Your home’s internet has been out for a few days and you’ve finally given up on streaming any online content. Then, you suddenly remember your old DVD player sitting in the garage. You still have a few DVDs lying around the house, so you decide to hook your DVD player up to your monitor.
However, you notice that the DVD player is RCA-compatible while the monitor features a VGA port. RCA to VGA cables can not convert these connectors’ different video signals, so how can you convert one to the other?
Don’t worry. It’s easier than it sounds and all you’ll need is a simple converter.
Let’s get started!
How to Convert VGA to RCA
While VGA and RCA are both legacy connections, the way they transmit audio and/or video signals is very different.
VGA, or Video Graphics Array, transmits RGBHV video signals made of red, green, blue, horizontal, and vertical video signals.
Meanwhile, RCA transmits YPbPr video signals, which derive from converted RBG (red, green, and blue) signals.
The “Y” in YPbPr refers to the sum of red, blue, and green video signals, while the “Pb” refers to the difference between Blue and Y (i.e. Pb = B – Y). Finally, “Pr” represents the difference between Red and Y (i.e. Pr = R – Y).
VGA and RCA cables’ differences don’t end at their connectors as they transmit different video signals. So, using a simple VGA to RCA cable to convert one video signal type to the other would be impossible.
A quick search on websites like Amazon will reveal several VGA to RCA cables. However, each one of these cables will have a notice clearly stating that VGA to RCA cables cannot convert VGA video signals to RCA video signals.
Instead, you must use a dedicated VGA to RCA converter to convert a VGA signal to an RCA signal.
How to Use the VGA to RCA Converter
Nowadays, you’ll most commonly need to convert VGA to RCA if you’re trying to connect a laptop/computer to an old VGA-incompatible TV.
Follow the instructions below to connect your VGA-compatible device to an RCA display.
Step 1: Connect the VGA to RCA converter to power with the provided power adapter.
Step 2: Plug one side of a VGA cable into your laptop/computer’s VGA OUT port and the other end into the converter’s VGA IN port.
Step 3: Then, connect one end of an AUX 3.5mm cable to your laptop/computer’s AUDIO OUT port and the other end to the converter’s AUDIO IN port.
Step 4: Finally, plug one end of the RCA cables into the converter’s RCA OUT port and the other end into your TV’s RCA IN port, matching the cables’ colors to the TV ports’.
Step 5: Switch your TV’s Input to AV if needed.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to convert VGA to RCA.
How to Convert RCA to VGA
As is the case with VGA to RCA conversions, you can not convert RCA signals to VGA signals using a simple RCA to VGA cable.
So, you must use an RCA to VGA converter to connect your RCA-compatible output source to a VGA-compatible display.
How to Use the RCA to VGA Converter
RCA to VGA converters are often used to connect an older DVD player or TV set-top box to a monitor.
Since many monitors do not have built-in speakers, you may need to connect the converter to external speakers.
Step 1: Plug the RCA to VGA converter’s power cable into a wall outlet.
Step 2: Connect one side of the RCA cables to the DVD player’s RCA OUTPUT ports. Then, connect the other side to the RCA to VGA converter’s RCA INPUT ports.
Step 3: Now, connect one end of a VGA cable to the RCA to VGA converter’s VGA OUTPUT port, tightly screwing it in place before connecting to the other end to your monitor’s VGA INPUT port.
Step 4: Plug one side of an AUX 3.5mm cable into the RCA to VGA converter’s AUDIO OUTPUT port and then connect the other end to your external speaker’s AUDIO INPUT port.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to connect an RCA-compatible device to a VGA-compatible display.
Wrapping Things Up
While you can find RCA to VGA cables for sale online, you can not use them to convert RCA to VGA and vice versa. Remember, RCA and VGA use two different video signals, so you must use a separate converter.
This converter will convert one connector’s video signals to the other’s, allowing you to see them on your display.
When using these converters, don’t forget to connect them to power, as they will not work otherwise.
What’s your experience converting VGA to RCA?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.