How to Connect a Cable Box, DVD Player, and VCR to an Old Analog TV

You can connect modern digital devices to old CRT TVs

Cable box

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Coaxial-only televisions don't always have AV inputs, which you need if you want to connect a digital cable box, VCR, or DVD player. Because DVD players don't have coaxial (RF) outputs, they can't be connected directly to a television that only has a coaxial (RF) input. The solution is to purchase an RF modulator, which is a small device that converts the AV output from the DVD player to coaxial (RF).

How to Connect a Cable Box, DVD Player, and VCR to an Old Analog TV

With an RF modulator, you can connect a cable box, DVD player, or VCR to an old TV coaxial-only television. Here's how to do it:

These instructions are the same if you are attempting to connect any combination of cable box, DVD player, and VCR. The unifying detail is the RF modulator, which is the hub through which all digital connections are made to an analog TV.

  1. Connect the coaxial cable from the wall to your digital cable box using the Video In port. It may be labeled Antenna In or Cable In.

  2. Run the composite (yellow video cable) and stereo (red and white) RCA cables from the cable box to the Video In terminal on your VCR.

  3. Connect the VCR to the RF Modulator: Run a coaxial cable from the Video Out port on the VCR to one of the In ports on the RF modulator.

  4. Connect the DVD player to the RF Modulator: Run the yellow, red, and white composite RCA cables from the Video Out port on the DVD player to another port on the RF modulator.

  5. Connect the RF modulator to your TV with a coaxial cable. Run it from the Video Out port on the RF modulator to the Video In or Cable In or Antenna In port on your television.