So you’ve got a shiny new HD TV, with one small problem: your large VHS collection. Sure, those old tapes aren’t exactly high-resolution, but why buy new copies of movies you already own? The problem is you’re not sure if you can plug a VCR into your new television. Good news: you probably can, though it’s probably not going to look much better than your old television when you do.
The first thing you’re going to need to find out is what kind of cable your VCR uses to connect to televisions. Most VCRs use the standard cable connection to accomplish this; some newer ones will use RCA cables, the yellow, white and read cords that plug into the corresponding plugs. Either way, you should be able to plug in your VCR to your HD TV just fine.
VHS: Not HD
Turn on your VCR and play a tape to find out if your VCR works with your television. If it does, you’ll notice the image quality is decidedly not high definition. This makes sense, as the VHS tapes are not high definition and your VCR is incapable of producing an HD picture. Your HD television takes the signal from your VCR and displays it full screen, but not in HD, instead changing its picture to the resolution your VCR outputs.
If your VCR is the kind that uses the cable connection to plug in, and you want to use that connection for something besides watching VHS tapes, you have a problem. For example, if you wanted to use your cable port to watch digital broadcast television or digital cable, you’ve used up the only plug you can use to do so.
You can work around this a couple ways. If you don’t plan on using the VCR very often you can switch the cables when you want to watch a VHS; not terribly convenient, but it works. Alternatively, you could buy a new VCR that uses RCA cords instead of the cable.
Note that, if you have cable at home and your service is neither digital or HD, you can plug your cable into your VCR and use the VCR to browse television just like you did with your old TV.
Related to the above issue, you cannot use the VCR for recording HD or digital television without the use of a converter box for the VCR. Your old VCR cannot handle digital content as an input or an output, so conversion is not possible.