How to Connect Atari 2600 to Modern TV

Atari 2600 Sears Cartridge TeleGames package

Retro gaming is back! If you can’t attend a video game convention near you to play Atari 2600 classics. Maybe you can find an original Atari 2600 and travel back in time to play those classic games by popping in a game cartridge. Sure, there are plenty of emulators and systems that will allow you to play classic Atari 2600 games, but nothing beats the feeling of using original joysticks and paddles and using game cartridges.

So how do you connect a working Atari 2600 game console to your modern TV. There are several easy ways you can do this depending on your TV and entertainment setup.

Do you have a TV with old school antenna coaxial input?
Remember, having a coaxial connection on the back of your television is not enough. Your TV will also need to be able to scan for analog channels. Some modern TVs does not come with that option anymore. If your TV can still display analog signal from coaxial connection, then all you have to do is plug Atari 2600 into the switch that came with the system and plug the coaxial connection into the TV. Then scan for analog channels and make sure the TV channel and Atari 2600 channel is set to the same number, like channel 3.

If you don’t have or doesn’t want to use the TV/game switch, you can always purchase a TV RF adapter for a few bucks. This allows you to plug the RCA cable into the coaxial input directly.

Do you have a working VCR?
Hey, don’t laugh, some people do. You can plug the coaxial connection into the coaxial input in the back of a VCR. Then use a red, white and yellow RCA cable to output the audio and video signals to a TV or AV receiver.

Most modern TVs still come with a RCA input so this is a feasible way to getting Atari 2600 to display on modern TVs. If you have a AV receiver, then you can definitely connect the RCA output from the VCR to the receiver. Then select the right source when outputting the signals from receiver to TV.

Now that you have connected Atari 2600 to a modern TV, the video will look kind of fuzzy and not as sharp. But hey, gaming is all about game mechanics and these simple classic 2600 games are still fun to play today!