How to Connect a VCR to Smart TV

So you want to watch some old videos on your VCR but you can’t figure out how to connect a VCR to a modern smart TV. Is it possible?

If your TV doesn’t have the right connectors, it might still be possible to connect a VCR with adapters. When you’re done reading this article you’ll know exactly how to connect a VCR to a smart TV.

Ways to Connect VCR to a Smart TV:

Do both your TV and VCR support AV? Here’s what you can do:

AV (RCA) Cables

If your TV still supports AV cables (the three colour-coded cables) that would be the easiest way to connect a VCR to a smart TV. Just attach the cables to corresponding ports on your TV and VCR and you should get audio and video. There are some cases where your VCR does not support AV, which leads us to the next option.

Scart to AV

If your VCR was made in the UK, chances are it only has a Scart socket. The good news is you can find lots of cheap Scart to AV adapters, like this one. These little adapters can be used to connect all kinds of devices to a smart TV, such as DVD-players, retro-gaming consoles, and even some old set-top boxes. Very handy!

TV Only Has HDMI Ports

Modern TVs might not have any AV ports, so you’re limited to HDMI. Not to worry, there are still some options available for you.

Scart to HDMI Adapter

While these aren’t as cheap as a set of cables, they can usually get the job done. A Scart to HDMI adapter takes a Scart input and converts it into an HDMI output.

Most of these adapters can support a maximum of 1080P which is often upscaled by the TV to fill the whole screen. What you need to know about these adapters is they require power, either via a USB cable or a power adapter, it won’t work without power.

I recommend this Scart to HDMI adapter from Techole. This adapter should also work on HDMI-enabled monitors too.

Display Only Has VGA

If you’re using an older display (no shame, I’m using one too) one way to connect a VCR would be to use an RCA to VGA active converter.

These are similar to the Scart to HDMI adapters, and it’s important to avoid buying the cables because they don’t work. You need one with a power adapter. One product I came across that should work is this AV to VGA converter. It supports AV and S-Video too.

Convert VHS to Digital:

If the above methods don’t work for you, if you have a PC or laptop, one option could be to use a VHS converter to convert your tapes into digital files. Digital files are much easier to store, and you can watch them whenever you want, instead of having to find the right adapters.

One converter that could work is this Rybozen Video Grabber, which connects to your VCR, converts the media, and saves it to your computer. If you have a lot of VHS tapes, a converter is definitely worth looking into.

Are There Any TVs with a Scart Socket?

Most modern TVs do not have a Scart socket because HDMI is more widely used and scart is very outdated. However, there are still some TVs on the market that have a Scart socket, like this 32-inch United TV and several others.

Problems with Converting Scart:

For watching VCR videos, a scart adapter is usually enough to get an image on your TV screen. The problem is with other activities, like playing retro games, the Scart adapter starts to run into issues. The most noticeable would be input delay, and, when there’s lots of motion on the screen, you might see lots of graphic artefacts.

Other issues like the aspect ratio being skewered are also common. The same applies to RCA to HDMI adapters. I would not recommend using these adapters to connect a monitor to a computer, the input lag will likely be too frustrating to use for the long term.

Generally, adapters can be a little unreliable, and they may or may not work with your TV and equipment. It’s worth a shot. The best way to connect a monitor to a computer would be HDMI, and even VGA can hold up reasonably as well.

 

 

Image credit:

VCR” (CC BY 2.0) by janetmck
About S. Santos

Tech columnist and tech blogger, audiovisual aficionado trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology. If not fiddling with AV cables at home or in front of the computer, he can be found playing tennis or padel.

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