How to Connect a VCR to a TV

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Updated February 11, 2023

If you are setting up a retro-styled entertainment center, you may wonder how to connect VCR to a TV. The best TVs can still run VCR videotapes, after all, and you may have some old ones you want to check out. Fortunately, DVD player hookup to a TV is easy if you have the right cables and a bit of patience, especially if you’re not interested in connecting a VCR.

To connect a VCR to a TV, you need colored connectors for the input ports. The colored connectors should match up with the standard connectors on both devices. You may need additional adapters if your colored connectors do not fit into the input connectors of either device, but it’s important to ensure these are secure before using them. Once connected, you can watch old movies or even record new ones. It may take a bit of trial and error, but you can create a perfect retro-styled entertainment center.

So why use a VCR in the first place in this day and age, and how to get one connected to your TV? Keep reading to find out.


  • Connecting a VCR to a modern TV is not as difficult as it sounds, despite the differences in technology.
  • Most VCRs connect via component or composite cables, and even modern TVs typically feature one or both connection types. Look for a yellow cable, white plug and white port, S-video cable, audio cables, and more.
  • Connect the VCR to the TV using the preferred connection type and check for a good picture and audio signal.

Why Use a VCR?

The main reason to use a VCR is to watch old, or even new, videotapes. You can find great deals on old movies and TV shows at garage sales and flea markets, often as cheap as ten tapes for a dollar. This is retro technology and much different from when you are learning how to connect an external hard drive to a TV.

VCR products were the first of their kind, allowing you to watch movies and shows from VHS tapes. These products also had mono audio capabilities, allowing for a single sound output. As technology advanced, VCRs were replaced with DVD players and Blu-ray players, which offer enhanced picture and sound quality compared to VCRs.

Insider Tip

You may have to adjust the picture settings to get your modern TV to display old-school content in the correct way.

How to Connect a VCR to a Television

The steps here will depend on your available ports and connections, so they might vary, but this process should not be more complicated than, say, learning how to connect a TV to a receiver. Additionally, while you have your TV out, you can learn how to install TV safety straps. These will make sure the TV won’t fall or tip out of its cabinet and cause damage to furniture or people. They are especially helpful if you have rambunctious animals or small children.

STEP 1 Gather Your Materials

  1. Check out the back of your VCR and the back of your TV to see what cables you’ll need for a connection.
  2. Some VCRs use composite cables while others use component cables.
  3. Luckily, many modern TVs still have analog, composite, or component connection types.
  4. If your TV only has HDMI ports, you’ll have to look into adapter options.

STEP 2 Power Down and Connect

  1. Make sure your VCR and your television are powered down and, in some cases, unplugged from a power source before making any connections.
  2. Take your chosen cable and plug one end into the VCR and the other end into the television, securing it as needed.

STEP 3 Power On and Test

  1. Once connected, power on both devices and find your remote control or input panel on your TV.
  2. Select “Inputs” on your remote or TV and access whichever input the VCR was plugged into.
  3. Make sure the picture is decent and that the sound quality is on par, inserting a tape to do both.


What about the cables themselves?

You may have to shop for the appropriate cables to suit the type of signals delivered by a VCR. Look for a white plug, power cable, and cables for the audio channels for audio output.

What about recording with an old VCR?

You can record with an old VCR, though you may have to adjust some settings to make it happen. Still, it’s easier to do than with a DVD player.

How to connect a VHS and DVD player to a TV?

Some models include both a VHS player and a DVD player as a combo unit. The installation process should be similar as outlined above.

STAT: Analog TVs and VCRs can receive digital television (DTV) broadcast signals by using a “Digital-to-Analog Converter Box” that can be purchased at retail stores. (source)

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