog The 7 pin S-Video is a variation of the 4 pin S-Video often used in Computers, providing additional signals. This connector should be compatible to the 4 pin S-Video, but from experience I can tell you that this is not always the case, specially when the computer relies on the additional signal for recognizing a TV being connected.
Composite Video Composite Video Analog One of the oldest in this list, and probably the “cheapest” format as well. Most TV’s have this connector still available.

Video Conversion options

If you have a situation where there is a mismatch between available connectors on your PC and your TV, then signal conversion might be an option. The only conversion I can recommend exploring is Digital Video to Digital Video, or conversion between older analog signals like S-Video/Component/Composite video.

Which ever “conversion” you pick: make sure to pick the correct cable ends (male vs female connectors).

Amazon and the likes offer quite a nice selection of video adapters – but be very skeptical and carefully read the reviews to make sure you’re not buying cheap junk.

Digital Video to Digital Video

  • Digital to Digital can often be done cheap and usually works well.

Signal converters for converting one digital connector to another are relatively common. For example there are plenty cheap converters that allow exchange between HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI-D. For example, HDMI to DisplayPort, or HDMI to DVI-D.

Digital Video vs Analog Video

  • Digital to Analog, or Analog to Digital are not recommended, image quality will be inferior and good converters are not cheap.

Digital Video can be converted to Analog signal with the proper hardware. If you can avoid it though, I most certainly would. The required hardware is not really cheap and the resulting video quality isn’t the best.

Be aware that so called DVI to VGA converters (for example) often highly depend on the capabilities of your computer and TV. In this example, your DVI connector needs to be support analog video, and quite often you’ll find out if it works or not when it’s too late. Not all DVI connectors support analog video.

Converter cables that claim HDMI to Component for example, often simply do not work. You’ll need a REAL converter and these converters are often more expensive.

Also note that Analog signals, with the exception of VGA, cannot handle true HD video (i.e. 720p, 1080p, etc). So converters that do convert an Digital video signal to an Analog one, will not maintain the picture quality of the original video. Converters from Analog video to a Digital TV on that same note, will not suddenly become high quality either.

Analog Video to Analog Video

  • Analog to Analog conversion can be cheap and work well, with a few exceptions.

Converting an Analog connector to another Analog connector is very well possible and does not need to be expensive. In most cases it’s not even difficult to build your conversion cable yourself.

Keep in mind though that in some scenarios, conversion might be a little more tricky than others.

SCART specifications for example, indicate that Component to SCART, S-Video to SCART and Composite to SCART should be possible. The manufacturer of your TV however might not have implemented all of the specifications.

Another exception is VGA. When converting VGA to for example Component Video, you’ll need a real converter. VGA uses much higher frequencies than what your TV would expect, so a converter will need to adapt the signal to a lower frequency.

7 pin versus 4 pin S-Video connectors, to mention another example, can come with other problems. For example, some 7 pin S-Video connectors use the extra pins as a way to identify if a TV is being connected. If those extra pins are not being used, getting your computer to display video can become quite a challenge.

Since the use of Analog signal has become less and less popular, price drops of these converters can be significant. See for example this Generic PC to TV Converter for only $12. In all cases though: do your homework, and read reviews.

TV’s WITHOUT Video Input

Some older TV’s might not have any audio or video input options, in those cases you will need to convert the video output of your computer to a so called RF signal. In more simple words: a little box needs to convert the audio and video of your PC to a “TV station”.

For this you’ll need a so called “RF Modulator“.

This can also be practical when you want to duplicate the audio/video to multiple other TV’s. You might recall how you could split TV antenna cables back in the day. The same trick could be used.

Keep in mind though that this will only work for old TV’s that still use an analog TV tuner. Modern TV’s can have either analog, digital, or analog and digital TV tuners, but I’m sure that analog tuners will disappear over time. The video feed needed for the RF modulator is also analog and typically this is either Composite Video or S-Video, but other combinations exist.

RF Modulator (for Analog TV Antenna)

RF Modulator (for Analog TV Antenna)

Computer WITHOUT a Video Output

If your computer has no video output, then don’t worry too much.

