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Connecting your old SNES to a Modern Smart TV

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers as a classic console that defined a generation of gaming. However, with the evolution of technology, connecting an original SNES from the 90s to a modern smart TV might seem daunting. Fear not, as with the right tools and knowledge, you can enjoy your favorite SNES games on the big screen once again.

What about an Analog CRT TV?

Now some folks will want their SNES experience to be as legit as the one they had as a child growing up, if you fall into this camp, then perhaps you might be more interested in picking up an old analog CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV on Ebay. They can be found quite cheaply (sometimes free) online, and in antique shops or charity shops, but the downside is those old TVs do take up a lot of space! If however you are determined, and you have a modern TV you would rather connect your SNES to, read on!

Connecting the SNES to your HDTV

Connecting SNES to Modern TV

Connecting the SNES: The first step in playing your original SNES on a modern smart TV is connecting the two devices. Unlike modern consoles that use HDMI connections, the SNES utilizes composite or RF connections. Fortunately, there are several options available to bridge this gap.

One option is to use an RCA composite to HDMI converter. These devices take the analog signal from the SNES and convert it into a digital signal that can be transmitted via HDMI to your smart TV. They are relatively affordable and easy to set up, making them a popular choice among retro gaming enthusiasts. Some of these even upscale the signal and give options for 16:9 or 4:3 picture output.

What about a Budget Upscaler – AV2HDMI?

We have tried this budget AV2HDMI upscaler with our SNES and we were not overly impressed. It’s worth noting it only works one way (Composite Input and HDMI output to TV), and the same seller sells another box which does the opposite called HDMI2AV. These converters are also powered by a separate supply, so you need to make sure you have enough free power points, or invest in a multi point extension lead.

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AV2HDMI Convertor SNES

1080P HDMI-compatible To AV Scaler Adapter Video Composite Converter Box RCA AV to HDMI Best Value

AV2HDMI will upscale and connect your SNES from Composite inputs, and outputting via HDMI to the TV.

Picture Quality of AV2HDMI?

We felt the picture still leaves much to be desired and is frankly unacceptable. It should connect and run fine, but it will look pretty poor. Unfortunately, if you want to play with a good picture, you’re going to have spend a little more or consider a modern alternative like the Retro-Bit Super Retro Trio HD that plays original SNES cartridges and has an inbuilt HDMI out.

The Premium Option – Retro Scaler 2x

Retro Scaler SNES Modern TV Connection

If you have the budget, its worth spending a little more on something like the Bitfunx RetroScaler2x, This A/V to HDMI-compatible Converter is available on Amazon UK and also acts as a Line-doubler (with smoothing option) for Retro Game Consoles and will work with PS2, N64, NES, SNES, Dreamcast & Saturn games consoles.

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RetroScaler for SNES TV Connection

Bitfunx RetroScaler2x Best for picture

Bitfunx RetroScaler2x A/V to HDMI-compatible Converter and Line-doubler for Retro Game Consoles PS2/N64/NES/Dreamcast/Saturn

Available in both blue and red, the Retroscaler supports both NTSC and PAL signals, but they are not converted to each other.  That means you can plug in whatever signal your target device is compatible with, but NTSC might not work on PAL HDMI-compatible devices and vice versa (as with any console that doesn’t match its TV region).

Check your TV for Composite / Component Inputs

Alternatively, if your smart TV has composite or component inputs (unlikely in 2024 but some Samsung TV’s had these up until 2021), you can connect the SNES directly to these ports using the original cables. While this method may require some additional cables if you no longer have them, it can still provide a reliable connection and is often more budget-friendly than purchasing a converter.

If you have lost the original composite SNES cable, this alternative works just as well:

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Connecting your old SNES to a Modern Smart TV

Replacement Audio Video Adapter Cable Cord for SNES Best Value

New Av Audio Video Adapter Cable Cord For Snes Super Nes Nintendo N64 Game Cube Rca To Av Audio/video Tv Composite Cable Cord

Check your TV for SCART Inputs

Alternatively, if your smart TV has SCART inputs , you can connect the SNES directly to this ports using the original cable, or an alternative one like below. The below one is an NTSC Smart Cable, if you need a PAL one, Amazon have a number of these available too. It’s VERY important you purchase the correct SCART cable for your SNES or you run the risk of damaging it.

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SNES Scart Cable

Replacement SNES Scart Cable Best Value

SNES / Gamecube /N64 Console AV TV Video Scart RGB Cable. Cable Length: Approx.184cm

The Likely Cost Involved:

The cost of connecting your original SNES to a modern smart TV will vary depending on the method you choose. A composite to HDMI converter can typically be found for around $20-$30, while cables and adapters for direct connections may cost slightly less. If your budget can stretch it then the BitfunX RetroScaler 2x is definitely a superior option over the AV2HDMI converters and will set you back just under $50. Overall, the investment is relatively low considering the nostalgia and enjoyment that playing classic SNES games can bring.

The Experience

The Experience of Playing Authentic Original SNES Cartridges: One of the most rewarding aspects of playing on an original SNES is the authenticity of using genuine cartridges. Unlike modern digital downloads, SNES cartridges offer a tangible connection to gaming history and can evoke powerful memories of childhood nostalgia.

Be sure to check out our feature on the Best 25 SNES games of All Time here!

Additionally, collecting and preserving original SNES cartridges can be a hobby in itself, with many rare and sought-after titles fetching high prices among collectors. By playing on original hardware, you not only get to experience the games as they were meant to be played but also become part of a vibrant retro gaming community.

Various Other Solutions

If you don’t fancy trying to connect an original SNES to a modern smart TV, there are several other options available for playing SNES cartridges on both original and newer hardware. One option is to invest in a high-end clone console, such as the Analogue Super NT or the RetroN 5.

These consoles offer modern features like HDMI output and compatibility with original cartridges, providing a convenient way to enjoy classic SNES games without the limitations of aging hardware.

Check out our article here on the various options available. Best 6 SNES Consoles for playing Retro Super Nintendo Games

Conclusion

Conclusion: In conclusion, playing an original SNES from the 90s on a modern smart TV is entirely feasible with the right tools and knowledge. Whether you choose to connect your SNES directly to your TV or invest in a high-end clone console, the experience of revisiting classic SNES games is sure to bring joy and nostalgia to gamers of all ages. So dust off your cartridges, fire up your console, and get ready to embark on a retro gaming adventure like no other.

Enjoyed this feature on TechTrifle? You might also like our piece on SNES Cartridge Storage Solutions and the Best Wireless Controllers for the original Super Nintendo.

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Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

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