There’s a good chance you have a DVD or VCR stowed away somewhere in your house, but your current Smart TV is way ahead of the time of VHS and DVDs.
Can you still enjoy the classics with modern technology?
Are Smart TVs compatible with DVD, Blu-Ray, and VHS players?
Despite the obsolescence, many Smart TVs still include audio and video ports that are compatible with DVD and VHS players. This is within the spirit of trying to keep technology from becoming outdated too quickly. If you are shopping for a Smart TV, make sure yours has these ports for connection!
Can You Connect an old DVD Player to a Smart TV?
If you have one a DVD player with HDMI ports, you can connect your player to any of the HDMI ports on your TV.
Such DVD players include the Sony DVPSR510H, but, if it does not have HDMI, don’t fret.
You can still do using the other audio and video ports behind your TV.
What About DVD Players With Only RCA Plugs?
To connect your DVD player to your Smart TV, look for the RCA audio video port behind your TV.
RCA ports are circular and are silver or gold outside, with an inner circle that is colored red, white, or yellow.
- The red and white ports are for the audio connection: You plug the audio out from your DVD player and connect it to the corresponding color on your TV.
- The component, or yellow RCA port, is for video: You connect the yellow RCA port on your DVD player to the corresponding jack on your Smart TV.
Or, if your Smart TV and DVD player have S-video, you can also connect the two, instead of the component port.
If your Smart TV only has S-video, and your DVD player has component video, you can use a converter cable that has a component video plug on one end, and an S-Video plug on the other end.
Another way of connecting the video output of your DVD player is through the composite out.
These three (3) ports are labeled together as composite out to avoid confusion with the RCA audio out of your TV or DVD player.
The three ports look like the audio and video RCA ports, except that they are colored red, green, and blue. These are connected in the same way you plug using the RCA audio and video.
Note that these ports all need to be plugged, and will not work if only one is used.
If your Smart TV has an A/V jack that is colored yellow, this means your TV has an integrated input for audio and video.
This input uses a 3.5mm TRRS (Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve) plug, which is the same as a Smartphone’s earphone plug.
To connect your DVD player, get a TRRS plug with three (3) RCA plugs on the other end. The RCA plugs are color-coded for the two audio channels (red and white) and component video output (yellow).
If your DVD player does not have the component output and your Smart TV only has composite in for the video, you can plug the component output of the DVD player into the Green RCA port on the composite input of the TV, provided the manufacturer also labeled that input as video.
There’s a good chance you may have both component and composite options for video. Should that be the case, you should connect via composite video.
For one, component, being a single cable, tends to produce lesser quality. This is due to the signal transmitted being crammed into a single cable.
Composite video distributes signals into different cables, which lessens the load.
What About Blu-ray Players?
All Blu-ray players have an HDMI output, which allows you to connect your player to the Smart TV.
You can also set your player to only connect the video to the TV, so you can plug your RCA outputs to your sound system. With a 4K TV you can also evaluate if Blu-Ray really beats 4K.
What About a VHS Video Player?
There are two ways to connect your VHS player to your Smart TV.
First, just like the DVD player, you can connect the audio and component video output jacks of your VHS player onto the corresponding input on the Smart TV. Should your VHS player only have one (1) output for audio, you can plug an RCA splitter or Y-cable and plug the cables onto the red and white audio inputs of your TV.
If you choose not to use a splitter, you will only hear sound on one side of the TV. It is recommended to use the splitter plug to distribute the sound evenly.
The sound will not be in stereo as processed, but you will hear it on both sides.
If you don’t want to deal with the troubles of all these cables, you can connect the antenna output of your VHS player into the antenna input of your Smart TV. Should you do, choose the antenna display output on your TV’s settings to display your VHS screen.
Note that you may have to scan manually or add a channel through the settings of your TV in the event you decide to use the antenna connection. Also, this does not yield the best video results.
How About Video Cameras?
If you have an older video camera, you need to check the output connections to determine which connections you need.
If your video camera has an AV out, you can use a TRRS cable to connect your video camera to your Smart TV.
Some video cameras must have two (2) kinds of cables to work. In this setup, the audio and video signals are sent via two (2) different jacks or ports.
Should this be the case, you will need a TRS to RCA cable to connect the audio signal coming from the camera into the inputs of the Smart TV. The video signal will need a component or S-Video cable.
Do Smart TVs Have DVD Players?
Some Smart TVs come with built-in DVD players.
You can find the disc tray at the side of the TV, with the slot in standing position.
Can You Convert the Video Outputs From DVDs and VHS to HDMI?
There are commercially available converters that can change your video signal to HDMI.
Note that these converters can convert either component or composite. Check with the manufacturer on what is available for your device.
To fully use your converter, make sure that it can scale up the resolution to 1080p at the very least.
Will I Get to Watch in High Definition (HD) When the VHS or DVD is Plugged into a Smart TV?
A Smart TV will only show a video in a resolution that it was recorded or encoded in.
Thus, if you connect a camcorder via component cables to the TV, it will display the video, either in a stretched format or with the screen shrunk to fit, depending on your display settings.
Even if you rendered a video in HD and transfer it to a player that only has component video, it will still play at a lower resolution.
But, if you had videos in HD, and your player supports composite, chances are it will play the HD video, but only up to 1080p resolution.
If you want an HD experience with component video, consider getting a converter for HDMI that can scale up the resolution.
Can I Use My Old Video Game Consoles With my Smart TV?
You might also have an old video game console tucked in those boxes where you placed that old VCR.
So, if you’re after another nostalgia trip, go ahead and plug that old gaming console, if your Smart TV has the necessary ports.
This may yield unpleasant results, due to the video resolutions not optimized for HD viewing. For instance, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Sega Genesis were designed with a resolution of 240p.
If you want to play, check what options are available to link your video output. If your antenna input is your only choice, you will need the RF switch. Also, do not set your Smart TV to automatically scan for channels.
Also, note that the Light Gun accessory made by Nintendo for the NES will not work with Smart TVs since it requires a Cathode Ray Tube to work.
For consoles that came out a bit later and use component video ports instead of the RF connectors, consider getting a converter to HDMI so that you can scale the game display to HD.
Lastly, don’t forget to switch to game mode on your TV, if you plan to play your old console games. Like newer gaming systems, older consoles stand to enjoy the better response time on game mode.
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