Option 1, if your computer allows this, is to install a different video card. The video card doesn’t need to be expensive, specially since often 3D capabilities of the video card play no role in video playback!

Option 2 is the use of USB … As long as your computer has a USB port (at least USB 2.0) available, you can still resort to so called USB to HDMI AdaptersUSB to VGA Adapters, or USB to Composite Video Adapter. Do keep in mind though, that even if these adapters do work, they can sometimes be a tad laggy when using higher resolutions. You’re also dependent on proper drivers and support for the Operating System you’re running, so your milage may vary …

Simple USB to HDMI adapter (USB 2.0)

Simple USB to HDMI adapter (USB 2.0)

These kind of converts can also be found in a wireless fashion, but do not support all operating systems, like this Q-Waves Wireless USB to HDMI Extender which uses an USB port on your computer and transmits wireless video to it’s receiver which connects to your TV over HDMI or VGA cable. Keep in mind, that these kind of devices do work great for some, but distance is limited (so your computer has to be within a 3 to 10 meter radius, in the same room) and driver support can be cumbersome.

USB wireless to HDMI and VGA

USB wireless to HDMI and VGA

Audio Connectors

As you might have noticed in the table above: not all video connectors carry an Audio signal. If you’re about to use one of those video connectors, additional cable(s) are needed to transfer audio from your PC to your TV.

Common Audio Connectors
 TYPE EXAMPLE (Male vs Female) Audio Notes
RCA Audio RCA Analog Stereo Audio Analog The classic red and white RCA connector seen mostly on the back of your stereo set or your TV. This type of connector only supports Stereo Analog audio. Typically the 2 wires are attached to each other.
3.5 mm Jack 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Analog Originally designed for headphones (and the voltage levels are definitely higher than those from an RCA), and often found on MP3’s player, cellphones, cordless phones, and computers. This type of connector can only offer Stereo Analog audio. This connector is sometimes referred to as a “Sony” jack or head phone jack.
Optical or
TosLink or Optical Audio Digital Optical audio, always digital, guarantees a great audio quality without any loss or interference. I’ve found that optical Audio isn’t as widely spread as we’d like it to be, and cables are often expensive and short. The arrival of HDMI makes this type even less popular for Audio/Video puroses.
Digital Audio
over Coax
Digital Audio over Coax Digital Direct competition to the Optical connector, and more popular in part due to it’s simple RCA connector and cheap cable. This type of connection can be found more often than the optical connection, but the arrival of HDMI has made it this type of connector is less used for Audio/Video purposes as well.

Analog Audio Conversion

Conversion of audio signal is typically limited to converting analog audio, for example from a 3.5mm Audio Jack to the two wired RCA connectors.

Typically, if you’re not using HDMI or DisplayPort for example, you’ll end up converting the 3.5mm Jack on your computer to match the RCA connectors on your TV. Cheap and simple cables can be found that accomplish that without a problem and quite a few Audio cards, back in the day anyway, even included them.

Note though that the 3.5 mm stereo jack is typically intended to connect a headset (in other words: speakers!). The RCA connectors however are NOT intended for that purpose and uses a much lower current. Having said that: don’t with the volume of your computer to max, and even though it could technically cause damage, I haven’t experienced anything breaking because of the voltage range differences.

Examples of 3.5mm to RCA

Examples of 3.5mm to RCA

In the above illustration , you see two different ways of converting 3.5mm to RCA, I recommend the left type, as the one on the right might put extra strain on the 3.5mm connector on your computer and you’d still need an additional RCA cable.

Similar cables can be found for SCART connectors where RCA often combined with Component Video, Composite Video and/or S-Video, are “converted” to a SCART connector. There is no real conversion in these cases besides overcoming the physical limitations of connectors that do not fit on each other.

Putting it all together

Once you figured out what audio and video connectors your computer and TV have in common, it’s time to connect the two.

When connecting the audio and video, combined or not, to your TV, take note of the name of the connector you’re using. Most TV’s call these connections AUX, INPUT, EXT or HDMI, typically followed by a number. This will be the “channel” you’ll need to set your TV to if you’d like to actually see the video.

If you decided to use an RF Modulator, you’ll be connecting the antenna output of the RF Modulator to the antenna input of your TV. Most RF Modulators has a switch to choose the channel – this channel number is what you will have to tune your TV to to see the video feed.

