VCRs are rapidly going out of style, but they’re still useful for making quick recordings of TV shows and for playing your old VHS tapes. The presence of a new Samsung TV, or even an older one with a tube screen, might raise some concerns about properly hook it up. The good news is that most VCRs use simple coaxial or RCA cables, for which even the most advanced Samsung TVs have outlet jacks. VCR/DVD combos may be a little trickier, but only just.
1. Examine the back of your VCR to find the RCA outlet jacks. This is a series of three jacks grouped together and color marked yellow, red and white. The yellow outlet controls the video signal, the red outlet controls the right-hand audio signal and the white outlet controls the left-hand audio signal. There will probably be more than one set of RCA jacks. You want the ones labeled under “Out” or “Video Out.”
2. Check the back of your Samsung TV for an identical set of RCA cable jacks. Samsung flat-screens group them with a number of other types of jacks near the power cord. Older Samsung TVs will likely just have a single set of RCA jacks in the back, and some have RCA jacks in the front as well. (Front jacks are intended for video game connections, but they work just as well with a VCR.) They should be labeled “In,” “In From Antenna” or “Video In.” If there is more than one set of RCA jacks so labeled, don’t worry. Just pick one set and keep track of whichever one it is.
3. Connect the “Video Out” jacks on the VCR to the “Video In” jacks on the Samsung TV. The cables will line up by color: simply put the yellow cable in the yellow jacks and so on.
4. If either your TV or your VCR doesn’t have RCA jacks for some reason, look for a coaxial cable jack on each device. It will be a circular raised jack, like a screw, with a milky white plastic center and a pinhole in the exact middle. Connect the “Out” or “Video Out” coaxial jack on the VCR to the “In” or “Video In” coaxial jack on the Samsung TV.
5. If you have an HD VCR or a VCR/DVD combo and a high definition Samsung TV, you may wish to use component video jacks or HDMI jacks to hook them up. Both provide improved visual clarity: the HDMI is best, but component video works fine as well. Check the back of both devices to see if they are there. Component video jacks look just like RCA jacks, only they are color coded green, blue and red. HDMI jacks are narrow and rectangular. As with the other types of jack, you need to connect the “Out” jacks on the VCR to the corresponding “In” jack on the HDMI. With component video jacks, you still need to plug in the red and white RCA jacks as you did in Step 3 in order to receive sound. HDMI jacks cover sound and video both.
6. Connect your cable or satellite wire (or your antenna if you don’t have cable) to the coaxial “In” or “Video In” jack on the back of your VCR.
7. Turn on your TV and VCR, then push the Menu button on the Samsung remote. Go to “Input” and click “Enter,” then scroll through the connections until you reach the one corresponding to the jacks connected to the VCR. The titles onscreen will match the labels on the jacks.
8. Click “Enter” again. For older TVs, the task is simpler. Click the “Line” or “Input” button on the remote to switch your TV to the RCA cables. That should allow you to receive signals from the VCR and watch TV as normal.