Question Connect a laptop (VGA/HDMI ports) to an old 50s tv WITHOUT using adapters?

Dec 5, 2019
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First of all, let me apologize in advance because this might not be the correct place to ask this question, AND this is not a real problem I'm trying to solve. I write books as a hobby, and this question is "research" for a certain scene I want to write.

I would totally understand if you guys delete this and told me to go home and stop annoying you, but in case you don't, this is the situation:

This is a time travel story. The catalyst that makes the travel possible is a laptop. Main character needs to access a piece of software that allows him to do it.

Thing is, the story takes him to the 60s, and for one reason or another, the laptop gets run over by a car. The laptop itself still works, technically, but the screen gets completely destroyed.

So, as you might already guessed, I need the main character to either fix the screen or to find some obscure way to hook it to an old tv so that he can use it and go back to the present. I can make him mess around and create some way to get hold of any piece of technology of that era, but ideally he shouldn’t have to use any tool from the present.

Is there any way that this can work? Of course, it wouldn’t matter how ugly or unreliable the solution is, or for how long the “repair” lasts. He only needs it for a few seconds

Both options seem quite impossible to me, but I wanted to ask just in case. I'm not an expert in this kind of thing, at all.

Anyhow, thanks for any reply you can give me, and sorry again for bothering you guys with this. I do realize how silly it must look.

All the best,

Ed.
 

Dragos Manea

Admirable
If the notebook has VGA then this is an analog signal which old TVs work on it. Technically it is possible to adapt a VGA connection to an SCART connection but you must cut wires and route them to the correct pins. I dont know if the 60s TVs had a SCART connector. This is the only way that a notebook could work on an old TV.
 
Reactions: ed_writes
Dec 5, 2019
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Thank you so much for your answer. I've googled for a bit and I've found the SCART connectors weren't a thing until the 70's, so I might need to change a few things to make this work but I think I can use it.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
First of all, let me apologize in advance because this might not be the correct place to ask this question, AND this is not a real problem I'm trying to solve. I write books as a hobby, and this question is "research" for a certain scene I want to write.

I would totally understand if you guys delete this and told me to go home and stop annoying you, but in case you don't, this is the situation:

This is a time travel story. The catalyst that makes the travel possible is a laptop. Main character needs to access a piece of software that allows him to do it.

Thing is, the story takes him to the 60s, and for one reason or another, the laptop gets run over by a car. The laptop itself still works, technically, but the screen gets completely destroyed.

So, as you might already guessed, I need the main character to either fix the screen or to find some obscure way to hook it to an old tv so that he can use it and go back to the present. I can make him mess around and create some way to get hold of any piece of technology of that era, but ideally he shouldn’t have to use any tool from the present.

Is there any way that this can work? Of course, it wouldn’t matter how ugly or unreliable the solution is, or for how long the “repair” lasts. He only needs it for a few seconds

Both options seem quite impossible to me, but I wanted to ask just in case. I'm not an expert in this kind of thing, at all.

Anyhow, thanks for any reply you can give me, and sorry again for bothering you guys with this. I do realize how silly it must look.

All the best,

Ed.
So here is the thing, if it's fiction in some story, why does it matter how the guy technically does it? 80% of the stuff you see done on TV or Movies that is technical is made up. I think the fact that there is time travel involved is much more technologically fake than how to hook up a laptop to a TV. Just say "he moved some wires to some other wires and matched connections with a proton beam angular adjustment oscilloscope" or something.
 
Dec 5, 2019
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So here is the thing, if it's fiction in some story, why does it matter how the guy technically does it? 80% of the stuff you see done on TV or Movies that is technical is made up. I think the fact that there is time travel involved is much more technologically fake than how to hook up a laptop to a TV. Just say "he moved some wires to some other wires and matched connections with a proton beam angular adjustment oscilloscope" or something.
That's a fair point. You're absolutely right, but here's my perspective on the matter (and the perspective of a lot of people in the writing community): When you're writing something that deals with a known technical issue. You gotta try your hardest to get it right. It's an "immersion" or credibility issue.

If I tell you there's time travel, well, we aren't able to time travel at the moment, and even scientific theory says that it is extremely hard to achieve (or even impossible, when you talk about going to the past). So, since we're not able to do it in the real world, people are more willing to suspend disbelief and go along with the story.

If, on the other hand, I tell you that my guy is, for example, plugging a vga cable into an hdmi port, then the people who know how that works would stand up and say, "hey, that's bs! That's not how things work. This story is a bunch of crap."

Granted, the thing I'm asking is a lot more complicated than that example, and people would probably not notice if I make up some nonsense excuse for it to work, but still. I would like to get it right in case someone who actually knows his stuff reads it.

I could also just say "he moved a bunch of cables and made it work, voila!" but that's no fun to write or read. I'd like to try to go after the "oooh, that's clever" reaction, if possible.

I went on for longer than I wanted, sorry about that. xD hopefully that answers the question.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
That's a fair point. You're absolutely right, but here's my perspective on the matter (and the perspective of a lot of people in the writing community): When you're writing something that deals with a known technical issue. You gotta try your hardest to get it right. It's an "immersion" or credibility issue.

If I tell you there's time travel, well, we aren't able to time travel at the moment, and even scientific theory says that it is extremely hard to achieve (or even impossible, when you talk about going to the past). So, since we're not able to do it in the real world, people are more willing to suspend disbelief and go along with the story.

If, on the other hand, I tell you that my guy is, for example, plugging a vga cable into an hdmi port, then the people who know how that works would stand up and say, "hey, that's bs! That's not how things work. This story is a bunch of crap."

Granted, the thing I'm asking is a lot more complicated than that example, and people would probably not notice if I make up some nonsense excuse for it to work, but still. I would like to get it right in case someone who actually knows his stuff reads it.

I could also just say "he moved a bunch of cables and made it work, voila!" but that's no fun to write or read. I'd like to try to go after the "oooh, that's clever" reaction, if possible.

I went on for longer than I wanted, sorry about that. xD hopefully that answers the question.
If this guy made time travel possible using a laptop, it could also mean that he was able to customize the laptop video to run both analog and digital through the same port, as well being then able to wire it up to a TV input. Or if it's set in the future, there could be a new type of port or tech to convert video signals a lot easier than now. Say the guy was a big gamer but was annoyed that he could not run games on his old CRT, so he did a mod on the laptop before the trip to do both analog and digital outputs from the system. Then when he is actually in the 60s, he is all set. Keep in mind that the resolution of 60s TVs will be really poor and fuzzy, you won't be able to read any type of small font on it. Look at all the stuff crime dramas or spy shows do that people know can't be done, all those fancy holograms or magically zooming in on pictures to show detail when it's clear all you would see is a blob.
 

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