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use laptop as TV monitor

Dell / Inspiron 510m...
June 29, 2010 at 08:43:25
Specs: Windows XP
Can this laptop be used as a monitor with a set top digital TV receiver. The receiver has Scart output which is converted to phono audio and video plugs. Can this video/audio be input to parallel or serial connectors? Does S-Video work in as well as out?

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June 29, 2010 at 14:23:56
"The receiver has Scart output which is converted to phono audio and video plugs."

The correct term is RCA plugs - a phono audio connection is only one of the things that type of plug (or jack) is used for.

"Does S-Video work in as well as out?"

NO .

If your laptop model has S-Video capability, it's video out, only. You use a standard S-Video to RCA adapter in the "S-Video" jack. On a laptop, the "S-Video" jack, or whatever they call it, often is not a legacy S-Video jack - it has more than the 4 pin holes required for a legacy S-Video connection, but the jack is compatible with using a standard adapter in it (S-Video male 4 pin to RCA female). Most if not all laptops have no built capability of accepting video in, but you can get adapters than will accept video in, e.g. USB ones.

A (legacy) S-Video connection or legacy composite video (one RCA ) connection has a legacy standard TV output, which is ancient and primitive, yielding you relatively crappy looking video in comparison to computer monitor video. Video from a computer is kinda okay, but your Windows screens do not look as good as on a computer monitor - e.g. the fonts often look crappy.

If your receiver has HDTV output (three RCA connections for the video) you may be able to get an adapter that will accept input from that - that will look much better than S-Video video or legacy composite video.

Neither has audio capability.
The audio you can connect via a dual RCA to 1/8" shaft stereo plug adapter to an audio in jack on the laptop, but most if not all laptops don't have that (it may work okay in the mic jack, it may not), or an adapter that accepts HDTV input should have a jack for that.

If your receiver has HDMI output, that also supports audio output - you would need an adapter that supports HDMI input. HDMI cables are relatively expensive. That will look much better than S-Video or legacy composite video and HDTV video.

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June 29, 2010 at 14:28:48
Something like this will probably work...

Audares Juvo

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June 29, 2010 at 14:51:18
"set top digital TV receiver."

What do you mean by that?

Do you have a set top TV box, that connects to an incoming TV signal cable?
You don't normally call a set top box of that kind a receiver.
You don't normally have any output from a TV other than possibly audio - they're inputs, not outputs.

If the box does NOT have to decode the incoming TV signal, you could use a coax cable splitter to Y the TV signal input cable to the set top box input and to a TV tuner for the laptop.

If the box DOES have to decode the incoming TV signal, the box must have a decoded coax cable output you can get all of the channels from, if you want to connect to the input for a TV tuner for the laptop.
If the coax cable output is only one channel, controlled by the box, there' no point in getting a TV tuner for the laptop - you need an adapter for the laptop that can accept video output from the box, of one sort or another.

You may need to use a cable TV signal amplifier inline if you use a TV tuner for the laptop, particularly if you split the incoming cable, or split the coax output to both a TV and the laptop TV tuner, in order for all the channels to be clear on the laptop.

TV Tuners examples for laptops....

See Response 1, but some of the links may no longer work, or they may no longer be selling them :

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June 29, 2010 at 18:11:20
There seems to be a bit of confusion here.

As the OP mentioned he is using a SCART which means he is in Europe at least and probably Britain.

SCART has both input and output and TV s with SCART sockets can do both. That's so you can connect a Video recorder and view and record videos through the same cable all controlled by the video recorder. SCART also has control circuits as well as video and audio. RCA plugs are called phono plugs in Britain.

In Britain Digital Set Top boxes are called receivers as they do have a TV tuner in them. They were originally designed and are still used to view digital television on an analogue TV. They usually come with both SCART and RF outputs. SCART if the TV has SCART. RF tuned to channel 36 if there is no SCART.

Having said that, the only way you are going to view the TV on your laptop is of the laptop had some kind of video in and that usually means a TV tuner which normally has a composite video input or a video card with video in which is not that common. As stated above S-Video on a laptop is output only.

No chance of using the parallel or serial inputs either unless you are prepared to sit down and spend a couple of months writing your own software.


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June 29, 2010 at 20:14:01
Okay, that clears a few things up.

I don't have anything fancy regarding a TV box or similar, so I suppose it is possible they call TV boxes receivers here in North America too, at least in some cases.
Of course, most if not all TV boxes have a TV tuner.
To me, a receiver has a radio tuner, and multiple inputs / outputs for other sound, but I don't have anything modern.

"You don't normally have any output from a TV other than possibly audio - they're inputs, not outputs."

Note that I did not say TV box.

"..has Scart output which is converted to phono audio and video plugs."

I was assuming one video RCA plug.

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June 30, 2010 at 00:51:44
Thanks for the advice and help guys - I didn't realise USB TV dongles were available and how cheap they are. Maplins have a suitable digital one for £20:00 which will serve me well.

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