How to Connect Apple TV to Old TV

How to Connect Apple TV to Old TV

Apple TV might seem like a standalone TV but it’s actually a media and streaming player of its own. It’s particularly handy at bypassing copy protection for Netflix and so forth when streaming via smartphone. So can you connect an old TV to an Apple TV?

Apple TV isn’t a TV but an app. Its full title is “The Apple TV app”. You use it with existing TVs though, mostly of the smart TV variety that can download and run the app in the first place like a laptop or smartphone could.  It’s a media software program that allows you to play Netflix and so forth.

How to Connect Apple TV to Old TV

Let’s say you have analog CRT TVs in your home. Some of them are a decade old others two decades old and so forth. If you are beyond 40 years old you might be using a black & white television though. Can you connect your Apple TV (app) to your old TV to allow you to watch Netflix or Prime TV?

Yes, you can. You can convert digital signals from even HD (High Definition) and 4K sources to make them work on old-timey CRTs and SD (Standard Definition) plasma TVs just fine.

How to Connect Apple TV to Old TV
How to Connect Apple TV to Old TV

It Mostly Depends on the Non-Smart TV

You need a converter or adapter in order to allow you to convert the signal from a smart device running Apple TV. Depending on the TV, the other end of the HDMI, Lightning, or USB-C converter might be an RCA composite, VGA, or component connection.

The Apple TV Box should connect just fine to an older analog TV as long as you’ve availed of the right equipment. The signal should be converted from digital to analog or from HD to SD to make your Apple TV, Netlix, Hulu, Prime Video, and so forth streaming successful.

See more: How to connect Apple TV to smart TV

The Actual Methods Involved in Making the Connection

Here’s what you need to do.

  • Verification: Check if your CRT or analog TV has RCA jacks. They’ll likely be colored white, red, and yellow. Otherwise, they could be a component connection with red, blue, and green jacks.
  • Connection: Get a converter box for HDMI to composite 3 RCA. After getting this converter, you can connect your Apple TV box via standard HDMI cable and port then connect the TV via composite jacks.
  • Conversion: The converter should convert the signal to 480p and even cut off the sides for a boxy or 4:3 aspect ratio versus the current widescreen 16:9 standard we presently enjoy. Even the sound should also be converted.

Compatibility of Apple Models and Non-Smart TVs

You can also avail of Apple TV hardware like the black Apple TV 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen, 4th Gen, 4K, and 4K 2nd Gen to a standard non-smart TV. They mostly feature compatibility with HDTV with HDMI ports. Like with the Apple TV Box, you need a converter.

Also, take note that some HDTVs aren’t necessarily smart TVs but because they have an HDMI port they should interface and connect fine with the Apple TV line described above.

The 2nd Gen models showcase compatibility with:

  • High-Definition TVs with HDMI support and can display 720p at 60/50Hz.
  • Includes popular models from manufacturers such as Hitachi, Westinghouse, JVC, Vizio, LG, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Sharp, NEC, Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Philips, and Pioneer.

The 3rd and 4th Gen models showcase compatibility with:

  • Any High-Definition TVs with HDMI support.
  • Fair warning—older HDTVs will feature video distortion when used with 3rd and 4th Gen Apple TVs.
  • Confirm TV compatibility with your specific 3rd or 4th Gen Apple TV and match the date of manufacturing between those generations of Apple TV with the TVs you’re trying out.

For Apple TV 4K and 4K 2nd Gen, they showcase compatibility with:

  • Any High-Definition TVs with HDMI support.
  • Any Ultra HD TV with HDMI support.

How Do You Specifically Connect the Black Apple TV Models to TVs?

Here’s how to specifically setup black Apple TV models.

  • Connecting the Cables: Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the back of your TV and then the other end to the back of the Apple TV.
  • Optical Audio: If you’re using optical digital audio then use the right cable to connect with the audio input port on your TV or receiver. The other end should then connect to your Apple TV Box.
  • Only for 2nd and 3rd Gen: Optical audio connections only apply to 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen Apple TV models. The 4K Apple TV and the 4th Gen Apple TV do not have the optical audio port.
  • Take Note: The built-in Wi-Fi can link the Apple TV to your wireless network. If you have an Ethernet-based network the link your Apple TV to your network with an Ethernet cable instead.
  • Connect the Power Cord: Connect your power plug to the socket or outlet and power cord connector to the back of your Apple TV.
  • Take Care of Your Apple TV Box: Don’t place anything atop the Apple TV Box. Any objects placed atop the device can block the wireless signal from your TV. Don’t place the Apple TV on other electronic equipment on your media cabinet or shelf as well.
  • Turn on your TV and select the Input: If you see a black TV screen, make sure you’ve set the input correctly (HDMI1, HDMI2, and so forth) so that it matches the port you linked your Apple TV to. You should see the Apple TV Home Screen instead.
  • Middleman Streamcasting: If your MacBook, iPhone, or iPad has issues with streamcasting or mirroring Netflix and so forth directly on your non-smart HDTV, you can use Apple TV mirroring to bypass the HDCP block that prevents you to see copyrighted content.

Never Forget the Following

Apple Inc. developed the line of media player software apps known as the Apple TV app to allow Apple devices to play media such as films and TV shows care of streaming services over compatible TVs. For non-smart TVs, you need smart device mirroring to make it work.

You can also avail of Apple TV channels for a video on demand experience provided by partners like Cinemax, Boomerang, Discovery Channel, Starz, Pantaya, Epix, Showtime, BET+, Paramount+, Noggin, Tastemade, Curiosity Stream, Mubi, BBC Select, BritBox, AMC+, Allblk, Shudder, and Acorn TV.


  1. Mitch Bartlett, “How to Connect Apple TV to an Old Analog TV“,, February 24, 2019
  2. Apple TV Q&A“,, May 25, 2021


I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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