Apple TV works fine with non-HDTV

by editor @ on March 23, 2007

A big problem people have with the Apple TV is that you ‘require an HDTV’ to use it with; and a lot of the reviews posted are repeating this statement.

We have had a couple of people write in asking if some combination of cables could be used to rectify this. We are here to report, there is nothing to rectify, all you need is a TV with component inputs. Several of the first photos and videos on the net showed a “480i”, which is standard ‘old TV’ resolution in the Apple TV settings menu.

To confirm, the people over at Rogue Amoeba Software hooked an Apple TV up to a ‘square’ TV, and have a photo of it working just fine:

  • Unless your television set can letterbox the content, I wouldn’t call that “works fine”. That’s anamorphic content on your 4:3 display, the aspect ratio is all wrong.

  • Rob Gomes

    I can confirm that a Sony KD-27FS170 (27″ 4:3 CRT) also works properly with AppleTV in 480i mode through the single component video input. Using the on-screen display, press the MENU button on your Sony remote, and move over to the “Setup” section and ensure that “16:9 Enhanced” is set to “auto”. This should work fine for both playing back widescreen content (720×404) and letterbox content (640×480). Though if you’re having issues with widescreen content or the menus not displaying in the correct aspect ratio (may be possible with initial revisions, as this set has been around for well over 5 years), you can set it to “on”.

  • Matt

    I got it working on my JVC D-series 4:3 TV. I had to find the service menu and manually squash the picture down to a 16:9 ratio (JVC didn’t see fit to build in a user-enabled “widescreen enhanced” mode, although I’ve read that most Sony models have one), but it looks great (relatively speaking).

    I’d imagine that most 4:3’s with component inputs have *some* method of squashing the vertical size to even out the aspect ratio.

  • Sasha S.

    I am in Netherlands – me and many people here will be getting their AppleTVs in few days – on 28th of March. European 4:3 and even 16:9 CRT TV’s mostly have SCART connectors which support RGB signal (Apple has YPrPb component signal also sometimes reffered to as YUV signal) – I have been looking into the most affordable way to connect AppleTV to a standard definition or Widescreen CRT TV.

    Advice 1: Look into your TV’s User’s Manual and see it if supports YPrPb component signal via SCART connector. Since official SCART standard does not include this type of signal the chances are very slim.

    Advice 2: You will need a device that will convert YPrPb component video to RGB and have SCART connector. The cheapest one I could find is made by german company HAMA and it is called: HAMA VIDEO KONVERTER 2/3.
    It can be obtained for 90 euro with Conrad Electronic (very big electronic component catalogue) –

    WARNING: I HAVE NOT YET TESTED THIS DEVICE MYSELF! As soon as I have I will post the update here.

  • diadoram

    lol look at the apple tv wobbling on the dudes regular tv. 🙂 but hell. at least he has got guitar hero! greatest game ever! wooo!

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  • Tak

    I was looking around the web for Component to Composite adapters, and found a Component to S-Video adapter for AppleTV that is being pre-ordered! It is expected to ship April 30th for $99 US.

  • Thomas B

    You can plug Apple TV into a regular TV’s composite input (from the green luma output), but you only get black and white. It’s good enough for a preview while you wait for your HDTV to arrive. – Thomas


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  • sam

    what is component inputs?

  • Andy


    as Sasha S said you can connect it via scart, in the uk maplin sells a converter for £24.99 unfrotunatly i have to convert to scart then scart to composite for my sony amp as it only accepts that format, its probably best to split befor hand though if you are in the same situation

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  • Eric

    Does anyone think this component to s-video connector would work to get an apple TV hooked up via s-video? I have an HDTV downstairs but would like to use the apple TV upstairs on an older TV with s-video/composite inputs on it once in a while.

  • Dave

    Apple TV works on old TV in black and white…. (Not the best, but it works!)
    If you connect the Green of the component from the Apple TV to the composite video in of your old TV (Normal AV in) and set the Apple TV to “480i” resolution (Which you can do by holding down the “menu” and the “+” on your remote) you will get the Apple TV to work in black and white. No good for movies, but if you are like me and just want it as a music library, it works fine.

  • Al Moser

    A converter fro Apple TV is now available here:
    It converts the component output to a composite, which almost all older TV’s have. This is great news for those of us that don’t want to upgrade to HDTV yet!

  • Sweet. I can’t wait to try this out. I am ordering my Apple TV Later this month. I’m holding my breath and hoping Apple will release an update for the shopping season.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Raj

    Hi guys,

    In regards to : Dave Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Can anyone tell me how do I get my Non HDTV plasma I bought last year to wrk with the Apple TV in colour!!??

  • Aiden

    Okies guys i need your help in getting this straight,

    I’m hopeless with technology so im hoping im reading this right.

    So the apple tv will play on any older non HD TV? if so is it easy to do and what extra cables software do i need, if any? i think i just have the standard yellow, red and white ports, is that all i need or is there something else i need.

    cheers and thanks for your help.

  • Martijn

    Also I have an old Sony 4:3 TV but according to this page: you can connect your TV using the green connector, run the patches and you get color output on your SD TV, using normal cables and withouth the need of costly converters.

  • Ammo

    does the new apple
    tv work w/ non hdtvs though

  • what about the new model?

  • Casey_gunning

    I hooked up my 1st generation apple tv to my standard Sony vega tv with composite cables and i just got a really fuzzy screen. What’s the problem?

  • I have a Sony TV is KV-40XBR700 manufactured 2/2002
    I have a HDMI to Component (YPbPr) & R/L Stereo Audio Converter

    Monoprice MYCH01
    The TV works with DirecTV input to the converter, but not with Apple TV input to the converter.
    Will this combination work or do I need something else?

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