If you want to connect your TV to a receiver, an HDMI cable is usually the way to go. If you happen to not have an HDMI jack on your TV, your receiver, or both, you may be searching for alternative ways to hook up the two devices. Luckily, there are other options than HDMI.
How do you connect a TV to a receiver without HDMI? You can use any RCA audio cables, a composite video cable, a 5-cable component RCA video cable, or an HDMI converter that matches the input option you have available.
Whether it's your TV, your receiver, or both devices that don't have HDMI connections available, you can use an RCA cable and/or a converter to connect the two. You're never more than a few cables away from getting the sound off your Television and into your sound system.
There are lots of different RCA cables available that contain a number of connectors: a classic red and white RCA cable, composite RCA cables which include a video channel, and a component RCA cables which have three different cables for the video channel.
You may have seen our related article on how to connect a soundbar to a TV without HDMI or Optical and, as in that case, the RCA cables are going to be your go-to option, especially with older equipment.
A basic RCA audio cable includes two connectors: a red cable and a white cable. This RCA cable type only transmits audio, so it will work for connecting your TV and your receiver via the RCA jacks. You'll simply match up the red and white cables to the red and white jacks.
You'll find a basic RCA audio cable for under $10 at any store that sells tech goods.
Before HDMI cables took over, composite RCA cables were commonly used for the same purpose — connecting both audio and video from component to component. They have the classic red, white, and yellow connection cables.
A composite video cable has a yellow RCA connector, as well as a white and a red RCA analog audio connector. It is called a composite video cable because you only need one cable to connect video: the yellow cable. Composite video cables are also readily available at any store that sells tech goods. Cables like the Cmple Composite Video Cables are available in different lengths on Amazon.
A component video cable uses multiple channels of connectors/cables to transmit a video signal, rather than only one like in a composite video cable. The three cables that are used for video transmission are green, blue, and red.
You can either buy a component video cable with just these three cables included, or you can buy one with 5 RCA components, including the two audio connectors: the red and white cables. To transmit audio from your TV to your receiver, you'll need to use the 5 RCA component video cable.
Using a converter is another way to connect your two components. With a converter, you can connect your HDMI to HDMI cable on one side, and your RCA to RCA cable on the other side.
The right converter will allow you to successfully convert your digital signal to an analog signal, as long as you have the right cables to connect the two. Converters like the LiNKFOR 1080P HDMI to Component Converter (on Amazon) don't break the bank, either.
To connect your TV and your receiver without HDMI, it's important to figure out which cable(s) you need to have, depending on the ports available on your devices. Once you have your cable(s) and/or converter, you can get started.
First, power on both the TV and receiver.
Be sure that they are plugged into the matching inputs. They are often labeled 'Audio,' 'Component,' or 'Composite.' Make sure to use the colors as your guide to decide where to plug in which cable.
The exact process for this will depend on your TV, but in general, it is located in the sound section of your TV's main settings. You'll change your TV's default speaker from the internal speaker to the external speaker you've just set up.
Now that everything is connected, turn the volume up and see if you can hear anything. If you're now hearing the music and/or dialogue from the video you're playing, the connection has been made and you're good to go. If you ever want to use a different receiver or different TV, simply unplug the cables to break the connection.
Don't be discouraged if you aren't able to use a classic HDMI to HDMI cable to connect your TV and your receiver (more on HDMI cables in our guide). By using one of the options above, you'll be able to successfully connect your TV and your receiver for a higher quality home audio experience.