RF Modulator With a DVD Player and TV

RF Modulator Example - GE 33621


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Connect Your DVD Player to an Old TV — Getting Started

Disconnecting RF Cable from Television

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

DVD has been with us over for over 20 years, and many of you have two, three, or even four players scattered around the house. In addition, although most homes now have HD or 4K Ultra HD TVs, you may still an older analog TV in use in the home that only has an antenna (RF) connection.

Unfortunately, if you want to use that old TV to connect a DVD player, camcorder, or another component that does not have an RF output, it looks like you are out of luck.

However, there is a solution. If you place an RF modulator between your DVD player (or other source components) that has composite and RCA style analog audio outputs, and your TV that only has an antenna (RF) input, the RF modulator will convert the signal coming from the DVD player, or other component to a channel 3 or 4 signal that the TV can receive.

The following is a step-by-step outline of how to connect a DVD player to a TV using an RF modulator.

Also, even though the DVD player option is illustrated, any source component that has composite video and analog audio outputs can be substituted.

Disconnect Current RF Cable Connection From Television

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your TV is turned off and unplugged from AC power. This is a general safety precaution.

After isolating the TV from power, the next thing you need to do unplug your current cable/antenna connection from your Television — if you have such a cable connected currently.

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Connect RF Coaxial Cable to RF Modulator Ant/Cable In

RF connection to RF Modulator

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

The next thing you need to do is to take the RF connection cable you just disconnected to 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.

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Connect AV Cables to DVD Player

AV connections to DVD Player

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

After you have an RF cable connected to RF input on the RF modulator, then plug in a set of AV Connections (Yellow, Red, White) to the AV Outputs of the DVD Player.

However, just as with the TV, before you do that, make sure that your DVD player is turned off and unplugged.

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Connect AV cables From DVD Player to RF Modulator

AV connections from DVD player to RF Modulator

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

The next step is to take the other end of the AV cables you just plugged into the DVD player and connection them to the corresponding inputs on the RF modulator.

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Check DVD Player and RF Modulator Connection Setup

DVD Player and RF modulator connection setup

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

After you have done all of the above steps — 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.

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Connect the RF (TV) Output of the RF Modulator to the TV

RF Cable To RF Modulator and TV

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

If steps 1 through 5 check out, then proceed to the next set. Plug in an RF coaxial cable from the RF modulator's TV output to your TV's RF cable/antenna input. This is the last connection.

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Power Everything Up

RF Modulator - Front View

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

With everything now connected, you can now plug your TV and DVD player back into AC power, and also now plug in the RF modulator to AC power as well using its power adapter.

After plugging in the RF modulator to power, take a look at the front of the RF Modulator the RF indicator light is on. RF modulators typically do not have an on/off switch — once plugging they should always be on.


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Insert DVD Into DVD Player

Insert DVD into DVD Player

Lifewire / Robert Silva​

Turn on your TV and DVD player, and place a DVD into the DVD Player.


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Tune TV to Channel 3 or 4 — Must Match RF Modulator Channel Output Selection

Television Set to Channel 3

Lifewire / Robert Silva

After loading your DVD, tune your TV to Channel 3 or 4. It needs to the match RF modulator channel output selection. If you are not getting a picture, check the Channel 3/4 switch on the back of the RF modulator.

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

The RF modulator will automatically detect your cable input for the TV. When you want to watch your DVD player, just put the TV on channel 3 or 4, turn the DVD on and the RF modulator will automatically detect the DVD player and will display your movie.

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

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

However, there is one additional thing to point out. Now that the DTV transition is in effect, your old analog TV may also require a DTV converter box that would have to go in-between your antenna and the RF modulator, instead of to the TV directly. However, if you are only using the TV for watching DVDs, you don't need to connect an RF cable to the RF modulator's ant/cable input.