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Connecting your computer to your TV and stereo

This Christmas I installed a computer-TV video link to watch movies in the living room and display holiday snaps while not in use. The setup cost me in total after AV sender and all cables/joiners $100 with about an hour spent to set the antenaes correctly. Here’s the drill-down!

Device/connectors required:

  • 1 x AV (audio/video) sender/receiver
    Typically this device operates on the 2.4ghz range or higher with a 30m clear line of site range, the device should allow for adjustable channels. The inputs and outputs of sender/reciever should be standard RCA connections. A directional antenae is ideal though not required. This device should cost $50-80, results from eBay Australia.
  • 1 x spare component input on your TV
    Behind your TV you will need a spare component input, this will link the sender to your TV. The connections are commonly in yellow, white and red respectively. Game consoles, DVD players and some VCR’s are plugged into the same connections so an electronic store may be able to help you if you’ve used all of your connections.

  • 1 x S-Video output from your computer graphics card
    Recent computer graphics card commonly come as standard with an S-Video connector. If not, find an electronics store that stocks computer hardware as they will be able to help you. This connector once linked to the TV will send anything on your computer screen to the TV.

Video cable required:

  • 1 x male S-Video-female RCA cable
    This cable will convert the computer video signal into an RCA format for use with our receiver and should come in a length of 1m. This cable is not commonly provided with the receiver so an electronic store can help you out.

Sound cables/joiners required:

  • 2 x male-male RCA-RCA cables
    These cables should come provided with the AV sender/receiver in lengths of 1m, if not, DSE (Dick Smith Electronics) or Tandy in Australia can help you out. These two cables run between the sender and the join of the computer as well as the reciever and TV component input.
  • 1 x female-female RCA-RCA joiner
    This small plug will join the receiver side RCA cable so we can set the cable up to connect to the computer sound card. Again, an electronic store can help you out.
  • 1 x male RCA-3.5mm stereo jack cable
    This cable will join the RCA joiner into the computer sound card so our reciever can broadcast with the correct cable format. DSE or Tandy can help you out.
  • (optional) 1 x 3.5mm stereo jack male-double 3.5mm mono jack female
    This cable splits the 3.5mm stereo jack signal from the computer into two mono 3.5mm mono jack signals. You will lose the stereo signal as well as strength of the signal on the TV but will still be able to use your computer speakers when you’re not using the TV. It’s a compromise which I was willing to take, an electronics store may be able to suggest a device that keeps the stereo signal intact.

Distance, quality of signal and interference

The picture and sound quality broadcasted to the television depends on the distance between sender/receiever as well as any obstacles inbetween. A plaster wall between the pair will reduce the effective range – that is the distance where the signal quality is acceptable – just as a bathroom will likely damage the signal quality due to conductive piping causing interference.

Note: Any conductive objects near or between the sender/receiever will lower the signal quality

As many audio/video setups operate on the 2.4Ghz frequency they will be affected by kitchen microwave applications that also use this frequency, there is no popular solution to this issue. If you have a wireless computer network in place you may find the devices in conflict with one another, to resolve this you can adjust which channel the sender/receiver uses, worth mentioning the channel can also be adjusted on the wireless access point.

Note: Most sender/receivers have a series of switches underneath that allow you to change the channel which the devices operate on

Post any questions, results or findings!

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