Thursday, April 09, 2009

Connecting Laptop to HDTV (VGA to Component video)


Another Tech Support Question:
"Can I connect my laptop computer which has a VGA output to my A/V receiver which has component inputs?"


We have an article about connecting Computers to TV's and HDTV's in our:
How to connect your computer to your HDTV or Standard Def Television

To make a long story short, VGA and Component Video are somewhat different animals. A cable won't do it. You need a converter.
The tricky part is getting the laptop video output to be something that the TV will like. If your laptops built-in video is really good, then you can use a less expensive converter called a "Transcoder". A transcoder simply changes the encoding of the signal but does not change resolution or refresh rate, so what goes in is what comes out, just converted from RGB to Y-Pr-Pb. For an HDTV to accept the signal, a component video signal has got to be, 480i, 480p, 720p or 1080i. That means you have to set your laptop to one of these formats *or* you'll need to use a more expensive converter that is a "Video scaler". A video scaler can change the resolution of the video signal. When doing this, you want the least change in resolution possible for best results.
Typically, your best bet with a transcoder is to set up your laptop (or desktop) display to 1280x720@60Hz, and set the transcoder for 720p.
Typically, your best bet with a scaler/converter is to set up your laptop (or desktop) display to 1280x768@60Hz (if 1280x720@60Hz is not available) , and set the transcoder for 720p.

If you have not checked for video card driver upgrades, you should. Sometimes new drivers make it much easier to set this up by providing new resolutions and adjustments for "overscan"*.

*overscan is where the sides and/or bottom of the display are clipped off to some extent making navigation difficult.

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