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How to Hook Up a DVD Player to an Old TV

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 2/28/2010

Having an old TV at home does not mean you cannot have a great DVD experience. The connection is simple and does not require any investment. Inside is how to do it.

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    If you have already read Home Theater Cables and Connections, in which we go in detail about the various connection types available for any type of home theater component, you know the various connection types. Here, we will go over the possibilities.

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    Digital Connection? Forget About It.

    Forget about making any digital connection from your DVD player to your CRT TV. These old TVs, which have the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) technology, are analog TVs with no way to make a digital connection. At some point in your connection, you have to convert the digital signal from your DVD player to an analog one simply because the CRT TVs cannot “understand" the digital signals. However, this does not mean that the quality of the movies will be poor. You will enjoy movies as good as your TV can show them, but the connection type will be analog. That said, we eliminate all the digital connection possibilities and go with analog ones.

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    RCA to RCA and RCA to S-Video Connection

    RCA to S-Video Cable 

    If your TV has an RCA connection, you simply need an RCA cable to connect your DVD Player to your TV. The cable costs almost nothing; you can purchase an RCA cable for as low as USD $2.50 from Connect the yellow male to the yellow female, red male to red female and white male to white female on both your TV and DVD and you are done. There is no additional work. Change the input source from your TV's remote and enjoy your DVD.

    If your TV has only S-Video connection or for some reason you want to connect your DVD player to your TV's S-Video port, then you will need to use a cable that has male RCA connections at one end and S-Video on another. You can find such a cable around USD $20 at The only thing that you need to be careful about is the number of pins on your TV. If it has four pins, you have to buy an S-Video cable that has four pins. The rest of the connection is the same: plug the S-Video end to your TV and the yellow, red and white to your DVD player.

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    RCA to VGA Connection

    RCA to VGA 

    If you have a D-Sub (or VGA, which is another name for D-Sub) connection on your older TV, you can opt to use this connection and free up the other slots. Most modern TVs, CRT or rear-projection TVs have D-Sub connection. You can use this port to save the other connections for other devices, such as connecting your satellite box to your S-Video and your video camera to RCA. The cables for this connection can be found for as low as USD $7.00 from Before making a purchase, be careful with the D-Sub connection type on your TV: is it male or female? Almost all TVs have female connections, but it is wise to check before you buy.

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    With all the connections above, you will receive sound from your TV's speakers, which will be stereo. If you want to enjoy surround sound, then your only option is to upgrade your home theater system either with a receiver-surround speaker combination or with only surround speakers. You can check the user manual for your DVD player to find out if it can stream sound directly to the surround system.