How to Connect a DVD/VCR Recorder to a TV

Updated February 21, 2017

A DVD/VCR recorder plays DVDs as well as VHS tapes. In addition, many models allow users to copy worn VHS tapes to DVD, and also record TV shows or movies. Typically, the recorders can use several disc formats, including CD-R or DVD-R. Most will not record copyrighted material, such as commercially produced DVDs or music CDs. Connecting these useful devices to your television is relatively easy.

Place the DVD/VCR recorder near your television. Do not block any vents on the recorder or vents on other pieces of equipment, as those vents allow for proper cooling of the internal components. If you plan to stack devices, put spacers between them to allow for proper air flow.

Choose the picture quality. Most DVD/VCR recorders supply a composite video/audio cable... However, "S-Video" gives a slightly better quality picture and a "Component" cord is a higher quality. In addition, you can use an HDMI cable for some DVD/VCR recorders. However, HDMI only upscales the quality but does not allow for true HD video. Typically, "S-Video" cords come with a red and white RCA audio connection.

Hook up the video cable. Composite video cords, insert into the red, yellow and white corresponding ports on the recorder and plug into the same connections on the TV. For an S-Video cord, insert into the "S-Video Out" on the recorder and into the "S-Video In" location on the television. Then insert the red and white audio connectors into the corresponding colours on the television. For a component cord, connect the two red, blue and green video cords and the red and white audio cords into the corresponding ports on the DVD/VCR and on the television. For an HDMI cable, simply insert the cord into the "HDMI Out" port on the DVD/VCR recorder and push into the "HDMI In" port on the TV.

Turn on the television to the correct input channel. The connection on the back of the television should be labelled, such as "HDMI 1," "HDMI 2," "VCR 1," and so on. Be sure to note which ports on the back of the TV are connected to the DVD/VCR, so you can change the TV's input channel accordingly (for example, if the DVD/VCR is connected to the TV's "HDMI 1" port, select the "HDMI 1" television input channel from the on-screen menu).


Some instructions may differ for the make and model of your DVD/VCR recorder. User manuals are available online for popular brands (see Resources).

Things You'll Need

  • S-Video or component video cable
  • HDMI cable
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