DIY Converting VGA to Composite

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Converting the Video Graphics Array (VGA) video output of your computer to a composite RCA jack is handy if you want to view your computer display on an older television. Getting a composite signal out of your computer will also allow you to record the video display from your computer on a VCR or DVD recorder.

Consider an Upgrade

If your computer is a desktop model, the easiest way to convert VGA to composite video may be to upgrade your video card. If you have an aging computer, newer video cards may not be appropriate for your machine. You need to consult the documentation of your computer to see what kind of internal video slot your computer accepts. Look for a video display adapter that includes a composite RCA video output in addition to the VGA output. The video card will need to be compatible with the video slot of your computer. Older computers may use a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) or Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) slot. Upgrading the video card will not be an option for laptop models.

Scan Converters

If changing your video card is not an option, you will need an external device that accomplishes the conversion. A scan converter is a component that resolves the different resolution and scan rates of VGA video and converts the signal into a video signal suitable for televisions or video recorders. Most commonly, scan converters will include a VGA input, and an additional VGA output to plug your computer monitor into, while also including both an S-Video and RCA composite video output for your television or VCR.

Quality Considerations

External VGA-to-composite scan converters vary greatly in quality. Some models costing many hundreds of dollars are used to provide professional video quality output of computer displays for use in broadcast television applications. Your needs may be more modest. Whether you want to watch streaming videos from the Internet or display video games on the larger screen of your television, less expensive scan converter solutions will be more than adequate. No matter what model you choose, the resolution required for your television will be around 800 x 600 pixels, or ordinary VGA resolution. If you have a larger computer monitor, you may have to reduce the resolution for the scan converter to work properly. Newer scan converters can resolve higher resolutions with their composite video output used for the television monitor.

Making the Connection

Regardless of whether you upgrade your video display adapter or plug in a scan converter, you will need to connect the RCA composite output from your computer or scan converter into your television or VCR. Assuming your television has an RCA input for additional video devices, plug the RCA video cable from your computer into an available RCA composite video jack. Use the remote from your television or VCR to select the video input. If you upgraded your video card to one with an RCA output, you may need to adjust the display properties from your computer operating system to activate the composite video output.