RF Modulator With a DVD Player and TV

Get some use out of that old analog TV

You may have several DVD players scattered around the house. In addition to an HD or 4K Ultra HD TV, you may also have an older analog TV that only has an antenna/cable (RF) connection. Since DVD players don't have an RF output, you can't connect them directly to an analog TV that only has an antenna/cable RF input.

However, you can place an RF modulator between a DVD player (or another source component) that has composite and RCA style analog audio outputs and a TV that only has an antenna/cable (RF) input.

RF Modulator Example - GE 33621

How to Use an RF Modulator With a DVD Player

The RF modulator converts the DVD player signal to a channel 3 or 4 signal that the TV can receive.

Here's how to do it.

  1. Disconnect the current RF cable connection from the TV. Make sure that the TV is turned off and unplugged from AC power. This is a safety precaution.

    Disconnecting RF Cable from Television
  2. After isolating the TV from power, unplug the current cable/antenna connection from the TV, if such a cable is connected currently.

  3. Connect the coaxial cable to the RF modulator Ant/Cable in. Take the RF connection cable you disconnected from the TV (or use a new one if you didn't have one connected to the TV), and plug it into the cable/antenna input on the RF modulator.

    RF connection to RF Modulator
  4. Connect the AV cables to the DVD player. After the RF cable is connected to the RF input on the RF modulator, plug in a set of AV connections (yellow, red, and white) to the AV outputs of the DVD player.

    AV connections to DVD Player

    Before making any connections to the DVD player, unplug it from power.

  5. Connect the AV cables from the DVD player to the RF modulator. Take the other end of the AV cables you plugged into the DVD player, and connect them to the corresponding inputs on the RF modulator.

    AV connections from DVD player to RF Modulator
  6. Check the DVD player and RF modulator connection setup. Before proceeding further, take a look at the completed AV connections from the DVD player to the RF modulator and make sure everything is correct.

    DVD Player and RF modulator connection setup
  7. Connect the RF (TV) output of the RF modulator to the TV. If steps 1 through 5 check out, plug an RF coaxial cable from the RF modulator's TV output to the TV's RF cable/antenna input.

    RF Cable To RF Modulator and TV
  8. Power everything up. With everything connected, plug the TV and DVD player into AC power, then plug the RF modulator to AC power using its power adapter.

    RF Modulator - Front View

    After plugging in the RF modulator to power, take a look at the front of the RF modulator to make sure the RF indicator light is on. RF modulators typically don't have an on/off switch. Once plugged in, they should always be on.

  9. Insert the DVD into the DVD player. Turn on the TV and DVD player, then place a DVD into the DVD player.

    Insert DVD into DVD Player
  10. After loading a DVD, tune the TV to channel 3 or 4. It needs to match the RF modulator channel output selection. If you don't see a picture, check the Channel 3/4 switch on the back of the RF modulator.

    Television Set to Channel 3

    The RF modulator connection option doesn't provide the full DVD quality you would get if the DVD player were connected to a TV with AV, component, or HDMI inputs.

Your TV, DVD player, and RF modulator setup is now complete.

The RF modulator automatically detects the cable input for the TV. When you want to watch the DVD player, put the TV on channel 3 or 4, and turn the DVD on. The RF modulator automatically detects the DVD player and displays the movie.

You should also be able to see and operate the DVD player's setting menus and other features.

When you turn the DVD player off, the RF modulator automatically returns to normal TV viewing from the connected antenna or cable source.

Now that the DTV transition is in effect, your old analog TV may require a DTV converter box that goes between the antenna and RF modulator, instead of to the TV directly. However, if you only use the TV for watching DVDs, you don't need to connect an RF cable to the RF modulator's antenna/cable input.

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