How to Convert RCA Plugs to USB

Written by nathan mcginty
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The RCA connector, named after the Radio Corporation of America, was introduced in the 1940s as a way to quickly and easily connect RCA equipment to each other. It quickly became an industry standard, and eventually made its way into the audio/visual arena where it was also used to carry video signals. The Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard was established to allow computers and peripherals to work with each other. Using an inexpensive RCA to USB converter, it is simple to convert RCA plugs to USB for use on your computer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • RCA-to-USB converter
  • Barrel connectors
  • Computer
  • A/V device with RCA outputs

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  1. 1

    Determine exactly what you need to convert. In A/V installations, A/V plugs can carry both audio and video. What's more, that audio can be stereo or mono. The RCA plugs are usually colour coded. Yellow represents video; white, mono; red and white for stereo. Your installation might have one, two or all three plugs.

  2. 2

    Purchase an RCA-to-USB converter with the right amount of RCA inputs for your needs. A number of online stores sell RCA-to-USB converters with one, two or three RCA inputs(see link in Resources).

  3. 3

    Purchase barrel connectors, if needed. For example, to connect two male RCA cables or two female RCA cables, you will need barrel connectors.

  4. 4

    Plug the RCA converter into the plugs on your A/V device. Install the barrel connectors if they are necessary. Plug the USB interface into your computer.

  5. 5

    Use your favourite video or audio capture software to test your USB connection.

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