Reusing an old Computer Monitor for DVD Playback

This year is computer upgrade year at home, and one of the first steps I undertook was to replace the 17” Philips CRT screen I have owned in the past few years (107S51) with an Acer 17” LCD (V173). Best screen I ever owned. The old Philips sat in the corner and gathered dust, until I decided I wanted a DVD player in my bedroom. But I didn’t have a suitable TV, as the one I have is too old to have video and audio inputs. Here was a chance to put the old Philips screen, which has years of life left in it, to work again. It’s a bit of a challenge with a computer-only display which only has a VGA input, but not insurmountable.


First thing is to change the composite video output on the DVD player into VGA. There are a couple of brands of adapters to do this readily available in NZ. Jaycar sell their XC-4873 at around $120 in their NZ stores. This one has all sorts of wizz-bang features, but its saving grace is that when power is applied at the wall, it goes straight into the composite to VGA conversion mode and doesn’t require any fiddling around. One thing I dislike about this model is the incredibly flimsy composite input adapter cable, which I would hate to break, as although it uses an “MMI” plug, typically seen on computer graphics cards, cables to connect to these seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth. A simpler alternative is the Cypress CM-396, commonly sold in NZ as the Dynamix VC100 for a similar price.

The next requirement is suitable speakers. Having used a number of different models of Logitech speakers over the years, including a set of X230s on my work computer, I chose the simpler and cheaper X210, the satellites of which are seen in the photo above. Compared to the X230, this model has only one driver in each satellite (instead of two), the sub is smaller and downward rather than side facing, the volume control is on the end of a 2 metre cable instead of being incorporated into the right satellite speaker, and there is no bass level control on the sub. Power output is also slightly lower at 25W RMS instead of 30W. Since I paid around $100 for the X230s, I figured that the cheaper price of around $70 for the X210s was an acceptable compromise. The speakers are nevertheless very good value with quite satisfactory sound quality for my taste.

Finally as can be seen above I had to make a shelf for the screen to sit above the DVD player. It would be reasonable to assume that the weight of a CRT screen could be a bit much for the DVD player to support. The shelf you can see is made simply out of 4×2 timber screwed together. Maybe I’ll get round to staining it one day, but for now it is plain. It also serves in this case to hang the satellite speakers on the front using their wall mount feature.

So all up it has cost about $200 to adapt the monitor to its new role. If you have sunk the cost of the monitor then it is cheaper than buying a new LCD TV, and I expect many happy hours of viewing to follow.