Does a Roku Work With Old TVs?


If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a Roku model so that you can stream video from the Internet to your television, then you already know how great of a device it is. We’ve written about why you should buy a Roku, as well as answered some common questions about it, but you might be wondering if your television can be connected to a Roku. Unfortunately there isn’t a clear cut answer to this question, so continue reading below to find out about the different Roku models and whether or not you will be able to connect an older television to one of them.

 

Different Connection Options for the Roku

You are going to have two basic options for connecting your Roku to your TV. The first option is to use an HDMI cable. All of the Roku models have this connection option, and it will allow you to stream the HD content that the Roku is capable of producing.

The second option is to use A/V cables (the ones with the red, yellow and white cables). Not every Roku has this connection option, and you will be limited to streaming content at 480p resolution. The Roku will downscale HD content, however, so there won’t be anything that you want to stream from Netflix or Amazon Prime, for example, that you will be prevented from viewing.

The sample images below are from the Roku 1 and the Roku 2 XD, which are two of the Roku models that offers both connection options. As you are shopping for your Roku model you will want to find an image of the back of the device and look for one of the circled ports below. These are the connection options that will allow you to use the Roku with a television that does not have an HDMI port.

ports for connecting roku to older tv

Roku 1

 

connecting an older roku to an older tv

Roku 2 XD

 

Chart of Current Roku Models and Connection Options

Below are the Roku models that are currently available for purchase from Amazon. You can click the name of the Roku model to check out its’ page on Amazon and see if that model of Roku is best for your needs.

Roku Model

A/V Connection

HDMI Connection

Roku LT gree-check-mark gree-check-mark
Roku 1 gree-check-mark gree-check-mark
Roku 2 gree-check-mark gree-check-mark
Roku 3 Untitled-1 gree-check-mark
Roku HD gree-check-mark gree-check-mark
Roku 2 XD gree-check-mark gree-check-mark
Roku 2 XS gree-check-mark gree-check-mark

 

So, as you can see, the majority of Roku models that are currently available will work with an older TV, and you will be able to stream and view content from your streaming services with a Roku.

If you’re thinking about choosing between a Roku 1 and a Roku LT, check out our Roku 1 vs. Roku LT article.

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