How to Hook Up a VCR, TV & Cable Box

by Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated February 10, 2017

The VCR (videocassette recorder) has been used in entertainment setups in homes and businesses around the world for decades. Consumers are still using this handy device for recording and watching recordings, long after the introduction of DVD (digital video disc) and Blu-ray players. You can connect one up to your system easily. It only takes a few cables plus a little bit of your time to hook up a VCR to your TV and cable box.

Check the back of your television to see what type of jacks it has. Look for “A/V IN” (red, white and yellow) jacks or a single “RF Coaxial” (cable) jack.

Check the cable box to find your options available on it. See if it also has “A/V IN” (red, white and yellow) jacks or a single “RF Coaxial” (cable) jack.

Find out which options your VCR has for both “IN” and “OUT” jacks. Use two RCA A/V (audio/video) cables, if this is available on your devices for better picture and sound quality.

Connect a coaxial cable to the wall outlet for your cable signal. Connect the other end of this cable to the back of your cable box using the “RF IN” jack. (Skip to Step 8 if you only have “RF Coaxial” input and output jacks on your VCR and TV.)

Connect an A/V cable to the back of the cable box using the “A/V OUT” jacks. Match the colors on the end of the cable (the connectors) to the colors of the output jacks (red to red, white to white and yellow to yellow).

Connect the other end of this cable to the “A/V IN” jacks on the back of the VCR. Match the colors of the connectors to the inputs here also.

Use the other A/V cable to connect the “A/V OUT” on the VCR to the “A/V IN” on the back of the television. Match the colors again.

Connect a second coaxial cable on the back of the cable box using the “RF OUT” and connect the other end of this cable to the back of the VCR using the “RF IN” jacks.

Connect the third coaxial cable to the back of the VCR in the “RF OUT” with the other end connected to the back of the television's “RF IN” jack.

Items you will need

  • 3 coaxial cables OR

  • 1 coaxial cable and

  • 2 RCA A/V (audio/video) cables

About the Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images