How to Use a TV As a Computer Monitor

Okay so.. This is my first instructable, so bear with me...
In this instructable im going to show you.. thats right.. how to use a TV as a computer monitor! It works pretty good, but there are limits.. for example you can't read small text, but a picture comes is clear enough, so you can use your computer as a DVD player.
NOTE: This is unnecessary if your computer has an S-Video or Composite out. If you have an S-video out on the computer and a composite (standard RCA) in on the TV or VCR or whatever, see here

Oh, yeah I didn't make this into an instructable until after I had it all set up, so the pictures will just be there as close ups of what the step is about. Speaking of pictures, you'll notice that most of them aren't very good. This is because it was kind of hard to take the picture while crouched under my desk, or while I'm using my good hand to hold stuff in the pic.

and, sorry in advance; the image notes tool isn't working.

UPDATE: heres a good site all about this subject:
they sell adapters like the one i used and all different ones like if your computer has a s-video out but your tv or vcr doesnt have an s-video in, then this is the place for you

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Step 1: Parts

Theres a few parts needed for this, and i'm sure that you can get them secondhand for cheaper..
-FOCUS Enhancements TView Micro---this is the one i used, at least.. there are different kinds, but i didn't know that until i already got it ($69.99 from Newegg)this is the link to it:
-an RCA extension cable- the kind i used had both genders on both ends.. pretty handy, since i didn't know if i would need another extension cable or not (salvaged, optional)
- generic 2 conductor wire(or 4, in the case that you want to use the s-video-- phone cable(RJ45?) probably works) ..I used some speaker cable i had laying around. (already had, optional)

The TView is the actual converter box, the rest is to make the extension to bring the signal from the box to wherever the TV might be.. For example I had to run it through a drop ceiling in the basement. this is the only part i had to buy, and i actually got it for christmas, so for me this was completely free.
A TV (obviously) w/ or w/o composite ins.. if it doesn't have them, then you need a vcr or dvd player, w/e to plug it into and then convert the signal into CO/AX for the TV

One of the pics below is the chart that came printed on the box to let you know after you get it that there are better models of it.

Step 2: About the Device

The Focus Enhancements TView Micro uses a special chip to convert VGA signal from your computer to either S-video or composite video. It can draw power from either ps/2 keyboard jack or 5-pin keyboard jack, (both the included plugs are pass-through, so you can still use your keyboard), or USB (also included), which is what i'm using. You can apparently also order an AC adapter separately, but its easier to do it with the included cables. It comes with a CD, which is just the manual for it. the setup is pretty self-explanatory, once you get it. It's got little buttons to control the picture position and size brightness, all that jazz. When you get it, you should check it out right away, and move either the computer or tv temporarily to test it out.

this pic is sorta fuzzy but the cord on the left is the power cord, and the others are the ins and outs, which aren't detatchable.

Step 3: RCA Extensions

While waiting for the device to come in the mail, make the extension. You could just cut the output on the device, but that would almost certainly void any and all warranties. This is why you get an extension cable that you can cut up without any problem. so, you cut it in the middle, and strip the ends. there will be two wires in it, one of them most likely bare. this is when you bust out your generic 2 conductor wire. solder one conductor from the wire to one from the cable, and the other to the other.(if u don't have a soldering iron, get one.. they own EVERYTHING) remember colors.. polarity matters. Make your cable whatever length you need, and run it in whatever unorthodox way you want.. for me, it's strung over some lights and resting on the ceiling tiles (in the ceiling, of course), then it comes through a small hole in a tile, and hangs down the wall, then goes into the TV cabinet THROUGH THE FRONT :P to the back of the vcr.

if you are using the s-video, I would suggest getting a cable with a male on one end and a female on the other, then cut that one up I said, phone cable should work. it's pretty easy to do, but if you arent sure, use a multimeter to check for continuity. if you don't have a multimeter, use an LED and some batteries, but remember polarity matters with LEDs. if you don't have an LED and some batteries, I don't know what to tell you.

the first pic is of the cable going into the ceiling, and the second is of it coming out.

