Laptops that can double as entertainment center?

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Folks, my wife requires a decent laptop for business purposes. As an aside,
we also want to visit a remote cabin occassionally and would like to be able
to use the laptop as a dvd player.   We'd want to hook a video output to a
full-sized TV, and the audio output to the AUX imput on a stereo system.

I've been watching lots of used laptops in the local marketplace, but I'm
not sure what specs I need to focus on to ensure the laptop will "talk" to a
TV and stereo.  I assume it needs a (non RGB) dedicated video out or s-video
out for video.  Do some laptops come with RCA style outputs for audio, or do
I have to try and split the signal from a headphone output?

Thanks for any hints

Re: Laptops that can double as entertainment center?

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Yup, you've got it right.  An S-Video output will be easier to find on a
laptop.  It is easy to find S-Video to Composite adapters quite cheaply.  
(I've got several that came for free with desktop video cards).  And  
1/8" stereo-minijack-to-RCA adapters cost about $5 at Radio Shack.

I've never heard of a laptop with audio RCA outputs.  The 1/8" mini-jack
is pretty much the same thing in a different form factor.  If you want
to go high-end (Dolby Digital for instance) then Creative sells a laptop
Audigy that fits in a PCMCIA slot.

But really, with brand-name DVD players for under $50 at Best Buy, I
don't know if it's really worth the trouble of hooking it up every time.

Re: Laptops that can double as entertainment center?


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No, $20.  They are giving it away if you open a bank account and they
don't care if you cancel it the next day!

If u want a laptop for other reasons. I dunno about the s-video out
quality of notebooks, they used to be terrible.  Much better if your
cabin TV accepts VGA.

Get a laptop with built-in dolby 5.1, not many used ones have this new

Re: Laptops that can double as entertainment center?

Gwood wrote:
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Go with an IBM T-series..  you can find a LOT of T20's 21's and 22's on eBay
cheap (less than $500).  There are 700mhz T20's for $300, 800MHz T21's for $350
and 900MHz T22's for $450.  the difference between prices is for the amount of
RAM and HD size..  Load up the HD with .mp3's and listen to the Chiffons, Grass
Roots, Neil Diamond, or Journey while you work.  The IBM's hold up well, are
easy to work on and have great support backing.

S-video out supporting TV output, terrific sound, and 14" screen so you can
watch DVD's anywhere.  With built-in ethernet(wirelss available too) and 56K
modem, it's an cinch to get online for email or surfing.  Battery life typically
is 2+ hours so you can easily make it thru a movie.  I have a 1ghz T23 as my own
machine.  I picked up a 700mhz T20 for $220 that just needed a HD.  Had a 40GB
on hand.  I stuck a 900mhz cpu in it and it's running XP Home just fine.  1"
thin, 4lbs, it's a beauty...

Good luck,

TJ. (Dr. VonThinkenpad)

Re: Laptops that can double as entertainment center?

All modern laptops can serve as a DVD player using the latpop screen.
All have headphone jacks, which addresses the audio issue (you will need
a suitable cable, available at radio shack).  The only issue left,
really, is that you need a video out.  Most laptops have that, but not
all.  However, that's all that you need, and it's not difficult to find.
  Some laptops with video out use a cable that has both video and audio
out (with the usual red / white / yellow RCA plugs).

Gwood wrote:
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