If both your A/V component and computer each have a matching video port, then you can simply connect both devices by using the appropriate type of cable. For example, if the computer uses a DVI port to output the video signal and the A/V component has a DVI port for receiving the video signal, then all you need to do is connect a DVI cable to both of the DVI ports; the same applies to the other types of ports.
One important thing to know is that the video quality displayed on the television will be determined by the connection method used to connect the computer. For the best video quality, try using a VGA, DVI, HDMI, or Component Video connection; S-Video and Composite Video can be used, but do not provide as high of a resolution. However, your connection options may be limited by the types of ports available on both devices.
The computer and A/V component may not have any matching ports. If this is the case, it will be necessary to do one of the following:
- Install a video card in the computer that has a matching port like the one found on the A/V component.
- Purchase a video converter.
Although both options are fine, rather than installing a new video card in the computer, it may be easier to simply connect a video converter. Since most computers use a VGA/RGB port to output the video signal, you will probably need to use a VGA converter to pass the signal to the DVD deck or A/V receiver. Use one of the following types of converters depending on the video input available on your television:
- VGA-to-Component Video
- VGA-to-Composite Video
NOTE: Video converters can be purchased from local and online computer retailers.
Whether installing a different video card or using a video converter, it is important to make sure that the computer can output the video resolution properly. You should check the instruction manual of your A/V component and your television to determine what resolution is supported and then configure the computer accordingly in the Display Properties section in the Control Panel of the operating system. Some of the more commonly used resolutions for televisions are 640x480 and 800x600.
NOTE: Although the computer may be capable of outputting higher resolutions, the A/V component or the television may not be able to handle it. This can result in overscan which causes some of the screen information to be cut off or missing. On the other hand, it may be necessary to install software on the computer that supports higher resolutions.
In addition to the resolution, the computer must also use a scan frequency (also known as refresh rate) that is compatible with the television; common scan frequencies are 50Hz, 60Hz, and sometimes 75Hz. Again, you should check the instruction manual of your television for this information. Manuals are available online through the Manuals link on this page.
WARNING: There is a risk of hardware damage. Using a scan frequency that is not supported can cause damage to the television or computer.
IMPORTANT: When connecting a notebook computer, it may be necessary to press a function key -- the F7 key on VAIO® notebook computers -- or other key combination in order for the notebook computer to output the video signal.
Now, let's talk about connections for sound. Unless connected to the A/V component using HDMI-to-HDMI connection, you will need to connect an audio cable from the computer to the A/V component. There are two types of audio ports we need to look for: a miniplug or composite audio jack.
- If the computer has a line out miniplug and the A/V component has composite audio input jacks, use a miniplug-to-composite audio cable.
- If the computer has composite audio output jacks and A/V component has composite audio input jacks, use a standard composite audio cable.
- If the computer has a 3.5 mm line-out miniplug and the A/V component has a 3.5 mm line-in miniplug, use a miniplug-to-miniplug audio cable.
NOTE: The audio cables are capable of providing stereo sound (left and right channel audio) to the A/V component and are available from most local and online computer or electronics retailers.