Computer Settings

Note : When I refer to “video card” I mean either the physical video card in a slot in your computer, like ATI of nVidia cards, or the video chipset integrated into your computer main-board (often Intel).

Before we begin on the Computer Settings:

  • Make sure your Operating System is UP TO DATE
  • Make sure the DRIVERS for your Video are UP TO DATE

The video drivers are typically the cause for all kinds of headaches, so I strongly recommend getting the latest drivers for your video card.
Laptop users should first try the most recent video drivers of the laptop manufacturer. If they don’t work, you can still resort to video chip manufacturer drivers or patched drivers. Use Google!

Some older video cards have trouble detecting a TV being connected and require you to:

  1. First connect the computer to the TV,
  2. Next power on the TV
  3. Finally power on the computer.

If video still doesn’t appear, specially when using S-Video cables, specific cable requirements might be needed specially when you see that your computer has a 7 pin S-Video connector (older IBM Thinkpads are notorious for this problem).

 Windows XP

Go to the Display settings in the Control Panel (Start button  Control Panel  Display).
Under the “Settings” tab you’ll see your main screen and (hopefully) your TV.

Depending on your Video Card, things might look different and more options might be available.
In all cases I strongly recommend to use the TV as the “Default” monitor, or as “Mirror“.
The option “Extend my Windows desktop on to this monitor” should be avoided!

Tip : If you’re not sure if you picked the right monitor, click the “Identify” button.

Tip : Some video cards come with much more extended settings – utilize this tool instead, as it often offers better setting options.

Windows XP TV Settings

Windows XP TV Settings

 Windows 7/8

Windows 7 and 8 are definitely more convoluting than Windows XP, but the driver support in general is better and video playback appears smoother at time.

You can use the  Key combined with the “P” key to pull up the “Projection” settings and choose “Duplicate” for what Windows calls “Projection on a second screen”.

Alternatively you can open Screen Resolution by right clicking the desktop and selecting “Screen Resolution“.
Here you can see what screens Windows has detected and select your TV. Click your TV and click and click the “Project to a second screen” option where you choose “Duplicate“.

 MacOS X

With your TV Connected, go to the Apple  menu, and choose “System Preferences”  Displays”  Arrangement“.
Next check the option “Mirror Displays” in the bottom-left corner.

MacOS X - Display Settings

MacOS X – Display Settings


Settings under a Linux distribution (at this time anyway) is much more complicated to describe and often depends on the video card your computer is using. Ubuntu (v12+) has improved these “issues” greatly though.


Go to “System Settings Displays” where you can see your TV (if detected, if not click the “Detect Displays” button).
Select your TV and make sure to check the “Mirror Displays” option.

OpenElec XBMC

XBMC distributions, like for example OpenElec, come with a complete Operating System (Linux) and typically have a broad spectrum of supported video cards. Some OpenElec versions are even build specifically for particular computers or computer configurations and even supports devices like the 1st generation AppleTV and the Raspberry Pi.

One of the cool things of OpenElec is that you can actually run it of an USB stick – so it gives you the option to test compatibility before deciding to clear your harddrive and install OpenElec.

Using an A/V Receiver with HDMI and ARC

A/V Receivers do not need to be expensive and can greatly enhance the Audio experience. My favorite models are the Yamaha AV Receivers. They are very affordable, perform very well, have great connectivity and support ARC for HDMI amongst others.

With this type of setup, you will typically have more options, and some these AV Receivers even have the ability to convert Analog Audio and Video to a digital signal (often HDMI). They can be a little complex when you first look at them though.

My preferred setup, which needs your TV and AV Receiver to support ARC (Audio Return Channel) for HDMI is as follows:

The Audio and Video Output of your computer, preferably HDMI, goes to the AV Receiver’s input.
From the AV Receiver’s output, a HDMI connection goes to your TV.

AV Receiver example setup

AV Receiver example setup

This way, we can play video from the PC back on the TV over the AV Receiver, which of course means that the AV Receiver needs to be set to the Audio and Video input you use for the PC, and your TV must be set to the Audio and Video input you used to connect the AV Receiver.

