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playing computer music through my home stereo

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
i am ready to purchase a new home computer, basic home computing, nothing on steroids.

i would like to be able to play the music stored on my computer (playlists, i-tunes etc) through my home stereo receiver. i understand that input to the home receiver will be done via standard RCA hookup like any other component but what output device/configuration will i need at the back of my computer?

additionally i would like to perform the same function with small home video files (short clips from a digital camera etc.) after download to the computer run them through the TV. what output device/configuration will i need at the back of my computer?

i realize that this can be done with adapters for the ipod etc. but aside of that i was looking for a more a more "accessible anytime" configuration not dependent on a docking station.

thank you in advance for your help
post #2 of 12
If you want the best quality, get a computer or video card with an HDMI (or DisplayPort) connection, not RCA. Modern video cards with HDMI connections provide both audio and video through those connections. HDMI normally requires the computer to be relatively close to the receiver (6-12 ft), though, because problems are often introduced by longer cables.

If you want to use analog RCA connections for both audio and video (because of distance or expense) you have to make sure that the computer or video card includes a composite video output (yellow RCA) and that the computer or audio card includes line-level audio outputs (red & white RCA).

If you want multichannel digital surround-sound, you'll need an audio card which includes either a coax S/PDIF connection (looks like RCA but isn't) or optical TosLink connection. HDMI is better, though. It supports more channels and higher resolution audio.
post #3 of 12
There are many A/V receivers that are network capable (such as the Onkyo HT-S7400 and above) through which you can stream your music files directly from your harddrive. If they're on an external harddrive, you don't even have to have your computer turned on.

If you had DirecTV, you can play music, JPEG, and video files through the receiver.
post #4 of 12
what else do you have in your "home receiver" room?? PS3, WDTV, etc... ?? Is anything else network-able too (TV, receiver...)?
post #5 of 12
I use logitech streaming equipment for audio.
I have recently been bowled over with how well WindowsMediaCenter works on my desktop and communicates thru my XBox (as an extender) and streams media/video files into my HD TV. WMC immediately found all my films and home videos and even audio files and plays thru the TV so easily.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks guys
at the moment my home audio equipment is older generation w/o any hdmi/streaming capability etc.

as far as the computer goes--
are RCA jacks or hdmi outputs standard on sound cards these days? if not could i achieve the same result by using the computer speaker output 3.5mm jack in conjunction with a RCA splitter/adapter?
post #7 of 12
"Playing computer music" sounds like back in the ole day of Mario Brothers where a computer could only make single-tone noises.

Forward to 2012, all computers sold these days have sound built-in, some even have built-in surround mode. People buy separate sound cards because they are, well, want the latest&greatest. For your old amplifier, you may just wanto use the built-in see how u like it, may not need to purchase a separate sound card. RCA or 3.5mm output jacks guaranteed.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks bobb

i was on line now looking for the new computer, some fair deals for M-day.
i am most likely going to end up as you had described (3.5mm jacks to RCA adapters) as i see all "basic" computers have the integrated sound. as far as video i thought HDMI was standard but i see it is only on the upgrade video card.
post #9 of 12
What inputs does your receiver have? If HDMI then definitely go that route, most motherboards have an HDMI out on them, if Optical you'll use an optical cable from PC to Receiver and HDMI to TV.

PS I have a 50 ft. HDMI cable hooked to my TV with no issues.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
i just purchased a basic dell i3 / 1TB on sale for $409
the sound is integrated 5.1 and the V-card has no hdmi.

as far as audio goes i will go 3.5mm to RCA adapters to the aux on my old/not current home audio receiver (correct?)

as far as the video goes i will have to figure that one out, any ideas?
again the TV is an older/ancient unit with no hdmi, just RCA plugs.
all i would like to do is view an occasional video shot from my camera, nothing major.
post #11 of 12
Well everybody seems to be pushing you toward HDMI but of course you are not near HDMI-ready, so.....

First order of business: What resolution are the videos coming from your camera? This will dictate what kind of video computer-to-TV connection is required.

Then, List computer video output(s), and TV video input(s) available. Don't say RCA. We need something more specific like VGA, composite, DVI, SVIDEO etc-etc-etc.

VGA - a 15-pins "D" connector
DVI - a 24-pins "D" connector
SVIDEO - a DIN connector, usually 4 pins
Composite - a single RCA, usually yellow connector
Component - 3 RCA connectors usually Red-Green-Blue.
post #12 of 12

You say you have an old TV with only RCA video input. Most likely it has only a composite video input (yellow RCA). If your new computer doesn't have a composite video output (yellow RCA), then you'll need to get either a video card with a composite video output or a VGA-to-composite converter. You'll probably need to spend about $50 in either case.

If your TV was relatively expensive when it was bought, it might have component video inputs (blue, green & red RCAs for YPrPb video; not to be confused with RGB video -- that normally uses a VGA connector). You'll need to spend about $50 for a VGA-to-component converter. Video cards with component video outputs are rare.

Edited to add: in either case, you'll be buying a box maybe 2x3x1 inches on a side. You'll need appropriate cables in addition to the box.
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