How to connect and set the top box to an older tv

Updated February 21, 2017

Set-top boxes are used to receive and transmit digital television signals, high-definition broadcasts or other broadcast signals to your TV set. Available at electronic stores and retail superstores, set-top boxes are connected to your television through various connections, including coaxial and S-video/composite cables. You can connect a set-top box to your older TV using a coaxial cable and a 300-ohm matching transformer.

Unplug the TV. Turn it around so that the back of the set is facing you.

Place the set-top box on top of or next to the TV. Turn the box around so the back of the device is facing you.

Use a small screwdriver to loosen the screws under the port called "VHF," "Antenna In" or similar wording on the back of the television. Do not remove the screws---just unscrew them slightly so that there is a small space between the bottom of the screws and the back of the TV.

Place the two flat leads on the 300-ohm matching transformer underneath the screws under the "VHF," "Antenna In" or similarly worded port on the back of the TV.

Plug one end of a coaxial cable into the coaxial end of the 300-ohm matching transformer.

Plug the other end of the coaxial cable into the "Antenna Out," "Coaxial Out" or similarly worded port on the back of the set-top box.

Plug the coaxial cable coming from the digital antenna into the "Antenna In," "Coaxial In" or similarly worded port on the back of the set-top box.

Set the "Channel Selector" or similarly worded switch on the back of the set-top box to Channel "3" or "4"---whichever channel is not used in your area.

Turn the set-top box and TV around so that they face you. Plug each device's power cord into a electrical socket.

Change the TV's channel selector to the channel you selected in Step 8---Channel "3" or "4."

Turn on the set-top box and TV. The set-top box will take a few minutes to start up. You should see a "Welcome" screen and/or menu. If you don't see anything but static, check the connections on the back of the set-top box and TV.

Press the "Scan," "Auto Scan" or similarly worded button on the set-top box's remote control to set up channels on the box.

Adjust the digital antenna if your set-top box is presenting a "Signal Lost" or similarly worded message on certain channels.


Because a older TV is "Standard Resolution," your only option under the "Resolution" menu is "Standard." Select the "Scan" or "Auto Scan" option to rescan for digital channels whenever you move your digital antenna or want to see if any new digital channels are available in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • Set-top box with remote control
  • Small screwdriver
  • 300-ohm matching transformer
  • Coaxial cable
  • Digital antenna
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.