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How to Hook Up an Atari 2600

Updated April 17, 2017

The Atari 2600 was among the first home video game systems. If you have just come across one of these machines, you may have noticed that the set-up is a little different from the consoles that followed. The difference is the port the 2600 uses to connect to a television.

Connect a joystick to the "Player 1" port of the console, and another, if available, to the "Player 2" port.

Plug the coaxial plug of the console into the "Aerial" port of the television. If an aerial is already connected to this port, remove it and connect the aerial to the console's switcher box.

Turn on the television and tune to channel 3 or 4.

Turn on the Atari 2600 with a cartridge inserted and open the television's "Channel" or "Tuning" menu. Select the option to manually search for new channels, usually called "Manual Tune" or "Search."

Search through the UHF band until the television finds the video signal from the Atari 2600. Select "Store" or "Lock" to add the channel to the television's memory. The console should be ready to play.

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