Columbia ISA
Audio – Video

HELP, How do I connect my DVD Player or VCR to my TV?

How you connect will depend on which outputs are available on your DVD or VCR and which inputs are available on your TV.

How to connect VCR to Smart TV

Switch TV source input to ANTENNA and select channel 3 or 4. A channel scan may be required. If the above hookup does not work, try using an adapter which has RCA cables (3) inputs and one HDMI output for connection to the TV HDMI input.

Smart TV with only HDMI inputs - use an adapter with RCA IN and HDMI OUT which connects to TV HDMI inputs.

RCA to HDMI adapter


COMPOSITE : Yellow Video and White and Red Audio

The older TVs may not have HDMI inputs and the older DVD players may not have HDMI output. VCRs only have composite video output (yellow) so you may need to get an adapter to connect to a newer TV.

VCR - How To Connect To TV

VCRs use RCA cables to connect to a TV, yellow video and white and red audio cables. If your TV only has HDMI inputs, then use a RCA to HDMI adapter. If your TV only has a 3.5mm AV input, then use a RCA adapter cable with yellow, white and red female and 3.5mm male plug.

Connect the yellow video cable from VCR yellow video OUT to TV yellow video IN. Connect the white audio cable from the VCR white audio OUT to TV white audio IN. If your VCR is stereo, it will have red audio ports. Connect the red audio cable from the VCR red audio OUT to the TV red audio IN. Select on the TV, the source input that the VCR is connected to, such as VIDEO 4 for example. Play a VHS tape on the VCR and view on TV.

The newer DVD players or combo units (VCR and DVD in one device) may have HDMI output so you can connect using an HDMI cable to the TV HDMI input. Remember to select the correct input on the TV.

DVD Player connect to TV  

DVD Player Rear Panel Ports

HDMI Cable

HDMI is more complex but offers video and audio in a single cable. VCRs do not have HDMI or component video connections.

The DVD player should use HDMI or component video cable connections but can use composite video. DVD has higher video resolution than VHS so to get better video, a better connection is used. You can use HDMI or component video or composite video depending on which input ports your TV has available. HDMI is the best video quality, then component (green, blue, red), then composite video (yellow).

3 Component video cables with 2 analog audio cables

Component video has 3 video(green, blue, red) and 2 audio(white, red) cable connections.

Newer TV rear panel

As video resolutions improve, the HDMI connections are required and the older video connections are not available.

DVD connection to TV with HDMI cable

Always be sure to select the correct TV input source using the TV remote. (The input on the TV where the DVD is connected such as HDMI 2)

Older TV rear panel

The older video and audio ports are available on some TVs from years ago.

How do I connect my VCR and DVD player to my TV which has only one component video input and two HDMI inputs?

Connect the DVD player to the TV using component video/audio connections, 5 RCA cables, from DVD player outputs to the TV 5 RCA cable inputs, (green, blue, red) video and (white, red) audio. Connect the VCR to TV using a RCA to HDMI adapter (yellow, white, red) RCA in and HDMI cable out to the TV HDMI input. Select the HDMI input for VCR viewing and the component input for DVD viewing.

HDMI Switch

If you have more devices with HDMI connections than your TV has HDMI inputs, you can use an HDMI switch with multiple HDMI inputs and one HDMI output to connect to the TV.

HDMI Switch 5 In 1 Out

HDMI Switch SGEYR 5x1 HDMI Switcher 5 in 1 Out HDMI Switch Selector 5 Port Box with IR Remote Control

Some TVs have component video inputs which will also accept the yellow video cable into the green input port. These green input ports will have a yellow ring designating that they accept a yellow composite input video cable. So you could connect a VCR using yellow video and white and red audio to these ports. Use the white and red audio cables.

Select the correct source on the TV.

A VCR will usually connect using yellow video and white and red audio cables while a DVD will usually connect using HDMI or component video.

Some newer TVs use a single audio video input for composite video and audio so you can connect a VCR or other older devices. Use an adapter cable which connects yellow, white and red RCA cables.

Adapter to connect DVD player to TV when TV only has HDMI inputs and DVD player has no HDMI output.

Component video to HDMI Converter - This Component to HDMI Adapter converts analog YPbPr video and R/L audio input signals into HDMI output.

RCA to HDMI Converter: Converts analog RCA composite (Yellow, White, Red) input to HDMI 720P/1080P (60HZ) output,displayed on HDTV.

HDMI Cable


DVD can have surround sound so if you want more immersive sound, connect an optical audio cable to a soundbar or audio video receiver.

