Thursday, March 30, 2006

Laptop to Hotel TV connection for watching DVD's

(Q) When I'm on the road, I'd like to play DVD movies on my laptop. It has a VGA output, but no composite video or S-Video output. What can I use to transmit the DVD signal from my laptop to a hotel TV?

(A) It is hard to be sure what you are going to get on a hotel TV as far as connections go. Some only seem to have a coax "F" type standard Cable TV/Antenna input. Some will have a separate A/V input. That is usually about it.

Either scenario still require you to get the audio from the laptop to the TV (unless you have some external speakers for your laptop). You will need to go from a stereo 1/8"(3.5mm) connector on the laptop to two RCA connectors for left and right stereo channels.
An iPod connection cable like this will work very well for this, it has a six foot cable:
We will soon be offering custom length mini 1/8" stereo to dual RCA cables like this at a variety of lengths with very good Belden cable and some very nice connectors.

For a TV with A/V inputs (RCA jacks for Video and Right and Left Stereo audio) you will need a VGA to Video converter box. This will take a VGA signal from the laptop and down convert it to a standard definition NTSC or PAL output on composite video or S-Video.
This would be a good sized portable adapter:
More choices:
The audio cables will go to the left/right TV audio inputs.

For a TV with a coax "F" type standard Cable TV/Antenna input:
You will first need to convert from VGA to video and audio, then modulate it to RF for the TV input. Two boxes. Not real travel friendly.
This would again be a good sized portable VGA to Video adapter:
Then you will need to take the video and audio and modulate it to an RF signal the TV will be able to "tune".
Here's an F modulator:
The audio cables will go to the left/right audio inputs on the RF modulator audio inputs.

Friday, March 24, 2006

USB to Serial or Parallel Conversion question

Q) We have an older model laptop computer with no usb port. Recently it became necessary to replace our printer and it seems all the low end models have no parallel or serial connections. Is there a cable or adapter that would plug into the computer’s parallel or serial port and the usb (female b type) port on the printer?

A) No, sorry there is no way to connect a USB device through a serial or parallel port. There are adapters for the reverse connection, from serial or parallel to USB.
There are cards you can install into most fairly recent computers to add USB or USB 2.0 ports. These adapters have varying support for computer Operating Systems (Mac OS9.x/OSX or Windows XP/2000/98SE) and you will need to make sure that either the drivers are supplied or the Operating System includes generic or specific drivers for the device or chipset used in the device.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Q/A DVI VGA conversion question

I bought a monitor that supports both analog and digital but my PC only has a VGA connection. So I am only using analog right now. But from what I have read digital gives off a better picture quality. So, is there a cable that will connect my DVI-D male monitor to my VGA female PC?

Connecting a monitor with digital input to a computer with digital output should give a better quality video signal, mainly because all digital to analog and analog to digital conversions have been removed.
By adding a VGA to DVI-D converter for your monitor you are only just taking the analog to digital conversion and moving it outside of the monitor, since the monitor was doing this internally in the first place.
Is the external A/D converter going to be better or worse than the internal one? It is impossible to say without knowing the equipment. Most likely it will not be as good, since the internal converter was designed with the display in mind.