How to Connect an Old Video Game Console to a New TV with HDMI | Games

Playing consoles like Super Nintendo, PlayStation 2 or Mega Drive is not an easy task these days. Dusting your original system is only the first step, but right after that comes that question: How do I hook up my old video game to a new TV? Many modern televisions don’t have the input used in the 80s and 90s. Techblog to be able to enjoy that game that brings you so much nostalgia.


Did you know that you can play your SNES on HDMI television? (Image: Enrique Guzmán Egas/Unsplash)

Old video game like PS1 and Mega Drive on new TV

If you have an older video game in your collection, but you’ve noticed that your television doesn’t have an input for that famous cable known as AV (with three tips in yellow, white and red) or for component cable (the one with five color tips different), be aware that you can still enjoy your games with great quality.

Remembering that I’m not referring to the simple act of playing, because for this there are options such as ports to current consoles like the PS5, Xbox Series and Nintendo Switch, as well as emulators and minis consoles. The focus of this article is to show you how to hook up an older video game console to a newer TV with an HDMI input. Check out our tips.

1. Check if the old video game has the required output

Not all consoles have the necessary output for connecting HDMI-enabled televisions. Older video games like the Atari 2600 and Master System 3 (TecToy version) only have the RF output, one even older than the AV. This gives a squeaky image quality that is not very pleasant by modern standards.

New TV Master System

There are many good games to check out on the Master System (Image: Hello I’m Nik/Unsplash)

Thus, depending on the upscaler (lower) you will be looking for, there may be a need for internal changes in the console. In that case, I suggest looking for a subject matter expert. Among the models that require this modification are:

  • NES;
  • Master System;
  • Atari;
  • Nintendo 64.

The other consoles can be connected to the TVs with the upscaler, without any headaches.

2. Meet the upscaler

In general, the accessory you’ll need to play your old video game on a new TV is called an upscaler (or scaler). In short, it’s an item that takes the image signal from the console and raises it to a higher resolution, usually filling the screen. A Super Nintendo, for example, has an output resolution of 240p. When using an upscaler, this can reach 1080p (Full HD).

This is different from converters we find on the internet, as they just take the image and play it without any changes to the television. The main problem with these cheap converters is that the image quality will not be satisfactory, in addition to receiving the terrible visit from lag, that uncomfortable delay between pressing a button and the action taking place on the TV.

Imagine playing Sonic on your Mega Drive and needing to dodge an enemy in a moment of pure reaction, if lag arises, you could lose a precious life in the process.

The truth is, if you’re after maximum visual representation and competence between console and screen, then you’ll have to open your wallet. Playing old video games on new and modern TV is costly.

Mega Drive running on modern television

X-Men running on Mega Drive with Retrotink 5X-Pro (Image: RetroRGB / YouTube)

3. Options for connecting old video game to new TV

Now that you know the importance of an upscaler to make your old console work on a TV with HDMI, check out some models available on the market and recommended by the retrogaming community.

RAD2X cables

RAD2X cables are purely plug and play. They are good parts for beginners in this retrogame world, guaranteeing a satisfactory resolution and a low latency (the lag thing). It is the cheapest among the popular ones (costing an average of 368 reais), but each cable is specific for each console.

RAD2X for old video game on new TV

The RAD2X cable is plug & play (Image: YouTube / MetalJesusRocks)

Retrotink 5X-Pro

This accessory is, in 2021, the holy grail among upscaler lovers. Its practicality is incredible, accepting as input cables varied from AV to SCART (very used in Europe). Even its configuration is extremely quiet, being practically a plug & play. In addition to quality, this is the most peaceful way to play old video games on a new TV with HDMI.

Unfortunately there are two problems related to the device: its high price ($300) and the difficulty in booking one at the official store. On the other hand, playing your PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64 or Dreamcast through this upscaler is jaw-dropping.

Retrotink 5X Pro is perfect for playing old video games on new TV

Retrotink 5X Pro (Image: Disclosure / Retrotink)

Open Source Scan Converter

Also known as OSSC, Open Source Scan Converter has been used for a long time. As it is an open source item, anyone with knowledge in this regard can assemble theirs. Its functionalities range from a clear 1080p image to a very competent color reproduction.

Imagine checking out your Sega Saturn with top-notch graphics on your HDMI television. The downside of OSSC is that it is more complicated to set up than its predecessors, requiring a little more than goodwill from the user.

OSSC is great for playing old games on modern television

OSSC can make beautiful images (Image: Wulff Den/YouTube)

GBS-Control

GBS-Control is similar to OSSC, but right away it has something that none of the above options have: it is in Brazilian territory. Like the Open Source Scan Converter, this one is open source. For an expert, all that is needed is to buy the parts and put them together. However, if you want something assembled, there is a national company called Gamescare that produces, assembles and delivers this ready-made scheduler.

There’s even the option to use a mobile app to set image options. The price is still high (566 reais), but it can be even more interesting compared to others. This way, playing an old video game on a new TV is more relaxed.

GBS Control works on old video game on new TV

Gamescare’s GBS Control is 100% national (Image: Disclosure/Gamescare)

So, is it worth the investment?

This question is difficult to answer as it meets the needs of each individual. If your desire is to know how to connect an old video game to the new TV, even if the image of your Nintendo 64 doesn’t look as beautiful as possible, a converter will be useful.

Now if your intention is to get the best image possible and you want to play your PlayStation 1 or your Mega Drive without worrying about lag or ugly textures, then thinking about an upscaler makes perfect sense. The investment is undoubtedly high, but it will be rewarded with a lot of fun and nostalgia.

Tell us if you have an old video game at home and would like to play it on your modern television.

Play your PlayStation 2 on new TV

Dust off your PS2 and play it again (Image: Denise Jans/Unsplash)

With information: RetroRGB and GamesCare.

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