What cables do I need for my TV?



It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the connection and cable options on offer when you buy your new TV set. Here’s what you need to know…

What cables do I need

In order to make sure you can use your shiny new TV to its full potential (we’re talking Blu-ray, a whole load of consoles and live streaming from your laptop), you’re going need some cables to keep everything connected.

If the tangle of wires and cables seems confusing, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with the basics to get you started.

 

HDMI cable

In a nutshell: The cable you need to connect your HD TV to other devices – like a Blu-ray player or set-top box

Full HD TVs and regular Blu-ray players will need a standard HDMI 1.4 cable to connect them to other devices – like your Sky box. It transfers audio and video content between the two and helps deliver crystal clear sound and sharp picture quality.

Both ends of the cable are identical – so you don’t need to worry about which end goes into which device.

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If you’ve invested in a 4K UHD TV and Ultra HD Blu-ray player then you’ll need a HDMI 2.0 cable. This is designed to handle the higher frame-rates of 4K. Using a standard HDMI 1.4 cable means you won’t reap the benefits of all that lovely 4K content.

Does the HDMI port on the back of your TV look smaller than the standard HDMI cable? Then it’s probably 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.

See our range of 4K HDR TVs

 

SCART lead

In a nutshell: One of the most universal ways of connecting VHS, DVD players and older games consoles to a TV

Once the standard but fast becoming obsolete. The SCART has been replaced by HDMI which gives you better image quality when you connect them to HD devices.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.

Cables body

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

These two cables look the same but don’t be deceived. There are a few subtle 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 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

 

USB cable

In a nutshell: Connect your laptop to your TV and see your photos and videos on the big screen

You can use a USB cable to either view content on your laptop on the TV – or use it to connect your TV to the internet to create a Smart TV.

Digital audio output

Digital audio output (SPD/IF)

In a nutshell: Boost your TV’s audio by connecting a home cinema sound system

If your sound system doesn’t have a HDMI connection then this is a great way of boosting your TV’s audio.

An SPD/IF port gives you sharper, high-quality sound by transmitting audio in digital format.

 

DVI & VGA cables (D-Sub)

In a nutshell: Another way to connect your computer to the TV, other than HDMI

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.

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Other digital equipment – RF modulator

In a nutshell: Watch digital channels in different rooms around the house

Want the freedom to watch your favourite Sky programmes in any room of the house? Then you’ll need an RF modulator.

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.

 

See our full range of cables