With this setup however, audio from regular TV broadcasts or TV Apps will not go to the AV Receiver, not exactly what we would like right?

This is where ARC comes in (ARC is only available for HDMI and not all devices support HDMI ARC!).
On your TV you will now need to enable ARC, if it supports this. Some TV’s do not support ARC, others have it always ON and some require you to do this manually. Also note that the naming convention can be different per TV. Some refer to it as CEC or “remote control”.

This enables the TV to send Audio back to your AV Receiver when watching for example regular TV. Note that ARC often works with CEC (Consumer Electronics Control). It uses CEC to switch the AV Receiver to a different input, often called “TV Audio” or something like that.

Support Us ...

Your support is very much appreciated, and can be as easy as sharing a link to my website with others, or on social media.

Support can also be done by sponsoring me, and even that can be free (e.g. shop at Amazon).
Any funds received from your support will be used for web-hosting expenses, project hardware and software, coffee, etc.

Thank you very much for those that have shown support already!
It's truly amazing to see that folks like my articles and small applications.

Please note that clicking affiliate links, like the ones from Amazon, may result in a small commission for us - which we highly appreciate as well.


There are 23 comments. You can read them below.
You can post your own comments by using the form below, or reply to existing comments by using the "Reply" button.

  • Jul 13, 2015 - 6:15 PM - Euclid Comment Link

    Thank you for ur useful and helpful info . I’m in the process of video and photo editing would be great to have ur opinion and tips on the subject. Eg. program to use and a step by step teaching on the subject.  If you are strong in this area and can assist let me know ok .. Looking forward to hear from you ASAP thank you.    

    Thank you

    Euclid knight

    Also what is Rss reader…??



    • Jul 14, 2015 - 3:00 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Euclid,

      Thank you for the compliment and the suggestion for some new articles 
      For off-topic questions, it’s better to use the forum (Graphics and Design, or the Video topic would be a good choice) , there you can ask anything you’d like and myself and others will try to answer your question(s). 

      I do have some experience with video/photo editing, but I would not say that I’m an expert.

      RSS is a format used by certain news-reader applications. When you use a news-reader, and add our RSS feed, then it will alert you when new topics have been posted at Tweaking4all (or other websites if the RSS is from another website of course).



  • Jul 19, 2016 - 6:03 PM - Jacob Dunn Comment Link

    Hey Euclid, 

    Fantastic article but unfortunately did not answer what it is I seek. Following your preferences I too prefer to have my laptop connected to my monitor through and A/V recieved however I have ran into an issue. I have found this to cause a hdcp error preventing me from watching anything in full screen from Netflix, to YouTube to media players. Is there a way to get around this without the need of purchasing new equipment? 

    Alienware 17 laptop

    Yamaha reciever

    Benq monitor

    Either way this was a great read. 




    Jacob Dunn

    • Jul 20, 2016 - 10:10 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Jacob,

      You consider using a HDCP stripping HDMI splitter (see this article) – they can be very cheap. In the comments you’ll find confirmations of splitters that do work like this, and those that do not. I have seen these splitters starting at $8 … 

      The setup then is either:

      Laptop -> HDMI splitter -> Receiver -> Monitor

      or the following might work as well:

      Laptop -> Receiver -> HDMI splitter -> monitor

      Now for the HDMI splitter we really do not use it to split the signal to 2 devices, we only use a “flaw” in these splitters which “by accident” remove the copy protecting (HDCP).



  • Aug 17, 2016 - 5:12 AM - Robin Comment Link

    where can I find an rf modulator?



    • Aug 17, 2016 - 5:18 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Robin,

      When getting an RF modulator, you’ll have to pay attention to your region and what TV system your TV is using.
      For example, in the USA TV’s used to use NTSC – modulators can be found at Amazon, follow this link.
      However, in Europe TV’s used to use PAL – modulators can be found at the German Amazon, follow this link.

      One note though; isn’t there a better solution for you? RF signal is only used in old TV’s and VCR’s.
      (of course; I have no idea what your needs are, just wondering since I haven’t used an RF signal in the past 10 years)

      Anyhoo, hope this helps … 



  • Oct 22, 2016 - 5:21 PM - Stern Comment Link

    Thanks for always presenting new ways to share great content!

