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