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January 2018

Converting S-Video to Composite Video

I have a newer HD LED television that does NOT have an S-Video input jack! My old VCR and tapes are all S-VHS, so I need a schematic for building a converter for S-Video to Composite if I want to watch my old family movies. Please help!

Henry Vaden
Whitestone, NY


Henry, no need to build anything.  Just visit the following on-line retailers and purchase a ready-built convertor:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-SVID2COMP-S-Video-Composite-Adapter/dp/B0000BZ2WC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1514583833&sr=8-5&keywords=s+video+to+composite+adapter

Newark.com: http://www.newark.com/mcm/33-0004/s-video-to-composite-video-adapter/dp/43W7844

Frys.com: https://www.frys.com/product/4712139?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

Frys.com: https://www.frys.com/product/4301795?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

There are many, many more places that sell these convertors (do an internet search).  The above suggestions are My Preferred on-line A/V vendors.

These units plug directly into your S-video input (male plug), then use a composite cable from the RCA jack to your monitor's Yellow (composite) RCA input jack.

I've used these items before and they work very well! Do not expect "s-video" resolution from the composite input, but at least you'll be able to enjoy your S-VHS recordings.

Finally, consider getting a DVD Recorder like the Toshiba DVR430 (https://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-DR430-DVD-Recorder/dp/B0038JECKY).  This unit will DIRECTLY accept an S-Video input and stereo line-level inputs so you can transfer your S-VHS tapes to DVD (tapes eventually DO wear out! single-sided DVD record only!).  With the HDMI output, you can DIRECTLY connect it to an HDMI input of your LED TV and "pass through" your S-VHS tape programming to your TV through the recorder.  I have a similar unit (Toshiba DVR620KU - this unit also has a standard VHS recorder/player) and it works great for when I need to record broadcast programming.

Ken Simmons
Auburn, WA

VHS tapes deteriorate and fail. The machine is unlikely to be repairable due to parts availability and even replacing the machine is major dollars. For family videos, you really want to keep, I would suggest converting the tapes to a more modern format say DVD or a standard video file format.

Modern PCs have an HDMI port that connects to your TV. You can buy hardware you can use to convert them to PC format yourself or contract a service to do it for you. You can buy an S-Video to HDMI converter if you want to go that way. I will say that my HD TV had issues with playing the tapes due to slight variations in the timing signals from the tape which caused blackouts and breakups in the picture. You may have better luck with your TV.

East Hartford, Ct

You need a composite video, left audio and right audio to HDMI adapter. I believe S-video is composite video/audio basically as a digital TV of new would see it. Search eBay or Amazon for it. You’ll need cables with those names too.

Grand Rapids, MN

If you go to Wikipedia.org and look up S-Video, there is a simple schematic for an s-video to composit adapter.

Russell Kincaid
Milford, NH

S-video carries the luminance (B&W picture) and the chroma (color information) on separate wires as opposed to composite video which mixes them together to be carried by a single wire. There are fancier ways to combine the chroma and luma signals but often you can get acceptable results by simply tying them together, most of the inexpensive S-video to composite adapter cables do just that.

James Sweet
via email

No point in building at this price- As usual, eBay is your friend:


Larry Supremo
San Diego, CA

You can buy S-Video to Composite video adapters from amazon.com, walmart.com, newegg.com, monoprice.com, and brick and mortar places like Fry's Electronics, Best Buy and others. I've even seen one at Target.

You can get them as small adapters, boxes you have to plug cables into or even built into a cable, with a S-Video DIN receptacle on one end and an RCA plug at the other. Plug "S-Video to Composite video adapters" into google.com.

Stan S
West Hills, CA

Gary Manigian
Martinsville, NJ

S-Video (also known as Y/C), refers to a video signal where the two components of the television signal (the sync and “luma” or “Y” which can be thought of as the black-and-white portion of the television signal, and “chroma” or “C” which includes the color information of the television signal) are carried on separate conductors inside a common cable. This is done to improve the quality of the television signal compared to a composite signal where the two components are combined and carried on a signal conductor.

Simple S-video to Composite adapters exist that combine the Y and C signals together with some capacitance and maybe resistance added for coupling and level-matching. Being that the required components are so small, they are often packaged together in an S-video to Composite coupling adapter or a short cable.

They are widely available and quite affordable. Two sources:


If you want to build your own S-video to composite converter, the following is a good place to start.
Y-ground—+ +— RCA/composite ground C-ground—+ Y—+ +— RCA/composite video C—||—+ 470pF
Note that going in the reverse direction is more difficult — using the adapter to convert composite video to S-video will result in a viewable picture, but the quality will be reduced due to the adapters inability to cleanly separate the “Y” and “C” signals.

Todd Efaw
Emerald Coast, FL

Found this on the web that will convert the S-video to HDMI with decent reviews. May be less hassle buying then building. https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=9994

Steve Ghioto
Atlantic Beach, FL

The answer to your S-Video problem is one that is easy. Go to Amazon.com and look at these converters.

StarTech SVID2COMP 6-Inch S-Video to Composite Video Adapter Cable $2.06 each.

Electop 2 Pack S-Video Female to RCA Male Composite Video Adapter $6.59 (Prime) for a pair (very small device that I have used for years).

But your biggest worry is your S-Video machine. Start looking at the converters to put your tapes on your hard drive and a backup on a Thumb Drive for safe keeping, if your home movies are not replaceable.
Good Luck and a healthy New Year to you.

Dave Wreski
Conway, SC