My laptop has a VGA output, no S-Video. My TV's VGA input does not support 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratios (1024x768 at best). I was wondering if there were kits for plugging a VGA output to either an S-Video or HDMI input, via some "box in the middle".

My goal is to use my laptop as a moveable media center.


Be very careful; Do not purchase a VGA->Component cable, it will not work. These cables are for converting Component-over-VGA to component cables, for devices that already output a component signal to a VGA port. Your laptop does not do this, and you will need an actual coverter box. A VGA->HDMI converter box will probably run you ~$100 to ~$200 depending on your resolution needs, but will be your best bet for picture quality.

  • Would a simple VGA-HDMI adapter work, given I can make my video card do high resolutions? I have a VGA-DVI and a DVI-HDMI adapter, but when combined, they don't fit in the narrow space between the input and the stand :( so I couldn't test this. Jul 21 '09 at 0:28
  • Unfortunately no. DVI has pins that allow an analog (VGA) signal to be output, and that is what a VGA-DVI adapter uses. HDMI can -only- carry a digital signal, so there will not be any picture.
    – Saavedro
    Jul 21 '09 at 13:50
  • It's funny this answer was not voted up more, but that's the best answer. A simple adapter didn't do the trick, as so well explained by @Saavedro. I need a converter box. I'll probably look for some video streaming box instead. Thank you all! Jul 30 '09 at 14:26
  • Yeah, I learned all this myself the hard way when I got my TV ;)
    – Saavedro
    Aug 2 '09 at 5:38

You need some sort of converter that can convert from VGA out of your computer to component into your TV.

For other sorts of adapters, just search newegg:

  • VGA to Component converter
  • VGA to S-video converter
  • VGA to HDMI converter
  • I voted this answer up, but didn't flag it as the perfect answer. One precision though: A simple adapter (no convertion) isn't enough. It must be a converter. Searching for "VGA to HDMI converter" yields better results. Thank you. Jul 30 '09 at 14:30

A few answers have mentioned S-Video, which you want to avoid. S-Video is very limited in the resolution it will carry, something around 480 lines.

  • could do worse... could always use composite or s-video to composite. Just try reading 10pt font on that. Jul 17 '09 at 19:14

I don't know what you budget is for this project, but I would not be surprised if this exceeded it. I am going to provide the information anyway though, just in case! There is a company called Gefen who makes great products for video in the pro-sumer to professional range. The product I would recommend is the Gefen VGA to DVI Scaler PLUS, the MSRP is $329USD, but I imagine you could find it cheaper elsewher. The product takes VGA in scales it and outputs DVI. This is important because you cannot simply adapt VGA to DVI or HDMI, it must be scaled up in order to match the resolution of your display. Gefen also makes a DVI to HDMI adapter (www.gefen.com/kvm/dvi-hdmi-adapters.jsp (Sorry I cn only post one hyperlink as a new user)) (so do other companies, but I really like this one) if your TV does not support DVI, or if you would just prefer HDMI. I'm sure there are other hardware solutions out there that would work for what you are looking for, but this is the only device that I have had personal experience with, and therefore is the only one I am comfortable recommending.

Another option is to go with a USB external video card that supports DVI. The advantage to this is that it will allows support for a wider variety of resolutions. The solution I suggested above should work even on a low end video card, but there is still a chance that you will not be able to get 16:9 out of it.

Good luck!

Also, as many others have suggested, stay away from S-Video if you can. It is a horrible format and I really wish it would just go away.


Why don't you just try outputing 800x600 or 1024x768 out the VGA port to your TV? You could also look at a USB/VGA or similar for S-Video/HDMI but they are not the best for high res video and quality.

  • By default, this will use a 4:3 portion of my TV, not a 16:9. If I cheat the TV into displaying it wide, I don't get a correct aspect ratio. Jul 17 '09 at 15:32
  • You may have to look at one of the addon options. You might be able to find a hack for your video driver to add this resolution... but I wouldn't bet on it. Jul 17 '09 at 17:33
  • I have found hacks, and the video card isn't the problem. The TV's VGA input does not support it. That's why I need to go throught the HDMI or RGB inputs. Jul 21 '09 at 0:25
  • the HDMI probably has the same limits. The RGB/Component is just VGA. BTW… If your laptop supports DVI-D you can just get a DVI to HDMI adapter. Jul 21 '09 at 15:18

There used to be a number of such adapters. The most popular was made by a company "Dazzle". Last I knew they were still around although you seldom see there products advertise or on store shelves any more. I had used a couple of these adapter maybe 7 or 8 years ago. They were very good for their time. Their products would work when you have an older PC or older TV without a more modern interface.


Most laptops come with an s-Video out port on the back. Check to see if you have that.

  • 2
    What kind of an answer is that? He's already stated that his laptop has no S-Video out!
    – MJeffryes
    Jul 17 '09 at 18:17

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