Step 4: Setup on the Computer End

okay so you got the thing.. plug the VGA IN (15 pin) into the monitor out on your computer, and connect the monitor to the pass-thru plug (not necessary). then plug the outputs of the device into your pimpass extension cable you just made, and, and run that however its going to go, connect whichever power cable you choose between it's respective port and the power in on the device.

you can't really see it good but the blue plug is from my monitor; its plugged into the pass-thru.. the plug above that is plugged into the VGA out of my computer.

Step 5: Setup on the TV End

On your vcr, probably the back, possibly the front, maybe both, find the jack labled 'AUX IN' 'VIDEO IN' 'LINE IN' or something similar, unless you are using S-Video, in which case it will say something to the effect of 'S-VIDEO IN' or just 'S-VIDEO'.
Plug your signal cable (extension you made) into this.
On the front of the vcr, press the button than toggles the input between tv/video. You want it on video. You could also use your remote to go into the vcr menu, and set it to the appropriate setting. The TV might need to be on CH.3 for this.
If you are going straight to the TV, set it to LINE IN, GAME, or something similar.
Just keep messing around with the settings till you see whatever you see on your computer monitor.

those 2 identical plugs next to each other are the 'IN' plugs.. they are actually splitters.. the 1 on the left is for video, so i can have my nintendo(thats right, nintendo) and this thing hooked up at the same time.. i need to either turn off or unplug one to use the other. the other splitter is because i wanted to use both the stereo plugs from the nintendo, but my vcr only had mono. mono inputs I mean.. not mono like... mono.

Step 6: Finish It Up

This is the (fun) part where you start messing around with the buttons on the TView until you get a good picture on the TV.

Have fun, and I'll be happy to offer any help I can.

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    29 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Any alternative devices for people in the uk? I cant seem to source one. Thanks!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    There's TV tuner boxes that output to VGA or DVI.  Look on ebay; search for something like lcd monitor tv tuner.  They're pretty cheap, considering what they do.  They usually have VGA pass through so you can leave your computer connected, and inputs for a VCR or DVD player.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    or you could just get an EasyCap.. im not sure how much they go for, but its a USB stick with composite and s-video ins


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    there is an instructable floating around somewhere called How to use videogame consoles on your computer, or something to that effect.. i just remembered that


    10 years ago on Introduction

    is there some way that i can just directly solder the yellow wire from the rca bundle (combo red, white, yellow) directly into the pins of a vga plug, so that i can turn the video signal for my computer monitor? if so which pins?

    7 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    well if your computer has an s-video out, its really esay to find cables that change it from 4 pin s-video to 1 composite or 7 pin s-video to 3 composites


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    ok - i got that ur talking about the red, white, and yellow wires... rca...

    now maybe u can help me out here a bit.
    im trying hook my wii up to a computer monitor through vga --
    this thing i found on amazon (related to the link u gave me above)

    should hook it up, but the reviewers said something about the system broadcasting ann NTSC signal and the monitor wanting VGA signal...

    so cheapo way to fix that if u can -- please?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    no i meant compnent viedo (RGB) then theres the red and white also for audio. check out this site for help on the different types of video signals :
    what the reviewers said is right- tvs use either NTSC or PAL signals depending on where you are, and computers, monitors and projectors use VGA signal, which is from what i understand very close to component video.
    so, to my knowledge, no there is no way to do this.
    that is unless you dont mind running the wii throught the computer, in which case you should see the instructable i mentioned before : How to use videogame consoles on your computer.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    and theres also that easycap thingy someone here mentioned, but that just shows u the signal in a window on ur computer -- its not a converter can u give me the link for that instructable u mentioned in the end? i know which one ur talking about but i cant seem to find it anywhere... thanks