How to Hook Up a Blu-ray Player to an Analog TV
By Kevin Lee
Updated September 28, 2017
Items you will need
One of the following combinations:
Component cable and RCA audio cables
Composite (RCA) video cable and RCA audio cables
S-Video cable and RCA audio cables
Blu-ray technology allows you to enjoy crisp, clean, home-theater entertainment on digital TVs capable of receiving high-definition digital input. Your analog TV does not have the HDMI, optical or other types of inputs needed to play HD content. It does, however have one or more inputs that allow you to view and listen to your favorite Blu-ray movies. The trick to connecting an analog TV to your Blu-ray player is finding an output on the player that can connect to an input on your television.
Connect Video Using Component Cable
Look for a “Component Out” section on the back of your Blu-ray player. If such a section exists, it has three receptacles color-coded red, green and blue. These jacks carry high-quality video from the player to a television that has component input jacks. Because the video signal travels through three wires, the video quality — though not as good as that obtained via digital connectors — is the best possible solution for connecting an analog TV.
Plug the three red, blue and green plugs on one end of a component video cable into the three red, blue and green jacks on the back of the Blu-ray player. Match each color-coded plug to its corresponding socket.
Plug the other end of the cable to the three red, blue and green sockets on the back of your TV. Match each color-coded plug to its corresponding socket.
Proceed to Section 5 to connect audio.
Video Connection Using S-Video Cable
Look for S-Video outputs on the back of your TV and Blu-ray player. An S-Video plug is round and has may tiny holes in it. The word “S-Video” will appear above or below such a plug. Proceed with the following steps if TV and player have S-Video plugs.
Plug one end of the S-Video cable into the Blu-ray player’s S-Video plug.
Plug the other end of the S-Video cable into your TV’s S-Video plug.
Video Connectiom Using Composite Cable
Search for a yellow plug labeled “Video” on the back of your TV and Blu-ray player. This is a composite connector. You may have used it before to connect a DVD player, video game console or VCR to your TV. This type of connection does not produce as high-quality video as does a component or S-Video connection.
Plug one end of the composite cable into the “Video” jack on the back of the Blu-ray player.
Plug the other end of the cable into TV’s “Video” jack.
Proceed to Section 5 to connect audio.
Audio and Video Connection Using Coaxial Cable
Look for a coaxial cable connection on the back of your Blu-ray player. If one exists, plug one end of your coaxial cable into that plug.
Connect the other end of the cable to the back of your TV.
Verify that both connections are secure. You’ve probably used coaxial cables to connect your TV to a cable box. If the connections are not secure, your picture quality will not suffer.
Connect Audio Using RCA Audio Connectors
Return to the Blu-ray player and look for the player’s Audio Out sections. You will see subsections in that section. You will find a one subsection with a name similar to "AV Out." This section contains two regular RCA output jacks labeled for the left and right stereo signals, similar to those you’ll find on any stereo or DVD player, and your analog TV can connect to these jacks. You cannot use any of the three subsections that have names such as "Center," "Rear" and "Front." Digital TVs, sound bars and receivers capable of playing surround sound use these sockets. Because your analog TV cannot play surround sound, you cannot use the signal that comes through them.
Connect the two ends of your RCA stereo cable into the two sockets of the player’s AV Out section. The ends of the cable are red and white. Be sure to plug them into the matching colors in the player for best-quality sound.
Connect the two plugs on the other end of the RCA stereo cable into the red and white Audio In plugs on the back of your TV.
Switch your TV to the input source that matches the one to which you connected your Blu-ray player. In your analog TV's normal mode, it displays any over-the-air analog broadcasts that it can pick up. To view other types of content, you must switch your TV to a different mode. That mode depends on the type of input you used to connect the Blu-ray player. Some TVs may have an onscreen menu — accessible via the remote — that allows you to select another input source. For instance, a menu option named “Video In” might allow you to view input from your game console. Different TVs have different menu systems and methods of switching to alternate video sources. Consult your TV’s owners manual for details on how to change its sources.
Component, S-Video, composite and coaxial cables provide video quality in the order listed. If possible, use component cables to achieve the best quality video from your Blu-ray player. If your TV doesn’t have component plugs, use S-Video if the television has an S-Video connection. S-Video won’t provide the video quality that a component cable does, but it produces results superior to those of a composite cable. Use coaxial cable as a last resort — such as when your TV has none of the other types of plugs or they are broken. Coaxial cable video quality is the poorest.
If you use coaxial cable, do not connect the Blu-ray player to the TV using RCA stereo cables. The cable carries audio and video.
Remember that your analog TV will not display the same type of high-definition video that a digital TV produces. Audio quality also fails to match that of a digital TV that takes advantage of a Blu-ray player’s digital output. Surround sound doesn't exist either on an analog TV playing Blu-ray content.
When shopping for a composite video cable, you can often find one that has also has two audio cables included. The resulting single cable has three plugs on each end: two plugs carry the audio, and the other one carries the video. Connect the red and white audio cable ends into the matching audio plugs as described in Section 5, Step 3; plug the yellow video cable end into the matching video plugs.
Be very careful when plugging S-Video plugs into your TV or Blu-ray player. As The Home Cinema Guide.com notes, the plug’s pins can bend easily if you do not align them correctly when inserting the plug into the device.
If nothing works after you connect everything, double-check your connections. Verify that the appropriately colored plugs fit into the matching inputs and outputs on both devices. A modern full-featured Blu-ray player may have many plugs that may seem confusing. Simply look for the names described previously and you should have no problems getting Blu-ray content to play on your analog TV.
After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.