You can also use HDMI and in fact HDMI is required for the latest audio formats.

Select the correct input on the soundbar or AVR.

Connection diagram for DVD using HDMI to soundbar or AVR and to flat screen TV with HDMI. For the latest audio formats you need a capable soundbar or AVR that decodes them such as Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus.

A soundbar or Audio Video Receiver with multiple loudspeakers can add enhanced sound from the DVD. Using HDMI cable connections, the surround sound goes from DVD to decoder/processor in soundbar or AVR and then to speakers while video is sent to the TV. The TV can send audio out to the soundbar or AVR using the ARC/eARC (Audio Return Channel) HDMI port.

Most DVD players do not have RF outputs although combo vcr/dvd units do. DVD players typically provide composite video, S-video, component video and HDMI output. You need to use your TV's audio/video inputs to connect the cables coming from the DVD player's audio/video outputs. When connected, switch your TV to the proper video source input to watch a DVD movie. 

If you only have one audio/video input on your TV, and it is already used, you may need an audio/video switch box.

If your TV does not have audio/video inputs you may have to use an RF modulator that converts the line level video signals into RF signals that you can then view on channel 3 or 4 of your TV. If you only have one RF input on your TV then you will need an A/B switch also. This will allow both RF devices to share the single TV input. Some DVD specific RF modulators have a built in A/B Switch to auto-switch.

DVD VCR TV Hookup Diagram

See DVD player - How to connect

How do I connect my VCR?

RF coaxial cable 75ohm with 'F' connector

With digital TV broadcasts, the VCR needs a digital to analog converter box to tune channels.
Set VCR to record LINE INPUT L1 and tune channels on the DTV converter box.

Broadcast TV VCR Hookup

Newer TV with HDMI inputs: use a RCA to HDMI adapter and select the source on the TV.


Connect Cable TV box RF coax cable OUT to VCR RF input jack.
Connect RF coax cable from VCR RF output jack to TV RF input jack.

Watch and record the same channel

This is the most popular method of hooking up your VCR. The cable signal passes through the converter box first, the VCR second, and then into your TV, which must be tuned to the appropriate channel (usually channel 3 or 4).

Cable-Ready VCR:
Record any non-premium cable TV channel while watching any channel

By splitting the incoming TV signal, the VCR and the converter both get the cable TV signals. This hookup will allow you to videotape your non-premium non-digital cable channels while watching any premium or digital channel. Premium and digital channels will only be unscrambled by the converter box. Your cable-ready VCR will accept the non-premium cable channels but not the premium channels; therefore, you cannot normally record a premium channel in this way. By using an A/B switch, you can select which input source you want to watch on TV. (For TV sets with only a single RF input jack)

How to Hook Up Your VCR


Premium channels or digital channels will only be unscrambled by the converter box. Your analog NTSC cable-ready television will accept any non-premium analog cable channel but not the premium or digital channels. With the new digital cable converters with built-in digital video recorders you can record TV shows to hard disk. Some even have dual tuners allowing you to watch one show and record another all in one unit.

Record any channel while watching any channel

This hookup will allow you to watch any channel and record any other channel. This type of cable installation requires a second converter box. For digital channels the converter box is used to select which channel you get and the box only tunes and descrambles one channel at a time. So if you want to watch one digital channel and record another digital channel at the same time, you have to have either a second digital converter box or have a digital cable ready TV with Cablecard.

VCR TO TV using RCA Audio/Video
If your TV has audio/video inputs on the back, use RCA cables from the VCR audio out to the TV audio in (2, left and right, if stereo). Then use an RCA cable from the VCR video out to the TV video in. Switch your TV to the Video (or Aux) line input.

How to hookup a STEREO VCR to a STEREO TV using RCA video cables

Remember to set the TV to LINE INPUT with video button (input select).

VCR to HDTV Connection

RF A/B Switches


2-Way Manual A/B RF Switch

  • Allows manual selection between any two 75 ohm "F" inputs

Manual A/B Coaxial RF Switch
VCR/DVD Combo Units

These combine a VCR and a DVD into a single unit. The DVD side will connect using the component video outputs (green, blue, red) with white and red audio while the VCR side will connect using the yellow video and white and red audio OUT for playback and the yellow video and white and red audio IN for recording. Newer units have HDMI ports.

Select the correct input on the TV using the TV remote.

Connection diagram VCR DVD combo unit to TV

Component video and audio to HDMI Adapter

If your TV has only HDMI inputs, then use an adapter to connect.

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