    Another option is over COAX (PC over RF signal) using encoder RF modulator. This way you can connect many PC signal and output over RF  with your channel lineup





    • Oct 23, 2016 - 1:09 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Stern,

      Thanks for sharing! Definitely interesting equipment, but very expensive … 
      Definitely worth mentioning though, even though for regular consumers, this method might not be something they can afford … 



  • Nov 23, 2016 - 6:06 AM - Daniel Comment Link

    Great article, just a quick question would the PC – AV Tuner/speakers – TV work with a Projector instead of  a TV ? The projector has a HDMI in cable. I want to avoid running my audio from the RCA audio out on the projector to a AV Tuner.



    • Nov 23, 2016 - 9:52 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Replacing the TV with a project should work,…



      • Nov 23, 2016 - 2:32 PM - Daniel Comment Link

        Thanks for the reply, I will push forward with my plan then. Cheers.



  • Jul 12, 2017 - 9:09 AM - DMRM Comment Link


    I have an old analogic Sanyo tv with only 3 entries: one scart, one white for audio (in) and one yellow for video (in), apart from the antenna. 

    I would like to connect my laptop to this tv (I have a toshiba) and so I´ve been trying to find solutions on how to do it but all I find is 4 entries cables (white, yellow, red and black) to connect to rca and them vga or hdmi… I´m a carrot when it comes to techs, so I find it very confusing to understand what is what and what to use… 

    Could you help me, please?



    • Jul 12, 2017 - 9:56 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi DMRM,

      So your laptop has a white, yellow, red and black RCA connector, a VGA and a HDMI connector?
      (let me know if I misunderstood that)

      White RCA = left audio (or mono),
      Red RCA = right audio (in case of stereo sound, which your TV does not seem to support),
      Yellow RCA = composite video, and
      Black RCA = often used for coax or optical audio (which your TV will not support).

      In your case the easiest would be from your laptop white RCA to your TV white RCA, and from your laptop yellow RCA to your TV yellow RCA. Picture quality will not be great though since this would use the so called “composite” video signal, which is as bad as it gets.

      The use of the RF signal (antenna) would be even worse, so I cannot recommend that.

      SCART offers at least Audio (left) and Composite video (just like the 2 RCA pins – white and yellow).

      Note: The SCART connector might offer the so called “component” signal, where Red, Green and Blue have separate pins (not to be confused with “composite” of the yellow RCA, where all video signal are mixed into one wire). However, the problem with the SCART standard is that this [better quality video signal] is not always available. Most TVs with SCART do NOT have these pins connected, and considering what you’re telling me about your TV, I highly doubt it would work on your TV. You might have to consult the manual of your TV or see online if anyone can confirm this.

      As for using HDMI or VGA from your laptop; neither would make much sense. You’d have to get a converter to convert the signal to “composite” (yellow RCA) video, which would not be better than what the yellow RCA of your laptop already offers.

      Hope this clarifies a few things … feel free to ask more 



      • Jul 12, 2017 - 10:26 AM - DMRM Comment Link

        Hello Hans.

        My laptop has VGA and HDMI entries. My tv has scart, antenna and only yellow (video in) and white (audio in) entries – I´m sorry, I have no idea which one does what, it´s written below the entries. 

        During my saga, I came across this: HDMI or VGA cable from the laptop coonecting to RCA converter and the yellow and white cables from the tv also connect to the RCA converter. From what I´ve read I need this RCA converter in order to work. 

        Thank you for your help! 



      • Jul 12, 2017 - 11:34 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

        Ah I see … well, from what you’re telling me, I’d go for a “HDMI-to-RCA  Composite converter” like this one.  
        They are about $12 – $18 at Amazon (see also this link – you’ll find similar priced devices at as well).

        Caution : do not take the HDMI-2-AV “cables”, since most of them do NOT convert the signal and will therefor not work for your setup.

        The HDMI of your laptop goes to the converter, and from the converter you’ll connect the white RCA and yellow RCA to your TV.
        Make sure you have a HDMI cable and 2 RCA cables (if you have one of those white RCA and red RCA cables laying around – the ones often used with stereo’s – the you could use one of those as well of course).

