Sound Advice: Older game systems often don't connect

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2011 - 6:34 AM

Many older video-game systems don't have proper connections for modern TVs. AV expert Don Lindich explains how to get them to work with modern home-theater setups.

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Sony Playstation 2

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Q I recently bought a Samsung HDTV that you recommended. With my PlayStation 2 hooked up, I get sound with a black-and-white picture. I am using the regular red-white-yellow cable that came with the PS2. What do I need to get a color picture?

A Your TV does not have the composite (yellow) connection necessary for a color picture with the yellow cable. You need to use the red-green-blue component video connections. PS2 component-video cables with red-white stereo audio cables are available for $4 to $20. Using this cable will give you a color image that is sharper, too.

Many older video-game systems don't have proper connections for modern TVs. If you can't get a component cable for a particular system, run the video signal through your audio-video receiver if it has video upscaling. The receiver will convert the signal to a digital HDMI signal that will work with your television.

Be sure to connect the audio cables so the sound will come from your sound system's speakers, not the TV. In the case of a PlayStation 2, an optical digital audio cable can be used for better quality.

System of the week

Most of my recommended systems have been modestly priced. This week's is for those who expressed an interest in spending more for something special. It's still not expensive for what you get, and its performance is near state-of-the-art.

The new Panasonic TC-P55ST30 3-D plasma HDTV sells for $1,515. It uses the industry's best technology to provide a big, beautiful 55-inch picture with 3-D as icing on the cake. The memory card slot displays pictures and plays movies from your digital camera or camcorder, also in high-def. It's an absolute knockout in every way, but especially in value.

For sound, Definitive Technology's new BP-8020ST bipolar SuperTower speakers (www.tinyurl.com/3m9cmff) realistically portray the most dramatic action movie as well as capture all the subtlety and nuance of chamber music. Built-in powered subwoofers mean simpler placement, big bass impact and modest receiver power requirements. The complete 5.1-channel BP-8020ST system is available for $2,199. I don't know of a better home-theater speaker system at the price.

Onkyo's TX-SR609 receiver (www.onkyousa.com) sells for $499. It is 3-D-compatible and offers ample clean power for the Definitive speakers.

Sony's PlayStation 3 is still one of the best Blu-ray players you can buy. It can stream Internet content, it is 3-D-capable, and it plays high-def video games.

A primitive HDTV cost $4,000 not all that long ago. Now it gets you a beautiful TV, spectacular sound and 3-D movies and gaming.

Submit questions and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.

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