Many modern televisions and video monitors come with more input and connector choices than you could ever possibly use. However, the same is not true of many older televisions built before digital cable and HDTV became the standard. While even low-end TVs made these days usually include at least of couple of different connection options, many older TVs have only the standard F-type coaxial connector used for cable TV connections and hooking up an outdoor antenna. Consequently, if you need to connect a new DVD player, game console or other modern video player to an older TV, you will find that most have RCA outputs but no coax connector. Fortunately, if you need to convert an RCA connection to coax, adapters and modulators are available, making this task relatively simple.
F-Type Coax-to-RCA Adapters (for Video Signals Only)
Power off the TV or video monitor and the player device you want to connect. Connect one end of the coaxial cable to the coax connector on the rear of the TV or video monitor on which you want to display video.
Plug the other end of the coaxial cable into the female port on the coax-to-RCA adapter.
Plug the RCA end of the adapter into the “Video Out” or “Video” port on the rear of the DVD player, game console or other video player device.
Power on the player device first, then turn on the TV or video monitor. Insert media in the video player device if required and press “Play.” Video from the external player device plays on the TV or video monitor screen.
Power off the video device and the TV or video monitor to which you want to connect it. Connect one end of the coaxial cable to the TV or video monitor. Connect the other end of the coaxial cable to the “Coax In” or “Coax” port on the RF modulator.
Connect one end of the included RCA A/V cable set to the “Video,” “Audio Left” and “Audio Right” ports on the RF modulator. The RF modulator has color-coded ports, so just match each RCA connector to the port with the corresponding color.
Connect the other end of the RCA A/V cable set to the matching colored ports on the DVD player, game console or other video device.
Connect the power adapter to the “Power” or “AC” port on the RF modulator. Plug the other end of the power cord into an electrical socket.
Power on the video player device, the TV, and then the RF modulator. Insert media in the video player device and press “Play” or the equivalent button to play audio and video from the device on the TV or video monitor.
- Some high-end VCRs have Video In and Audio In ports that you can use as a pass-through for connecting newer video player devices to an older TV with only a coax connector. Use an RCA cable set to connect the video player device to the "Video In" and "Audio In" ports on the rear of the VCR, and then connect the TV to the "Video Out" port with a coaxial cable. Before playing video from the device through the VCR, ensure that you set the channel on the TV to the display channel for the VCR – usually channel 3 or 4. Note that if connecting a DVD player with this method, movies with copy protection might not play or may appear distorted when displayed on the TV.
- Coax-to-RCA adapters can only convert one signal at a time and are better suited for converting video signals than audio. Therefore, you can use them to stream video to an older TV or monitor from an external player device. However, if you use a coax-to-RCA adapter for the video signal, you must connect the RCA audio cables to another audio device such as a stereo.
- F-type coax-to-RCA adapter
- RF modulator
- University of Colorado: Common Coaxial Connectors
- Smart TV & Sound: Hooking Up the Smart Way
- Smarthome: Terk Mini RF Modulator 4 Installation Hardware Manual
- SVideo: How to Use Your Video RF Modulator With Your Other Components
- Belkin: RF Modulator Product Brief
- ELAN SAT: RF Modulator User’s Manual
- Media College: How to Connect 2 VCRs
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images