Converting VGA to RCA/S-Video?

1.) Does anybody know of a device that allows for the coversion of a VGA Computer signal into RCA or S-Video for display on a television?

2.) Am I looking at an outside perepherial or a PCI card inside the PC?

3.) How much $ are we talking?

4.) Since the TV isn’t Hi-Def and operates at a lower resolution, what kind of video quanlity will result for viewing MPEGs or say, reading 12 pt fonts?

5.) Would I need somesort of VGA splitter so that I can still run a cable to the Monitor as well?

6.) Links?

Thanks in advance.

Do you want to replace your VGA monitor with a TV?

If so, that’s a bad idea. Resolution is bad and sharpness/quality is even worse on a tv screen.

If you want to ADD a TV option to your computer then you’re best bet is to get yourself a video card with a tv out option. Most ATI cards and Nvidia cards have this option.

If you don’t do any gaming on your PC, get yourself a cheap Nvidia Geforce 4MX with TV out, or an ATI Radeon 9500. (ATI also has the all-in-wonder family which has both Tv out and Tv in features if you want to do some video capture).

Currently I have an ATI 9600 PRO with TV out on my main comp and I use that setup to watch DVD’d and Divx movies on my TV. My other comp has a Geforce 4600 Ti with both TV in and out for capturing my favorite shows :wink:

The low end cards with TV out will run you anywhere from $50 to $100 bucks.


All my computers have video cards with s-video out. It’s very common in computer video cards these days. Any computer store should have a s-video out vga card.

I while ago I paid like $60 for a vga to s-video converter. It sucked. Two months ago, I paid $12 for a new video card with built-in S-video. It rocks.

Froogle is your friend

The replies are right. Even economy video cards are often available with S-video out. For use as a computer monitor, results are less than optimum. However, when watching movies or playing certain action games, many people will prefer a good SVHS TV to a computer monitor. The TV’s are optimized to the “video” display while the computer monitors are optimized for the static “data” display.

Oops! I just realized you had another unanswered question. You asked about still running the monitor. If you get a dual display video card (like most of the current ATI Radeons or equivalent nVidia (TwinView??) or Matrox DualHead) you can run both displays simultaneously. You will have to read up on it first to verify the modes, but my ATI Radeon currently has two computer displays but also has a SVHS output. I can run independent monitor and TV or I can run two monitors with a TV also attached which will clone one of the monitor displays. As I recall, if you go for the All In Wonder, you get the TV Tuner in the package but the second display must be a TV (can’t run two monitors).

Software supplied allows you to independently set the signal properties and refresh rate so the TV operates correctly.

What you want is a device called a scan converter. They sell on Ebay for anywhere from $20 on up. I bought one for $36. It works fine. No need to install any card, and no USB port needed either. You can get a splitter if you also want to run the monitor.

Here’s a good article on the subject:

As others have pointed out, your best bet is to purchase a cheap video card with TV-Out. As you may know, there are two type of connectors possible, RCA and/or S-Video. Check to see whether you TV supports only one or both.

A word about the quality. AVI/MPEG movies will look as good or better than VHS (depends on the quality of the encoding), but not as good as DVD. Of course the point is moot if you don’t have to equipment to showcase DVD-like quality, such as HDTV and surround, etc.

A standard TV is not suitable for viewing text, mostly because there is noticeable flicker due to the low refresh rate. It’s terribly hard on the eyes to read from a TV screen.

In addition, you’ll need cables to connect video AND sound (from the sound card, of course). Check your connectors to ensure you get the proper cables.