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How to Hook Up a Cable Box to TV without HDMI

Hook up a cable box to TV without HDMI

These days, connecting a cable box to your TV is a no-brainer.

Cable boxes come with HDMI, RCA and component video connections.

The easiest connection to undertake is an HDMI connection. With an HDMI connection, you don’t have to worry about connecting separate cables for video and audio.

Through a single cable, you get high-definition video and audio.

But what if you have an older TV that doesn’t support HDMI? Or do you have an HDTV with non-functioning HDMI ports?

It could also be that you have limited HDMI ports on your TV (one or two) used by other devices?

In these cases, how do you hook up a cable box to your TV without HDMI?

Here are ways you can do it without having to spend money on a new TV with HDMI.

You can still use your analog TV or first-generation HDTV without an HDMI in connection.

Use an RCA or composite Connection

RCA or composite is a universal connection found in almost all AV equipment.

An RCA connection is also available on all cable boxes.

You can easily sport the three RCA ports. They are colored yellow, white and red.

composite video cables for cable box

Yellow is for video, while the red and white ports are for audio (right and left stereo)

With an RCA connection, you’ll not get the picture quality of a native HDMI connection. But then you’ll get a watchable standard definition 480i for NTSC and 576i for PAL.

Go with a composite video connection if picture quality isn’t an issue for you. Also, try to get a set of good quality RCA cables to get a better video quality.

Good quality RCA cables to connect cable box to TV
Good quality RCA cables

Read more about RCA (Composite) Video.

Use a Component Video Connection

The component video gives you the highest analog video resolution. It can support the following video resolutions – 480p, 576p, 720p and 1080p.

To benefit from component video, your TV must come with component video input.

If you have a flatscreen analog TV, the one with a silver frame around the screen, you’ll likely have component video input.

You can easily spot component video ports. They’re marked green, blue, and red.

These three ports are for the video signal. You’ll need two more cables for the red and white audio connection.

Cable box component video cables

With a component connection, you’ll need a total of 5 cables to connect your cable box to your TV as shown below.

Cable box component video connected to TV

Generally, you can use RCA cables to make a component video connection. However, there are dedicated component video cables available out there. They are thicker cables with gold-plates connectors that minimize video signal loss.

Read more about Component Video.

Use an HDMI to Component Video Converter : Highly Recommended

Does your TV have component video inputs? If so, you can benefit from the HDMI connection on your cable box through an HDMI to component video converter.

This converter turns an HDMI signal into a component video signal.

The benefit of using an HDMI to component video converter is evident in TVs with component input that supports 1080p or 1080i video. There are also TVs that can support 720p resolution with a component video connection.

You’ll get picture quality that is much better if you use a component to component.

Getting the converter to work is pretty straightforward, Just plug an HDMI cable from your cable box to the HDMI input of the converter. Then connect the component cables from the converter to your TV set.

Depending on your TV’s component video resolution, you can get 1080p, 720p or 480p on your TV.

The converter comes with a button that allows you to adjust the output resolution on your TV set.

Check out this affordable HDMI to component video converter to hook up your cable box to your TV without HDMI.

If you’ll be ordering some other models like the one below, ensure that it’s an HDMI to component video converter and not component video to HDMI converter. The latter will not work when it comes to connecting a cable box to a TV without HDMI.

That said, you may check out other HDMI to component video converters.

Use an HDMI to RCA (Composite) Converter

If your TV doesn’t have component video input, then you can use an HDMI to RCA converter.

You should not confuse this with an HDMI to RCA cable. This cable, as shown below, doesn’t have the converter function and will not work.

An HDMI to RCA converter works very much like an HDMI to component video converter. Only that you get RCA (composite quality) picture.

The HDMI to AV converter comes with a PAL/NTSC switcher. A power cable (USB)is included to power the converter.

You can set up the device within minutes. Just plug in the HDMI cable from the cable box to the HDMI input of the converter and plug the RCA cables from the converter to your TV RCA input ports.

Check out this affordable HDMI to RCA converter.

Also, check out a wide range of HDMI to RCA converters. Again be sure to choose HDMI to RCA instead of RCA to HDMI.

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