Meanwhile, be entertained with an old setup I once used ... not exactly cutting edge.
Adaptor plugs like these are cheaply obtainable from most electronics stores

Y splitter for PC audio output 

This pre-fabricated audio cable changes a standard stereo mini-plug (left) into left & right audio jacks

A video adaptor cable with S-video plug at left going to separate male A/V plugs at right. Only the yellow video in plug is connected to the video in jack of a TV or video. 

Video/Audio selector box (front and rear) used to switch between PC audio and TV audio going into the stereo auxiliary jacks.

Sure you could spend $700 plus on the latest sound card, speakers and amp or even more on a new stereo, but if your on a budget like most of us,  it's possible to wire your entire house from your existing sound card (presuming you have one) for next to nix, with little technical knowledge and depending on your house, little effort. Here's how ...

Directly in the audio output socket of the PC sound card (the green hole) a Y adapter (about $2) is inserted providing 2 output jacks. In one is the lead to the computer speakers (from $20). In the other, a cable I made up runs under the floor to the auxiliary in sockets in the stereo in the lounge. It may be easier to run them through your roof space or around the edge of your carpet. The stereo acts as an amplifier, but you could do without one, running directly to speakers and controlling it all from your PC. Check the input sockets on you stereo to see what you need, then head for your favourite electronics store (Jay Car, Dick Smith's, Tandy etc.) You can buy made up cables and adaptors, but it is cheaper to by the connectors, some wire and make up your own, especially if you have a soldering iron. (TIP: when soldering, heat up the wire and connector, and apply the solder to them, not the tip of the soldering Iron. This will avoid a "dry" solder or brittle connection.)

I used to run a short cable from the Aux jacks at the rear of my stereo to the front for easy access, so I could swap the audio cables from the computer, with ones coming from the VCR. For about $30 you can buy a switch box [as pictured] to do the same job more conveniently. Depending on your requirements, another switch box with 4-6 outputs could control speakers in different rooms throughout your home. A more expensive way would be to wire volume controls into each room - not forgetting outside entertainment - a couple of speakers under the eaves near your preferred party area/garden/deck.

Hook your PC up to a television to watch movies from a DVD drive or .avi files.

To do this, a graphics card with video out is required. The best "bang for bucks" currently is a GeForce4 MX440 for around $100 which is also pretty good for gaming, however cheaper GeForce2's are now available with TV out for even less! These usually come with either a Composite Video or S Video out socket. It doesn't really matter, because your local electronics store should stock adaptors to suit. Once again, I made up my own cable, ran it under the floor into the back of an old VHS, as my current TV hasn't got a video-in socket. 
If you have a Nvidia graphics card, be sure to install the latest Detonator Drivers from their website.

Once hooked up, when booting up you're PC, you should see a clone of your desktop on your TV.

If your PC is already running, follow the instructions in your graphics card manual to "clone" your PC screen onto your TV - generally through your advanced display properties, accessible by right clicking on the desktop.

DVD drives for PC's have dropped down to less than $80. Using the "DivX codec" allows you to back-up your movie library to a compressed CD format, playable in a PC's CD drive using DivX player software. You can also back-up your CD collection to MP3 format for direct play from your PC, or store about 12 hours of music onto one CD. The best PC software for playing music is currently WinAmp, but Microsoft's latest version 8 of Media Player (still in Beta) looks set to topple it much like they did to Netscape and ICQ. Many of the latest in-car and personal CD players can now play music in MP3 format - check before purchasing. Audio, video and other files are also downloadable on the internet via applications like "Win MX".

* The Edge does not condone or encourage the breaching copyrighted material.
If you try something, like it and plan to keep it, support it's creator by purchasing a legitimate copy.

While the methods above did work for me, you are responsible for you own equipment and your own judgment. If you try any of the above, you do so at your own risk! Don't blame me - you have been warned.

2003 AB Design.

In cyberspace since 1997.
August 2011.

AB Creative Edge