What cables do I need for my TV?
Follow our guide to find the right cable for connecting devices like a Blu-ray player, set top box and console to your TV…
If you want to get the best from your new telly, you need the right cables to connect all your devices.
In a nutshell: The standard way to connect your HD TV to other devices, like a Blu-ray player or a set top box
HDMI carries a high-quality digital signal, transferring audio and video. It’s easy to use, as both sides of the cable are identical and plug straight into the TV/device. There are two types:
- HDMI cable for a Full HD TV and regular Blu-ray
- HDMI 2.0 cable for a 4K UHD TV and Ultra HD Blu-ray, designed to handle the higher frame-rates of 4K
So if you’ve ever wondered how to connect your Sky box to a TV, now you know.
If the port on your TV looks the same but is smaller than a standard HDMI cable, it could be a mini HDMI port. For these you’ll need an HDMI to mini HDMI adapter, or a mini HDMI to HDMI cable.
Tip: If you have a Smart TV that connects to the internet, you can also get an HDMI cable with built-in Ethernet – so you won’t need as many cables.
In a nutshell: One of the most universal ways of connecting VHS, DVD players and older games consoles to a TV
These cables used to be standard but they’ve mostly been replaced by HDMI – which give you better image quality when you connect them to HD devices.
Tip: Newer TVs will usually have a SCART port but if there isn't one, you can buy a SCART to HDMI converter.
Component & composite video cables (AV)
In a nutshell: Another way to connect DVD and Blu-ray players, set top boxes and game consoles to your TV
Although these two types of cable look familiar there are a few differences:
- Component has 5 cables – 3 for video (Red, Blue, Green) and 2 for audio. This type of connection is becoming a regular port on more HD TVs
- Composite has 3 cables (Yellow, White, Red) – 1 for video and 2 for audio, often called RGB cables. If your TV doesn't have an outlet for them, you can connect them using a SCART adapter
In a nutshell: Connect your laptop to your TV and see your photos and videos on the big screen
With a USB cable, you can view your photos and watch any movies or shows you have saved on your laptop – or connect it to the internet to effectively make your TV Smart.
Digital audio output (SPD/IF)
In a nutshell: Boost your TV’s audio by connecting a home cinema sound system
An SPD/IF port gives you sharper, high-quality sound by transmitting audio in digital format.
HDMI is more commonly used as it transmits video as well as audio, but if there isn't an HDMI connection on your sound system this is a good option.
DVI & VGA cables (D-Sub)
In a nutshell: another way to connect your computer to the TV, other than HDMI
If your computer doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can use a DVI to HDMI cable or a VGA to HDMI converter to connect it to your TV instead.
You’ll usually find these types of ports on the computer tower or monitor – with a DVI supporting digital and VGA supporting analogue video.
Other digital equipment – RF modulator
In a nutshell: Watch digital channels in different rooms around the house
An RF modulator lets you connect your set top box to other TVs so you can watch it on any other sets you own – although you’ll only be able to watch the same channel as your main TV.
Tip: If you want to connect using a standard aerial cable, you'll need an RF modulator in your set top box.