How to Hook Up More than One Composite (Yellow-Red-White) Device to Your HDTV

Updated on June 19, 2014
Source

If you recently got a new HDTV, chances are it only has one set of possible inputs for either Component or Composite inputs.

You may still have a VCR or a gaming system that uses these cables, and if you need to hook up more than one device, it could seem like you're out of luck. Unless you follow this guide.

1. What is the Difference Between Composite and Component Inputs?

If you have an older VCR or gaming system that you still use occasionally, you will likely need to connect this device via the “composite” inputs.

Composite refers to the yellow video cable that connects these devices to your TV. It is called “composite” because it is a composite of all the colors of the video signal into one cable.

Component” inputs, on the other hand, separate the colors of the video spectrum into red, blue, and green, providing separate cables for each and thereby improving the quality of the image.

Many modern HDTV sets only have one set of red, blue, and green inputs for analog video and one set of red and white inputs for analog audio. This is essentially a “component” input that doubles as a “composite” input. The yellow cable, in this instance, is connected to the green input on the back of the TV, and the red and white audio cables connect to the red and white inputs. This will leave the blue and red inputs unused, and they cannot be used for anything else.

Therefore, if you need to hook up another device with the yellow, red, and white cables, you will need another piece of hardware.

2. Another Piece of Hardware? But I Just Spent All My Money on the TV!

Don't freak out. All you should need is a composite A/V switcher. You can find these at Big Lots or other discount stores for around $4.You will also find the same exact model at some of the big box stores under a brand name for around $14. I'll leave the decision of which one to buy up to you.

The switcher is basically a small, non-powered box (which means it doesn't need its own plug and you can save valuable outlet space on your surge protector).

It will have three composite (yellow-red-white) inputs and one output, which you will connect to the one input on the back of your TV. A switch on the top of the unit will allow you to select from inputs 1, 2, or 3. On the inexpensive models, you likely will have to physically move this switch as it is not remote controlled.

An example of a composite a/v switcher
An example of a composite a/v switcher

3. Only Use The Composite A/V Switcher With Devices That Only Have Composite A/V Outputs

Your main way of watching movies and TV should be through HDMI (or the antenna). Your TV should have two or more HDMI ports.

Blu-ray players, upconverting DVD players, and cable boxes should connect via this cable. If your DVD player does not have an HDMI output, consider replacing it with one that does and you'll notice picture quality improve greatly. "Upconverting" DVD players with HDMI outputs are now very inexpensive and available at most discount stores.

If your cable box has only composite outputs, consider upgrading to an HD capable box and you will be taking advantage of the true HD capabilities of your TV.

The only devices you should connect with composite A/V cables are old VCRs, game systems, and other vintage video equipment such as a LaserDisc player.

You probably won't need a “Component A/V Switcher.” Unfortunately, some companies marketing these devices do not understand the difference between “composite” and “component,” and might label their product incorrectly. To make sure you're buying the right device, verify that it has only yellow, red, and white inputs.

4. Conclusion

A lot of us still have older devices that use the yellow, red, and white cables, and we still find a need to use them from time to time. You likely have some old VHS movies that are not yet on DVD, older video games, or your own home movies that will only connect with this method.

By investing around $4 in a basic A/V switcher box, you will save yourself the headache of having to connect and disconnect cables from the back of your TV when switching your viewing device, and your electronic life will get much easier.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      maryanne 

      5 years ago

      Thank you this has been a big help!!!!! I can use all my stuff with out unplugging everything yeahhhh baby

    • profile image

      jest 

      5 years ago

      thanks - great info!

    • profile image

      Thankful 

      5 years ago

      Thank you!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)