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Home /Science / Can You Hook Up a VCR to a Flat Screen TV?

Can You Hook Up a VCR to a Flat Screen TV?

By Christian Roemer

These days, I wonder if people even have libraries of media anymore. First, we had film reels. Then, those were replaced with VHS tapes. DVDs blew those out of the water, until Blu Ray came right out and defeated them in a cage match. At some point, Netflix strolled up, tossed all of those formats to the side, and changed the way we watch media forever.

Best Buy managers all over the world weep at the lost sales.
Even though our media viewing has turned digital, there’s a good chance that you still have some random VHS tapes sitting around your house. They might be home movies of your big sister’s eight year old birthday party, or they could be a collector’s edition of The Little Mermaid (which is worth quite some coin these days).


But can you even watch them anymore? Are VCRs compatible with modern flat screen TVs, or are they like orange juice and toothpaste--never meant to be?

The short answer is yes! Most VCRs can hook up to most modern TVs, though you might have to buy a cable or two.

For a long time, VCRs used coaxial cables. Those are basically the same cables that come out of your wall to plug in a cable or satellite box. Basically every TV still has at least one coaxial cable input included. All you have to do is screw one end onto the output of the VCR, screw the other end on the input of the TV, and voila! You’re ready to watch some good ole VHS tapes.

Some of the more modern VCRs--and I use the word modern very liberally here--came with a different type of TV hookup. Instead of coaxial cables, they use RCA.

RCA cables are a single cable that has three different connectors on each side. Both ends have the colors yellow, red, and white. The yellow cable carries the video signal, red carries one audio signal, and white carries the other audio signal. The good news is that most modern TVs still come with a RCA input. You can find those just by checking the back of your TV for plug ins that are colored yellow, red, and white. Plug each color end into the corresponding end, and your VCR is ready to go.

Now that you know your VCR can most likely hook up to your flat screen TV, I can’t help but wonder: why bother? Services like Southtree can digitize all of your old home movies on VHS, and you’ll be able to watch them anywhere on basically any device. You can share them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat--you name it! You won’t have to worry about hooking up your VCR ever again!

Plus, just think of all the likes!

So instead of pulling your LCD TV off the wall, fiddling with a bunch of cables, and potentially damaging your delicate VHS tapes, just get them digitized instead. It’ll save you a major headache, and you’ll always have your digital files as a backup.

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