Will an LCD TV Work With My Old VCR?

Shared Composite/Component Video Input Connection Illustration
Photo of Shared Composite/Component Video and Analog Audio Input Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com


Will an LCD or LED/LCD TV Work With My Old VCR?


Any LCD TV (and that includes LED/LCD TVs - whether 720p,1080p, or even 4K) made for consumer use will work with any existing video source device that provides standard composite or component video output, and for audio, standard analog RCA-style stereo outputs. This definitely includes all VCRs (BETA or VHS).

However, it is important to note that an increasing number of LCD TVs are now combining composite and component video into a shared input connection, which means that you may not be able to connect both a composite and component video input source (with associated audio connection) into some TVs at the same time.

Also, if you have an S-VHS VCR with has S-Video connections. Some "older' LCD TVs may also accept S-video signals, but on an increasing number of newer sets the S-video connection option has been eliminated.

Also, as time goes on, component, and maybe even composite video connections may be discontinued. For more on this, read my article: AV Connections That Are Disappearing.

You Can Connect Your VCR To Your New TV, But....

However, being able to connect your old VCR to LCD TV is one thing, the quality of what you see on the screen is another. Since VHS recordings are of such low resolution and have poor color consistency, they will definitely not look as good on a larger LCD screen TV as they would on a smaller 27-inch analog television. The image will look soft, color bleeding and video noise will be noticeable, and edges might look overly harsh.

In addition, if the VHS source is especially poor (as a result of recordings made in the VHS EP mode, or camcorder footage originally shot in poor lighting conditions), the LCD TV miht exhibit more motion lag artifacts than it would with high quality video input sources.

HDMI Is Now The Standard

For both video and audio via wired connection, All LCD TVs now provide HDMI as their main input connection option (for both video and audio). This is to accommodate the increasing number of high definition sources (and now 4K sources). For example, most DVD player players have HDMI outputs, and all Blu-ray Disc players made since 2013 only offer HDMI as their video connection option.

Most cable/satellite boxes also have HDMI output connections.

However, you can connect also connect a DVI-HDCP source (available on some DVD players or cable/satellite boxes) using a DVI-to-HDMI adapter plug or cable. If using the DVI connection option, and audio connection between your source and TV must be made separately

Most LCD TVs, due to their thin, flat panel design, usually provide some side-mounted connections, making the attachment your other components and cable or satellite TV box much easier.