Hooking up a laptop to a TV?

Ah, I am pretty baffled at this. Never done it before and I keep reading confusing information online. I have a HDMI, Display Port, VGA, and DVI port on my laptop(M11x). I also have two head phone out for audio. Is this something that can be done easily with the right cables or would I need a converter box for color issues? I mainly want to have the output be in a cable type I know that will work with practically every TV I encounter(RCA connector?). If I need a converter I wouldn’t even bother but if it possible with the right cable or two I’m interested. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

HDMI will work with almost every flatscreen tv on the planet - and it will give you both picture and sound (you might have to go into the Sound-menu and set output to HDMI, though).

VGA is the most universal of the others, if you think you’ll run into rather old monitors - then you’ll need a minijack to phono-adapter for sound (I think you call them phono too) or minijack to…whatever the many different kinds of speakers you could encounter uses. But in that case you can just let the laptops speaker handle sound.

No converter box.

What Hanzii said. Despite all of HDMI’s shortcomings, it’s probably the easiest way to get video and audio from a computer to a TV - providing you’re not running distances or trying crazy multi-screen setups, as I’ve recently had issues with.

Sometimes VGA outputs have pins that can easily be converted to old-school TV out signals via simple cables, but this varies depending upon your system and what video chipset it has in it. I don’t know what the situation is for your specific laptop.

But yeah, I use HDMI to hook my laptop up to TVs these days. I wouldn’t even bother hooking it up to old school composite TVs even if my VGA output supported those pins because it’ll just look completely horrible anyway.

HDMI is the easiest to use in that situation. However, you should probably take a look at the manual for the TV - some of them specify which HDMI port you should use when hooking a computer up. I’m not entirely sure why that is the case.

some TVs have built in ‘image quality enhancement’ that you can’t turn off, intended to improve movies/tv etc but is shit for display monitor output.

also ensure that it is in 1:1 pixel mode as well as setting your underscan (to the far right in ati catalyst) to 0 so that the picture fills the pixels and isn’t blurry.

Mainly I want an older output since where I’ll be traveling I know modern TVs are much less likely than older ones. Would these work?

video - http://www.amazon.com/Computer-VGA-S-Video-Adapter-Cable/dp/B0030B8EPE
audio - http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Audio-Cable-Splitter-1-Mini/dp/B00004Z5CP

Never seen such a short video cable but I haven’t come across one longer.

The video/VGA may or may not work. If your laptop has TV out via VGA it’ll work, if not it won’t. I don’t know if your laptop supports TV out via VGA.

The video cable you listed is really just an adapter and is meant to be used with a second cable which is the actual S-Video or RCA cable.

Where are you going to be traveling, btw? Things get much more painful in some places outside the US as you’ll also have to worry about different TV encoding standards (PAL, SECAM, etc) in addition to your existing problems, at least if you use an old style TV signal encoder connection.

The country is NTSC so that shouldn’t be an issue. I think if it works on my older TVs which I am going to test it should be OK.

I bought this to do exactly what you are talking about on an older standard def TV. Works great and I use it to watch movies and Hulu.

If your laptop doesn’t support composite video out and you need to use it with old TVs which don’t have VGA or digital video inputs then a vga to composite conversion box, may be what you need.

Bear in mind that the picture quality suffers when using such boxes. Small text will probably be illegible.

EDIT: Yeah, get the one qbakies linked to. It’s a US seller and half the price.

I went ahead and used the product qbakies linked which worked flawless. It was much easier than I expected, it was recognized once I plugged it in. Together with the Belkin audio cables I linked it does both sound and video. Right now I’m just using RCA video(yellow cable) would s video be significantly better quality? I can’t read smaller text in windows or games but videos and game graphics are more than good enough quality. Older emulated games seem perfect for this type of setup.

S-video will definitely make a difference when it comes to fine detail like small text, but it does have its limits and still might not be good enough, depending on just how small. It should also help get rid of ‘shimmer’ effects on edges, in my experience, if you’re seeing any of that.

Damnit, I’m just seeing this thread now. I have a little converter box that takes VGA and gives you S-video, composite video, and vga out. It’s called a TVator exec. Free to a good home.