How to Connect Nintendo 64 to Smart TV

August 8, 2023

How to Connect Nintendo 64 to Smart TV

Gone are the days of the bulky CRTs; enter the era of sleek Smart TVs. So, how do you bridge the gap between this retro gaming powerhouse and modern television technology? Let’s dive in.

The N64, with its unique trident-shaped controllers and groundbreaking games, holds a special place in the hearts of many. But as we’ve transitioned to the age of Smart TVs, many wonder how to relive those classic gaming moments on a modern screen. The answer lies in understanding the connections and having the right tools.

connecting nintendo 64 to smart tv

You can connect the Nintendo 64 to smart tv by using an AV to HDMI converter. Plug N64’s AV cords into the converter, then connect HDMI to your TV.

Understanding the Connections

Difference Between AV and HDMI

In the realm of electronics, the way devices communicate with each other has seen a significant evolution. Two of the most commonly discussed connectors when it comes to gaming consoles and TVs are AV (Audio Video) and HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface). But what sets them apart?

AV, or Audio Video, is an older connection method that uses composite cables. These cables, often color-coded as yellow (video), white (audio left), and red (audio right), transmit analog signals. The quality, while acceptable in the past, doesn’t match today’s digital standards.

On the other hand, HDMI is a newer, all-digital connector that transmits both video and audio signals through a single cable. It supports higher resolutions and offers a clearer, sharper image and sound quality. Plus, with HDMI, there’s no need to juggle multiple cables for audio and video.

Smart TV Inputs Explained

Modern Smart TVs come equipped with a variety of input options, designed to cater to a range of devices, from gaming consoles like the N64 to streaming sticks and home theater systems. But with so many ports and terminologies, it can be a tad overwhelming. Let’s demystify these inputs.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface): This is the most common input found on Smart TVs today. It’s a digital connection that can transmit both high-definition video and audio through a single cable. Perfect for Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and most modern devices.

RCA (Radio Corporation of America): A more traditional set of inputs, RCA connectors are color-coded – yellow for video, and red and white for audio. They’re analog connectors and are often used for older devices, like VCRs or, in our case, the N64.

Ports: These are the physical slots on the back or side of your TV where you plug in your cables. Depending on the TV’s age and model, you might find a variety of ports, including HDMI, RCA, USB, and even older ones like VGA or component.

Step-by-Step Guide to Connecting N64 to Smart TV

Using Original Composite AV Cable

The Nintendo 64, a gem from the past, originally came with a composite AV cable, making it a straightforward connection for TVs of its time. However, with today’s Smart TVs, a few extra steps might be needed. Here’s how to do it using the original composite AV cable:

  1. Identify the Composite Ports on Your TV: Look for the color-coded RCA ports on your TV. Typically, they are yellow (video), white (left audio), and red (right audio).
  2. Connect the N64 AV Cable: Plug the N64’s composite cables into the corresponding RCA ports on the TV.
  3. SCART Adapter (if needed): If your TV doesn’t have direct RCA ports but has a SCART input, you can use a composite-to-SCART adapter. Plug the N64’s composite cables into the adapter, then connect the adapter to the TV’s SCART port.
  4. Select the Right Input Source on Your TV: Using your TV remote, navigate to the source/input selection and choose the appropriate AV or SCART input.
  5. Power On and Play: Turn on your N64, and if everything’s connected correctly, you should see the game display on your Smart TV.

Using HDMI Upscalers and Converters

While the original composite AV cable offers a direct connection method, the N64’s graphics might not shine as brightly on modern Smart TVs. Enter HDMI upscalers and converters: these devices take the N64’s original signal and transform it into a format suitable for high-definition displays, ensuring your classic games look their best.

  1. Choose the Right Upscaler/Converter: There are various HDMI upscalers and converters available in the market. Ensure you pick one that’s compatible with the N64 and offers good resolution output.
  2. Connect the N64 to the Upscaler: Using the original composite AV cable, connect the N64 to the upscaler or converter’s input.
  3. Connect the Upscaler to the TV: Using an HDMI cable, connect the upscaler’s HDMI output to an available HDMI port on your Smart TV.
  4. Select the HDMI Input on Your TV: Navigate to the source/input selection on your TV and choose the HDMI port where the upscaler is connected.
  5. Power Up and Enjoy: Turn on your N64. The upscaler will convert the N64’s signal to HDMI, and you should see the game in enhanced quality on your TV.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the right cables and connections, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Maybe the picture isn’t clear, or there’s a noticeable delay in the game’s response. Let’s address some common issues faced when connecting the N64 to a Smart TV and how to resolve them.

  1. Input Lag: This is a delay between pressing a button on the controller and seeing the action on screen.
    • Solution: Many modern TVs have a “Game mode” or similar setting that reduces input lag. Navigate to your TV’s settings and enable this mode when playing on the N64.
  2. Unclear Resolution: The game appears blurry or not as sharp as expected.
    • Solution: Ensure the upscaler or converter is set to the correct output resolution. If you’re using the composite AV cable directly, consider investing in an HDMI upscaler for a clearer picture.
  3. No Signal or Black Screen: The TV displays a “no signal” message or a blank screen.
    • Solution: Double-check all connections, ensuring they’re secure. Ensure the TV is set to the correct input source. If using an upscaler or converter, make sure it’s powered on.
  4. Distorted Audio: The game sound is unclear or has interference.
    • Solution: Check the audio connections, ensuring they’re snug. If using an upscaler, ensure it supports audio conversion and is set up correctly.

FAQ Section

Here are some frequently asked questions about connecting a Nintendo 64 to a smart TV:

Q: Can you hook a Nintendo 64 to a smart TV?

A: Yes, with the right adapters and cables, you can connect a Nintendo 64 to a smart TV.

Q: Why won’t my Nintendo 64 work on my smart TV?

A: There could be several reasons, including incompatible connections, faulty cables, or incorrect TV settings. Refer to the troubleshooting section for more details.

Q: How do I connect my Nintendo to my smart TV?

A: Use either the original composite AV cable or an HDMI upscaler/converter. Follow the step-by-step guide above for detailed instructions.

Q: How do you hook up a N64 to a modern TV?

A: The process involves using the original AV cables or an HDMI converter to connect the N64 to modern TV inputs. Ensure the TV is set to the correct input setting for the connection used.


The Nintendo 64, a cornerstone of retro gaming, has left an indelible mark on the hearts of many. Its timeless games and unique gameplay experience make it a console worth revisiting, even in an era dominated by Smart TVs and high-definition graphics.

Connecting the N64 to a modern Smart TV might seem like a daunting task at first glance. But with the right knowledge, tools, and a sprinkle of patience, it’s entirely feasible. Whether you’re using the original composite AV cables or opting for HDMI upscalers, the goal remains the same: to relive those cherished gaming moments in the best quality possible.


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