How do I connect a VCR to a Flat Screen TV?

As much as time has changed, you might still have those golden memories that you would like to preserve. Those memories come in terms of VCR. But hey! You already have that unique flat screen and viewing the videos would be a delight! But how do you convert a VCR to a flat-screen TV? 

Do you know that you do not have to toss those good old VCR tapes just because we are in an ERA of flash drives? Some companies are working towards having an improved VCR format amid this new technology. 

Anyway, back to the main topic, the truth is, there are different options on how to connect VCR/VHS to your flat screen. Most LCD TVs, whether 720p, 1080p do not support composite input that is used by some of the best VHS players or best VCR players. Therefore, most VCRs combine composite and component into a single input connection. 

Essentially, what you need is to connect from the ‘’line out of the VCR machine to the AV in the TV. And actually, this has to be done for both the audio and the video. Because not all VCRs are the same, we will start by taking a look at those that have two audio sockets, in other words, stereo.

Connecting a stereo with the red, yellow and white connectors

To be able to connect your VCR to a flat-screen TV, first, you will need a cable with three leads, red, yellow and white. You know – like those you connect to your soundbar system. This means the line will have three connectors at each end. The connectors are also known as RCA or in other words phono plugs. These three plugs have different purposes. The yellow pin is for video signal, the white cable is for the left audio while the red cable is for the right audio signal.

Finding this cable will not be a hassle as it is available at most electric stores. 

Connecting a VCR with only one white audio out (mono)

Some VCRs are not stereo; they are mono. This means that they do not have a right and left audio output channel. Alternatively, they have one audio channel. Therefore, they have a single white output for the mono audio. Most old TV’s had only one speaker. Thus, the VCR machine needed only one audio channel.

Anyway, to connect a mono VCR to a flat-screen TV, you join the ”mono out” of the VCR to the “mono in” of the TV. The TV directs the sound to both the left and right speakers.

What if your TV does not have a mono input?

  1. You can connect the ”mono out” of the VCR to the ”left in of the TV. In this case, the sound will simply be sent to the left speaker. It’s important to note that the red cable is not used to connect to the TV.
  2. You can also use an adapter cable. The single black plug should be connected to the out audio of the VCR. The white and red leads are connected to the audio sockets of the TV. This, in fact, sends the same mono audio to the speakers of the TV.
  3. Another option is to use a mono stereo adapter plug. This plugs to the ‘’audio out’’ on the back of the VCR. The white and red lead is from the two sockets of the adapter to the white and red ‘’audio in’’ of the TV. 

It doesn’t matter which option you will use to connect the mono audio; the sound will automatically come from the TV.

What if you want to record a VCR?

Connecting a VCR to a flat-screen TV is one thing while recording an old VCR is another thing.

It’s important to note that an old VCR may not be capable of recording TV shows if it doesn’t have a digital tuner. Even if your VCR machine has a digital tuner, it cannot record in HD. Instead, it will record in SD.  

This means that the quality will be low as compared to other options. However, if you use a small analogue TV, the rate will be consistent. 


If you have a VCR/VHS machine around the house and you are not able to connect to your new flat-screen TV, you can use a third-party converter. A third-party converter converts RCA signal to HDMI and then connects to the TV. With this, you can use it even in the latest television.

The only drawback is that when you connect the VCR to the latest TV, you will experience motion lag and edge artifacts. Additionally, you will see black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. This is because of the screen aspect ratio. However, this should not stop you from enjoying your old VCR tapes.