How to Connect an Xbox 360 to Your TV

Play your Xbox games on the big screen

What to Know

  • Xbox 360 and 360 S: Connect with HDMI or A/V cable. Connect to older TVs with Xbox VGA HD A/V cable.
  • Xbox 360 E: Connect with HDMI or composite A/V cable.
  • If using A/V cable, plug larger end into Xbox, and then match the cable colors with the TV port colors.

This article explains how to connect the appropriate cable from your TV to the Xbox 360, 360 S, or 360 E.

Decide What Type of Cable to Use

While the Xbox 360 S and the original Xbox 360 can use either A/V cables or HDMI to connect to a TV, the Xbox 360 E relies on composite A/V cables or HDMI. Check to see what your TV or monitor supports to determine which cable you need.

Illustration of Xbox 360 cable options

If you want to connect an Xbox 360 to an older TV that doesn't have an HDMI port, use the Xbox 360 VGA HD AV cable. If you have a TV with an HDMI port, use a standard HDMI cable to connect the console to the TV. Look at the back of the Xbox and the side or back of the TV to see what's needed.

Before getting started, place the Xbox 360 in an accessible and well-ventilated area that's free of dust. Too much dust can make the console overheat.

How to Connect the Cable From the Xbox 360 to the TV

Now it's time to connect the appropriate cable from the Xbox 360 to the TV.

Here's how to attach the different cables to the Xbox and the TV:

  • VGA HD AV: Plug the larger end into the Xbox and the other end (the VGA for video and the red/white cables for audio) into the TV. Match the red and white cables with the red and white ports on the TV.
  • HDMI: Connect both ends to HDMI ports on the Xbox and the TV. Both audio and video are carried on the same cable.
  • Composite AV: Attach the larger end to the Xbox and the other three cables to the matching colored ports on the TV.
  • Component HD AV: Connect the large plug to the Xbox, then match the red/green/blue video cables with the same port colors on the TV. Also, connect the red and white audio cables from the other set on that same cable. Then you need to set the switch on the A/V connector for your TV or monitor. Choose HDTV if the display supports a screen resolution of at least 480p, otherwise switch it to TV.
    On a high-definition TV, if the cable has a yellow RCA composite video connector, leave it disconnected. To connect to a standard TV, use only the yellow, red, and white connectors; don't use the other connectors.

Not all TVs look like the one pictured above. Older models have the A/V ports but not HDMI, and some newer ones might not have a VGA option.

The original Xbox 360 model has a combination component/composite cable with a switch to choose between the two. Later Xbox 360 models come with a composite cable. Some systems also come with an HDMI cable, which should be used if you have an HDTV, as it gives the best resolutions and picture quality.

Illustration of the HD/TV switch on an Xbox 360 cable

Power up the Xbox 360 and Test Your Connections

Once everything is hooked up, including the Xbox 360 power supply, turn on the console and TV and make sure the audio and video are working properly. If you don't see the Xbox 360 dashboard, check the connections and make sure they're in the right places. Also, make sure the TV is set to the correct input.

If this is the first time you're using the console, connect the controller and go through the on-screen setup process.


The Xbox has a slightly different set of directions for getting connected.

  1. For a wireless controller, hold the Guide button to turn it on. For a wired controller, plug it into a USB port.

  2. On the controller, press and release the Connect button.

  3. On the console, press and release the Connect button.

Once that's done, set up your player profile, choose HDTV settings if available, and sign up for the Xbox Network service.

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