Seeing Commodore 64 to modern TV on the front page today reminded me of an earlier question, Can I hook up an Atari 8-bit computer to a flat-screen tv.

Should we have a generic RCA/Composite upscaling question (ie: "How do I hook up my NES/SNES/N64, etc to a modern TV with only HDMI/component?")? If so, what should go into it? Should we outline the issues with signal conversion, picture upscale, and potentially list products that users can purchase to do the conversion/upscale?

  • 2
    Interesting question. While we certainly could, RCA/Composite (or RF) is the lowest common denominator and while an easy path to get something going is usually far from the best way to hook up various devices. I'm not sure how useful it would be given the wide variety of better connection options out there specific to each computer or console.
    – mnem
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 6:40
  • @mnem Good point as well. I'm just afraid that we will see a separate question for each console. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it would be nice to see consoles which use the same cables/protocols grouped together (like N6/GameCube, etc).
    – JAL
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 13:45
  • I think, actually, three questions would be in order: One for composite video, one for TTL/analogue RGB/S and one for "doesn't work, whatever I've tried". Those were the most common cases I have encountered with various computers so far. Output options would be (at least) SCART and HDMI.
    – tofro
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 19:59
  • Bear in mind also that the answer to this question differs wildly depending on region. In Britain today the answer to "how do I watch console X on television Y with minimal effort" is still "plug it in, tune to Analogue Terrestrial channel 36, and hope that either your TV has fine tuning or the RF modulator is unusually accurate" ;)
    – Muzer
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


No, because there are so many old TV/video standards, and so many of the computers/consoles used their own output hardware that behaves in unexpected ways. Coupled to that are all the variations in connectors (like SCART plugs) that seem utterly standard in many countries, yet are unknown in other large markets. You really need to be able to have a question for each system for each video standard, because with old video, a generic “___ should work” answer has no value.

  • Thanks for your answer. Would you feel the posts would be constructive if we had a question for each system and each brand?
    – JAL
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:06
  • @scruss is right. About all they have in common is that they take RF and modulate it. There'd be more exceptions than rules is my guess. That being said, from a design standpoint, I'm sure there are answers over on SE.EE that could talk sensibly about the sorts of techniques these RF modulators used, and the ways to do that. I'm not sure it translates well to talking about a specific system, which is where the design details live.
    – user12
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 20:55
  • Allow at least one question per system × brand × video standard. For instance, I have a system that “absolutely should” work with both my LCD television and a Dell composite monitor. It doesn't. The only device I can get it to display on is an incredibly cheap Philips portable DVD player. Time, component tolerances (often huge on cheap systems) and lax adherence to standards in the first place make getting video from old machines a challenge. If this place exists to provide helpful answers, there needs to be leeway for questions to remain that may appear already to have answers elsewhere
    – scruss
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:03

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