        Hope this helps 



        • Jul 13, 2017 - 4:07 AM - DMRM Comment Link

          Hello Hans,

          Yes, that is exactly what I saw! I will definitly try that! 

          Thank you so much fot your help! 



        • Jul 13, 2017 - 2:16 PM - hans - Author: Comment Link

          Excellent! Let me know if you have any questions! 



  • Feb 27, 2019 - 4:48 PM - John Comment Link

    Hi, this is probably old article but the depth led me to think you might know what I’m looking for but cannot find any matches because it seems the mindset of everyone is stuck on common sense. I use wifi direct to connect my notebook to my cell phone and not use hotspot data. same technology sends files back and forth without data usage and more importantly without data going out of the building. I know that digital converters pick up digital signals convert them to analog and send to old analog tvs. Also that digital tvs pick up digital signals by themselves. I also have put my cell phone in front of my tv screen… used a screen-capture software with sound and mirroring software running through wifi direct to read the wifi signal of the tv show my phone was aimed at, to make it available to my other phone I was carrying through my house, even my notebook I could carry downstairs and see the ‘game’ and listen to is all around the house. This is without any cables and not using an carrier data because it uses wifi direct (the same as a printer). So what I’ve been trying to find (because even though this all works great and it took me quite a while to assemble the idea I had with software I found that would do it (even though the software wasn’t specifically stating that’s what it was for, in fact the developers probably haven’t thought of it yet) the picture on my phone to pc/phone is small. It works but still small. That is ‘live’ and I can record stand-alone qualities and even download movies… so what I’d then need is skipping ‘live’ for now, how to play the mp4 movie (for example) on my phone and send the signal (as if it were broadcasting the actual file (called live streaming?) or whatever… in the analog or digital frequency that a ‘set channel 3 or 4’ uses to grab analog converter signals for example. I know that wifi direct signals are strong enough to be a tv channel frequency and therefore eliminate all the connectors and cables and crap everyone always talks about first. I don’t see ‘any’ of that is needed ever at all. Why… no cable comes through the yard to my antenna?! Why not send the tv signal (whatever that would be that the tv antenna picks up) directly out of a wifi direct output radio. Companies like WIntv Hauupage or something like that, ATI All In Wonder (all stuff I had few decades ago) used cable tv cables for nearly everything and then went to dongles that picked up tv staions out of the air right into usb port of notebook making it a digital tv. Since that was done years and years ago… and it really 1/2 of the technology I’m talking about already… where’s the other half? Where’s the half that simpley broadcasts the audio-video signal in tv antenna frequency out the radio for the tv? ANY tv can pick it up if send it analog-or-digital out of the radio. I doubt any license required for such a weak signal to reach a tv in your house. As I said I already to it with wifi direct but what it’s sending (binary data to coverting software so usign 2.5g bandwidth?) is my guess which isn’t a tv channel frequency. Anyway I think I got the question I’m looking for good enough for you to understand? So… how do I/we do this?
    Thanks, John 022719-1748-00



    • Feb 28, 2019 - 3:22 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi John,

      So I understand you’re using WiFi Direct to connect your phone and laptop – which I personally have no experience with. As I recall it’s something Intel came with several years ago, and as far as I know only support for WiFi-Direct is a little spotty at best, meaning; the support by devices is limited. For example, none of the Apple devices support WiFi-Direct. It does sound like an interesting technology to play with though .

      I’m not quite sure what your questions are, so I’m giving it a try to answer what I think your questions are (without line breaks, your comment is hard to read).

      “Broadcasting” an MP4 to your TV is probably easiest done with one or the other screen mirroring or screen casting functions most phones offer. It also depends if your TV can handle this, with or without help of an additional device (see this write up at AirMore – keep in mind that the write up is very much geared towards their own product of course).

      Replacing all cables with WiFi Direct; I suppose that would technically be possible. Why it’s not done, I don’t know and I can only guess it is a political game (what manufacturer supports what technology, issue with copyright protection, the amount of colliding signals that may or may not make this practical to use, etc). 

