How to Connect a Set Top DVR to Your SD Television

Start Recording Video in Minutes

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You just got your TiVO in the mail or you picked up a new Digital Video Recorder (DVR) from your cable company. How do you connect it to your TV? This article will focus on connecting a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to a Standard Definition Analog Television (not Digital).

Here's How

  1. You first need to determine what cables you need to make the connections. To connect the audio and video from the DVR to the TV, you will need either a composite (RCA) cable to connect the video and audio, an S-Video cable and an RCA audio cable or a component video cable and RCA audio cable. You can also use the RF input on the TV if it's an older model that doesn't have any other connections.
  1. If you are a Cable TV subscriber, you will need to attach the Coaxial cable coming in from the wall or floor to the RF input on the DVR. For Satellite subscribers, you will need to attach the cable coming from the satellite dish to the dish input on the DVR. Finally, for a plain old antenna you attach the signal coming from the antenna to the RF input on the DVR. Once the signal is input to the DVR, you're ready to output to the TV.
  2. Connect the RCA video (yellow) and RCA audio (white and red) cables to the corresponding outputs on the DVR. Then connect the RCA audio and video cables to the inputs on the TV. If the TV accepts S-Video or Component video inputs, use those for the video signal instead of the RCA video. If your TV is an older model, it may only have an RF input. If that is the case you can connect the DVR RF output to the RF input on the TV.
  3. Plug in the DVR (and TV, if necessary) to an electrical outlet and turn them both on.
  1. You will now need to tune to channel 3 or 4 on the TV set to determine which channel picks up the Cable, Satellite or Antenna signal.
  2. That's it! You're now ready to begin watching and recording TV shows with your DVR!


  1. If you have a choice between using S-Video or Component video cables, use Component. Component allows for a higher quality video signal.
  1. Even if you only have an older model TV, you can still connect a DVR by using a coaxial cable and connecting to the RF input on the TV from the RF output on the DVR.

What You Need

  • Audio/Video cables
  • Set Top Digital Video Recorder
  • Analog Television
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