How to Convert VGA to RCA

by Jeff Grundy
Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Most modern LCD or LED televisions ship with at least a couple of kinds of ports for connecting various types of player devices. Many TVs even include a VGA port you can use to connect a desktop or laptop computer and view its display on the larger screen. Many older TVs, though, include only a coaxial cable connector and RCA inputs. If you have an older TV without a native VGA port, you can still view your computer on the larger TV screen using a relatively inexpensive adapter cable.

Step 1

Purchase a VGA-to-RCA video and sound adapter. A VGA-to-RCA adapter has a male 15-pin VGA connector and a 3.5mm audio plug on one end of the cable. The other end of the adapter cable has three RCA-type jacks. The red and while RCA jacks are for converting the audio signal from a desktop or laptop computer, while the yellow jack transmits the video signal.

Step 2

Power off the television and the computer.

Step 3

Connect the VGA connector on the adapter cable to the video-out port on the rear of the desktop or laptop computer. Plug the 3.5mm audio cable into the "Speaker Out" or "Audio Out" port on the motherboard or sound card of the computer. If you're using the adapter with a laptop, plug the audio cable into the "Headphone" jack you'll find on the side or front of the unit.

Step 4

Connect the yellow RCA jack on the opposite end of the adapter cable into the "Video In" or "Video 1" port on the side or rear of the television. Plug the red and white RCA jacks into the matching colored ports on the TV labeled "Audio In" or "Audio 1."

Step 5

Power on the TV first, then turn on the computer. Wait for the computer to boot into Windows.

Use the remote control for the TV to select the appropriate Input or Source for the ports used to connect the adapter cable to the computer. For instance, if you connected the adapter cable into the "Video 1" port, use the remote control to select Video 1 as the input source. With many remote controls, you need only press the Input or Source button a few times until the correct label appears on the TV screen. After you select the correct source or input option with the remote control, the computer display should appear on the television.


  • If you're connecting a laptop to a television, you might need to press a special key sequence to display the notebook screen on the TV. On most laptops, there is a key with the a small picture or icon symbol of a computer monitor. Press the "Fn" and the key with the picture of the monitor to toggle the display on the laptop and TV. Press the keys once to display the computer image on the TV only, press it again to display on the computer only or press it a third time to display the screen on both devices simultaneously.
  • You can choose to display a mirror image of the laptop on the television or extend the desktop to add a second usable display. Press the "Windows - P" keys simultaneously to display the multi-monitor configuration window. Click the "Duplicate" option to mirror the computer display on the TV. Alternatively, click the "Extend" option to create a blank Windows desktop screen on the TV to which you can drag, drop and view separate windows.


Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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