      Broadcasting it as a “TV signal” would probably be competing with the digital TV broadcast formats (DVB variants) and it may require the signal to having a much wider range than what WiFi Direct supports (since it’s WiFi based, the range of WiFi Direct will be about 100 meters or 300 feet).

      Please let me know if I misunderstood your question, and please let us know what application(s) and devices you’re using for your current setup – it may help understand your question better.



  • Dec 11, 2021 - 10:06 AM - Stephen Grossman Comment Link

    I use an rca-type switchbox to link mac, tv and external speakers. This causes a hum. An isolation transformer between TV (or computer or both) and switch ends the hum but kills one of the two audio channels. Sometimes the working audio channel changes from L to R or reverse. Sometime both audio channels work on TV but not mac or the reverse. The bug is unstable. Ive done many tests and substitutions, including more expensive switches. All fail to cause no hum and both audio channels on mac and TV.  A techie said that the hum is caused by the tv’s ground being unbalanced relative to the mac’s ground. He advised a better switch. All  switches Ive tried, from $5 to $25, have the bug. Is the switch the problem? How expensive is a proper switch? Please advise.


    Stephen Grossman

    • Dec 12, 2021 - 5:29 AM - Hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Stephen,

      Your techie is right: The hum is indeed very likely caused by a grounding issue, and fixing that can take some time and effort to find what is triggering this grounding issue. This can be (for example) when one device is grounded and the other one is not, a broken cable, or one device is plugged into a different outlet than the other device causing this “unbalance”.

      So one of the easiest things to try is to plug a power strip or surge protector into an outlet, and plug all devices into the power strip / surge protector, so they all have the same ground.

      You can also “pull” the ground, although this could represent a shock hazard (that’s where there is a ground write to begin with).
      Meaning: disconnecting the ground pin of the power (110V or 220V outlet) connector (looks like you’re in the US, so you could use a 3-prong to 2-prong adapter. This way the ground pin is not used, and none of the devices are grounded.

      Obviously there is the usual cable checking, to make sure they are all OK (I’m confident you already did that).

      Note: if there is anything with a motor in it (eg. fan and such) very close to the cables, then this could be causing this hum as well.
      Also a power-cable running in parallel with your audio cables may be causing a hum as well.

      Let me know if any of this worked, so we can look for other options in case it didn’t work.



      • Dec 12, 2021 - 12:41 PM - Stephen Grossman Comment Link


        Yes, Im in the US. My cable TV and its cable box are plugged into an old, 2-prong (I believe) outlet that caused nasty electrical sounds from my Mac when it was originally powered from it. I now power the Mac from another, presumably 3-prong outlet, in another room. So, I guess, there is the imbalance. As you recommend, I will experiment w/all powered from that other outlet. But I have such a rat’s nest of cables behind TV and behind Mac ,including two surge suppressers connected together, two lamps, a clock,  a wireless computer speaker base station for other rooms and a phone answering machine, that the TV and Mac may  or not may be connected together other than with the audio cables that are the immediate problem. I may have to trace and label all cables to know what is connected to what. The thought of that tiring. I should have labeled them when installing them. Some years ago, I even had my regular audio system connected to my Mac’s audio output for cassette recording of online music and for using the then bigger regular audio system speakers to hear a Panamanian Latin jazz station while working on my car!  I suppose that I should be grateful that most everything works as well as it does. The Mac-TV-speaker system worked w/both audio channels when originally connected. The bug with only one audio channel took a while to happen. Is this time delay important? This situation reminds me of the complexity of electrical and electronics systems.


        Stephen Grossman

        • Dec 13, 2021 - 5:08 AM - Hans - Author: Comment Link

          I think we all at some point may have had a spaghetti bundle under our desk or behind a cabinet 

          My advice would be to disconnect the affected devices and connect them to one single power strip, ideally with surge protection.
          Then connect the power strip to a grounded (3 prong) outlet and see what happens.
          I can imagine this to be a challenge indeed – but also an opportunity to label the wires 

          Note: the hum may also be caused by the other wires. So untangling them may be an additional win … 



Your Comment …

Do not post large files here (like source codes, log files or config files). Please use the Forum for that purpose.

Please share:
Notify me about new comments (email).
       You can also use your RSS reader to track comments.

Tweaking4All uses the free Gravatar service for Avatar display.