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Can You Use Apple TV On Older TV? 7 Easy Steps (2022)

Apple TV On Older TV

Don’t we all have that one old TV at home that we never get rid of?

Well, I’ve got great news for you!

Regardless if it’s an HD, non-HD, or even an analog TV…

You can use it to watch any shows on Apple TV.

So, if you wanna know how you can do it…

Read on to discover:

  • 7 easy steps to use Apple TV on an older TV.
  • 4 different ways to connect your older unit to Apple TV.
  • What to do if your devices have incompatible input ports.
  • 3 possible reasons Apple TV doesn’t work on your old unit.
  • And that’s only the beginning…

Can I use Apple TV on older TV?

You can use Apple TV on older TV as long as its input ports are compatible with the former. Then, use either an HDMI or component cables to connect them. Suppose your TV only has ports for composite cables. Use a converter to set up Apple TV on your old unit. Then, set the correct TV input source.


How to get Apple TV on older TV: 7 steps


#1: Identify the available input ports on your TV

Before you try to connect Apple TV to your older TV…

First, ensure that you can set up Apple TV on your unit.

And to do that, you must identify what type of input ports your TV has.

Note: Input ports are where you connect the cable of your external device.

Depending on your TV model, it’ll have all or some of these input ports:

  • HDMI: Has one rectangular connector.
  • Composite: Has 3 round connectors (red, blue, and yellow).
  • Component: Has 3 round video connectors (red, blue, and green) + 2 round audio connectors (red and white).

The latest TV models usually have HDMI and component input ports. In contrast, older units have either just one set of composite ports. Or both composite and component ports.

Note: Most TV ports have labels on them. So, you should be able to identify each easily.

Plus, round ports are usually color-coded as well.

#2: Identify the available output ports on your Apple TV

After that, check the output ports on your Apple TV device.

Note: The available output ports vary depending on your Apple TV model.

See this guide:

Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen)

  • HDMI port.

Apple TV 4K (1st Gen)

  • HDMI port.

Apple TV HD

  • HDMI port.

Apple TV (3rd Gen)

  • HDMI port.
  • Optical digital audio port.

Apple TV (2nd Gen)

  • HDMI port.
  • Optical digital audio port.

Apple TV (1st Gen)

  • HDMI port.
  • Analog audio ports.
  • Component video ports.
  • Optical digital audio port.

#3: Get the appropriate type of connection cable

As you can see from above, you can connect Apple TV to your older TV in several ways, including:

  • HDMI to HDMI connection.
  • Component to component connection.

“What type of cable should I use?”

It’ll depend on your Apple TV model and TV type.

To help you out, here’s a guide on when to use a specific type of cable:

Use an HDMI cable if you have an:

  • Apple TV HD & HDMI-supported TV.
  • Apple TV (3rd Gen) & HDMI-supported TV.
  • Apple TV (2nd Gen) & HDMI-supported TV.
  • Apple TV 4K (1st Gen) & HDMI-supported TV.
  • Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen) & HDMI-supported TV.

Use component cables if you have an:

  • Apple TV (1st Gen) & component-supported TV.

“But my TV only has ports for composite cables….”

If that’s the case, you should get a compatible cable converter. 

Use an HDMI-to-Composite converter if you have an:

  • Apple TV (1st Gen) & HDMI-supported TV.

Use a Component-to-Composite converter if you have an:

  • Apple TV (1st Gen) & composite-supported TV.

#4: Plug one end of the cable into the Apple TV port

Note: Your Apple TV device must be plugged in and powered ON.

To begin the actual process, plug one end of the cable into the Apple TV port.

Depending on the cable you’re using, here’s how to do it:

If you’re using an HDMI cable:

  1. Grab one end of the HDMI cable.
  2. Then, plug it into the “HDMI” port.

If you’re using a component cable:

  1. Plug the green cable into the green video port.
  2. Plug the blue cable into the blue video port.
  3. Plug the single red cable into the red video port.
  4. Plug the white cable into the white audio port.
  5. Plug the other red cable into the red audio port 

Note: You can plug the cables in any order.

#5: Plug the other end of the cable into the TV port

Note: Make sure that your TV is plugged in and powered ON.

Now, to connect the Apple on your older TV…

Plug the cable’s remaining end(s) into the TV’s IN port. 

Ensure that the port(s) has an “IN” label. Otherwise, your TV won’t output content from the Apple TV device.

If you’re using an HDMI cable:

  1. Plug the remaining end into the TV’s “HDMI IN” port.

If you’re using a component cable:

  1. Match the cables into the color-coded “Component IN” ports.

If you’re using a composite cable:

  1. Plug the red cable into the red port.
  2. Plug the white cable into the white port.
  3. Plug the yellow cable into the yellow port.

Note: You can insert the cables interchangeably.

#6: Adjust the TV input source

To finish the setup process, adjust the input source of your TV.

Note: The actual steps vary depending on your device.

But here’s the typical way of doing it:

  1. Press the INPUT/SOURCE button on the remote. Or on the TV control buttons.
  2. Select the input you use (e.g., HDMI, Component, or AV/composite).

Doing this will automatically display Apple TV on the screen.

#7: Sign in with your Apple ID

Sign In With Your Apple ID

Finally, sign in to Apple TV with your Apple ID credentials.

If you watch Apple Originals

Make sure that you’re signing in to an account that’s subscribed to Apple TV+.

Reading recommendation: 5 Steps To Get Apple TV On Samsung TV 


Apple TV doesn’t work on older TV: 3 causes


#1: Your devices have incompatible ports

You won’t be able to use Apple TV on your older TV if they have incompatible ports.

Meaning: Your TV doesn’t have input ports that can connect to your Apple TV device.

TVs usually have 3 types of input ports:

  • HDMI (1 cable).
  • Composite (3 cables).
  • Component (5 cables).

And Apple TVs have 2 types of output ports:

  • HDMI.
  • Component.

You can’t easily connect Apple TV to your unit if it has a composite input port. Since Apple TVs don’t support such a connection.

What to do:

If that’s your case, your best solution is to use a cable converter. 

Either use an HDMI-to-Composite or Component-to-Composite converter. Depending on which Apple TV model device you have.

You might also like: How to connect a non-smart TV to your phone?

#2: You haven’t changed the TV input source yet

If you’ve been able to connect your device…

But the Apple TV doesn’t show up on your TV screen.

Then perhaps, your TV input source isn’t set to the correct setting.

The reason:

While most TVs can easily detect a new input. Others require that you manually set the input setting. Especially if there are several devices connected to your TV.

What to do:

Change the TV input source by following these instructions:

  1. Press “SOURCE/INPUT” on the TV remote.
  2. Select HDMI, AV, or Component. Depending on your connection type.

#3: Your Apple TV device is damaged or worn out

Suppose the two solutions above didn’t work…

 Then your Apple TV device must be damaged or worn out.

Many things can cause it  to happen, including:

  • Old age.
  • Physical impact.
  • Hardware issues.

You’re most likely to experience this if you’re using an Apple TV (1st Gen), Apple TV (2nd Gen), or Apple TV (3rd Gen).

Since Apple has now considered these 3 models obsolete.”

Meaning: Apple has stopped providing hardware services on these models. Which makes them more prone to many types of damage and errors.

What to do:

If your Apple TV is broken and you’re using a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gen model…

Your only option is to upgrade your device. Get one of the latest Apple TV devices.

Pro tip: If your old TV doesn’t support 4K resolution, getting an Apple TV HD model should be enough.

Check out: Can Alexa Control Apple TV? DIY How-To Guide