How to Make Retro Game Systems Look Good on HDTV

Let’s get it out there: having to game with a pixelated display can be pretty annoying. That’s exactly what happens when you hook up your old game console with an HDTV. So, how to make retro game systems look good on HDTV? That we’ll find out today.

For instance, in this guide, we’ll walk you through the perfect ways to make the most out of your game console when paired up with HDTV. To sum up, enhancing your HDTV display involves choosing the right cables, using the game mode, and using an external scaler. 

For detailed information, let’s dive in. 

Can You Connect Old Game Systems to New TVs?

play old games on new TVs

In most cases, you can connect an old game console to a new TV — or an HDTV. It actually depends upon the console — how old it is and what display options it supports. But since there are plenty of adapters available, pairing up an old game console to HDTV is usually possible. 

Now, how do you connect an old game system to an HDTV?

Follow the steps below to do that:

1. Take a look at the display ports on the TV — if ports like RCA/Component & Coaxial are available, you’ll likely be able to connect the console to the TV.

2. Once you’ve made sure you have these ports on the HDTV, you can simply get a cable according to the ports available on the console and connect the console to HDTV.

3. If the HDTV doesn’t have the mentioned ports, it’ll likely contain HDMI. But since old consoles generally lack HDMI, get a compatible adapter to hook up HDTV to your game system. 

How to Make Old Game Systems Look Good On HDTV? 

Below are the most effective ways to get a fantastic display out of your game system when connected to an HDTV. 

Pick the Right Cables 

right cables for old games on new tv

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when hooking an HDTV to your game system is not choosing the right cables. The “right” cables translate to the most efficient option available that’s compatible with both your console and HDTV.

For instance, if both your console and HDTV offer HDMI, using an older display standard will definitely result in a mediocre display. Whereas, you could get a much better display by simply using HDMI.

But let’s say your game console doesn’t come with HDMI but HDTV does. What should you do in that case? Is getting away with an older display standard — that is compatible with both devices — better?

Well, no. A better choice would be to use an HDMI adapter but stick to the HDMI display standard. Similarly, you can decide for whatever case you have. 

Choose a Powerful Adapter

Display adapters are of different types. Some may be powerful while others may be mediocre. The preference, as you guessed, should be an original adapter that’s powerful. 

Even if you’ve succeeded at finding the most effective cable for your case, choosing a mediocre adapter mistakenly could affect the overall display quality. So, don’t compromise on a good adapter if you really want a good display for gaming. 

Enable Game Mode on the Monitor (if Applicable)

enable game mode on new tv

It’s not uncommon for HDTVs to offer game mode nowadays. If your HDTV supports it, we’d definitely recommend using it. Below are the main benefits of enabling game mode on a monitor when connected to a game console:

  • It lowers the display response rate for the most exciting gaming experience.
  • The display quality is forced to improve.
  • The game mode causes the display to skip high-rendering effects for smooth gaming.

But, how to find out if your HDTV supports game mode or not? 

Follow the steps below for that:

  • 1. Power on the HDTV.
  • 2. Head over to present modes in the display menu.
  • 3. Look out for game mode — if you find it, turn it on. Skip this step, otherwise.

Use an External Display Scaler

An external scalar is designed to alter the display resolution. In most cases, it’s used to increase the display resolution which helps to overcome pixelated view. 

That way, connecting an external scaler to your game console and HDTV helps to make the display more accurate. It helps to ensure a more exciting gaming experience.

If you’re not sure, the display cable from the console goes into the display scaler and a cable that arises from it then goes into the HDTV:

Game console >> Display scalar >> HDTV (Monitor)

Key Takeaways

How to make retro game systems look good on HDTV? Here are the key answers to your query:

  • The first step to achieving a fantastic HDTV display out of your old game console is to pick the most efficient cable that supports both these devices. 
  • It’s also important to go for an effective adapter (if required) or the display quality may be compromised. 
  • If your HDTV supports game mode, we strongly recommend enabling it — its benefits include a faster and smoother gaming experience. 
  • Lastly, using an external display scalar can help to drastically improve the display quality.