How to Hook up Cable Box to TV without HDMI

A cable box basically unscrambles a TV signal or converts the digital signal to analog. It enables your TV to run cable channels. A digital cable box is not always required, but if you want to hook up a cable box to your TV, it is not necessary to use an HDMI cable. In this post, you are going to learn how to hook up cable box to TV without HDMI.

Options Using RCA Cables

There are three types of RCA cables with varying numbers of connectors. These 3 types are basic RCA audio cables, composite video cables, and component video cables.

A basic RCA cable just transmits audio. It comes with two connectors colored red and white. They go into their corresponding red and white jacks.

The second type, composite RCA cables transmit both audio and video. This set has 3 cables: red, white and yellow. A composite cable can also transmit only video.

Component video cables also transmit videos, using multiple channels. They come with three cables: green, blue and red. If you want to transmit audio, you will also have to use a 5RCA component cable.

The Backstory

Back in 2009, most TV stations were required to convert the content from analog to digital. However, this order was not intended for cable providers. Unscrambled and analog cable services have been eliminated since 2012, as per the decisions of cable services. 

That is why you can no longer use the “cable ready” feature of your older TV. All content is now scrambled and copy-protected. Therefore, an external box is now necessary. 

The Procedure


  • Step 1: Plug the blue, green, and red component cable into the corresponding jacks of your cable box.
  • Step 2: Hook up one end of the white and red RCA cable into the corresponding jacks. The jacks are usually on the back of your cable box.
  • Step 3: Look at the other end of your component cable and plug the blue, green, and red cables into the input jacks. The arrangements are labeled “Component 1”, “Component 2” etc.
  • Step 4: Make sure that all the finishes of the 3 RCA cables are properly embedded into the
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Understanding the Mechanism

Before you actually learn how to hook up cable box to TV without HDMI, you may want to understand the mechanism because it is helpful. Providing your TV has analog RCA stereo cables and RCA outputs, you can easily hook up a cable box to your TV. We are going to discuss a very quick and easy option. Usually, generic RCA cables are colored red and white.

The red one is for the right channel, the white one is for the left. So, you have to make sure that the colors of the output jacks of your TV match the colors of the cables.

Find the white output and plug the white cable into it. In the same way, find the red output and plug the red cable into it. Remember, if they are reversed, your TV will send incorrect stereo signals. Take a look at the back of your receiver. It has RCA inputs. Plug the cables into the inputs.

If your cable box has many inputs, you can consider writing down which inputs have been plugged into. Setting up the input is a lot easier in this way. Take a look at the menu system of your TV before you set up those inputs. Use the remote control to access the menu of the cable box. From the cable box menu, choose the analog input. Make sure that the cable box is now processing sound.

Alternatively, if you use a digital coaxial audio cable, it will send digital signals from your TV to the cable box. It is a single cable, and that is why it can so easily connect your TV to your cable box. The cables come with round barrels.

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Your smart TV has a rear output jack. Plug the coaxial cable into the jack. The cable that comes from the TV should go into the input jack of your cable box. The jack is on the rear of the box. To remember which jack has been used, you can write it down. From the menu, the TV audio should be set to “audio out”.

In functionality, an optical audio cable is not very different from a coaxial audio cable. The optical audio cable carries digitized audio from your smart TV. This cable is referred to as TOSLINK. The cables have square ends. The back of your smart TV has a jack for the optical audio cable. Then take the cable box and plug in the optical cable into the jack. To choose the correct input, use your remote.

If you are using Roku, here’s how to cast your PC to Roku.

Is a Cable Box Necessary?

The main purpose of using a cable box is to stream videos to your TV. But this device can serve other purposes. Even if you have not subscribed to premium channels, your TV will need a box. This is because cable services are now completely digital.

Extra experiment

Once you have learned how to hook up cable box to TV without HDMI, you can do some extra experiments. This experiment may increase your cable bill cost. It may also affect your cable TV experience. If there are multiple TVs in your home and if you want to independently access the cable channels, you will have to get in touch with your cable provider and rent a box.

If you have 4K ultra, HD, and analog TVs, you will find a cable box very helpful. A cable box can be used for all types of TVs. However, to enjoy HD movies, you will probably need an HDMI output.

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 Alternatives to the Cable box

If you are serious about learning how to hook up cable box to TV without HDMI, you may also want to learn about the alternatives to the cable box. The cable box has long been considered an annoying tool. The reason is simple: these boxes require you to remember the channel numbers, and that is not a good experience for most of us.

Another bad thing about these additional boxes is that they are a bit expensive. This is the case especially when you have multiple televisions. As streaming is getting more and more popular, cable boxes are losing their popularity.

Due to monthly cable expenses and some other reasons, you may want to find alternatives to cable boxes and lessen your expenses. 

First of all, you do not need multiple boxes for multiple TVs. Connect the cable box to your main TV and use antennas for other TVs. This way, you will at least be able to enjoy the local channels. For an analog TV, a DTV converter will be required for this process. 

If you have a smart TV, you can consider internet streaming. But in that case, you may have to risk losing the local channels. Internet streaming can also result in delayed watching of some shows. Streaming channels, especially big ones such as Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu require fees. Some channels are free but they require a subscription to other satellite services such as ABC, NBC, or Fox NOW. 

How to Hook up Cable Box to TV Without HDMI – Conclusion

We have discussed the procedure in detail and hopefully, now you know how to hook up cable box to TV without HDMI. It does not require much technical knowledge. However, if you face any technical problem, we encourage you to do a little bit of research online.