How To Connect RCA Cables to a Computer

RCA cables are a standard in connecting audio-visual appliances. Also called component cables, these are analog connectors that are split into yellow, red and white. The yellow usually carries the video signal, while the remaining two jacks carry the audio (although color coding is usually done just for convenience, and there are really no technical differences among the cables).

You might find the need to connect RCA cables to a computer, for a variety of reasons and needs. For example, you might want to connect your computer to a stereo component, sound system or home theater system. Most of these use RCA jacks for inputting audio. However, you might also need to input video into your computer, such as for video editing. If you need to input analog video into your computer, such as for video editing.

What you need

  • RCA cables. You will need RCA to RCA cables, but you can also use 3.5 mm jack, if you will only need to connect audio from your computer to an external sound system.
  • TV tuner, if you want to input content to your computer using analog equipment.

How to do it

  • If you will be outputting audio from your computer  using RCA jacks, you can do so simply by plugging in an adaptor cord into your speaker port.
  • Connect the 3.5 mm TRS jack onto the speaker port of your computer. This should have RCA jacks on the other end. At the other end, you will need to plug in the RCA jacks to the appropriate device, such as a home theater or stereo component system.
  • If you want to input videos into your computer, you will need a compatible TV tuner. While most modern camcorders will let you connect to your computer using USB or Firewire, old-fashioned cameras and VCRs will only output analog video.
  • Acquire a compatible TV tuner and install this on your computer. Some TV tuners are internal, meaning they are plugged into a slot on your motherboard. Some will be external, and can be plugged into a USB slot.
  • If you are using a TV tuner, choose one with analog or RCA inputs. Get a cable with RCA composite on both ends.
  • Connect the RCA cables into your computer’s TV tuner. Be sure to match the colors of the plug with the colors of the sockets. Yellow is for video, while the red and white are for audio.
  • You will need to run software for saving and editing video from your analog source. Some examples of notable movie editors are Adobe Premiere Pro and Corel video Studio.

Connecting your computer to analog devices can be a great way to capture content from old devices, such as old cameras and HiFi component systems. You will find a multitude of tips on how your clutter can take over your environment. However, given the right equipment and circumstances, you should be able to clean up and set-up your computer with your computer.


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