F-Zero X running on an N64 connected to an LG HDTV

Dug your N64 out of the cupboard and set it up only to find it won’t connect to your TV? Don’t panic! Chances are that it still works, and it’s just not compatible with your newer TV. That said, you may still be able to get it to work.

We’ve come up with a guide to help get your N64 working with your HDTV. While we can’t guarantee these potential fixes will work, they’re at least worth giving a go. After all, N64 emulation on a PC is notorious for being inconsistent and often poor in terms of quality, so you should stick to the real deal if you can!

Nintendo 64 console, power cable, video cable and RCA-to-SCART adapter

Connecting your N64 to a modern TV guide

Before getting started, make sure you have the following:

– N64 console
– N64 power supply lead
– N64 RCA connector cable (preferred) or N64 RF adaptor cable
– an N64 game – the system doesn’t have an OS, so it won’t show a picture without a game cartridge inserted.

Find the your TV’s RCA composite/SCART ports

Ideally, you will want to connect your N64 to your HDTV via RCA composite connectors (AV IN 2 in photo) or a SCART port (AV IN 1 in photo) (you will need an RCA-to-SCART plug to do this).

AV connections on the back of a TV to connect an N64

Alternatively, you can connect via the TV’s antenna socket, but you will need to tune the N64 into one of the TV’s channels if you do this.

My TV doesn’t have an RCA composite or SCART port

Many newer TVs no longer feature composite RCA or SCART connections.

Use the component port if you have one

If your TV has component input (5 ports, green, blue, red, and red and white ports for audio) try using it. Put the yellow video plug into either the green or blue port – it may not work at all or correctly (bad picture) with either of these.

Use the antenna in port (using the RF adapter)

You may be able to connect your N64 to your TV via the antenna port using the N64 RF adapter. If you have a PAL N64 then chances are that your system came with this out of the box. You will need to hook it up to your antenna port (you can use a switch which allows you to swap between TV signal and the N64) and tune the N64 in.

My TV only has HDMI ports/none of the other connections work

You will need to consider using either a converter/upscaler or, if you’re a real enthusiast, getting your hands on the elusive UltraHDMI N64 mod.

NEET composite to HDMI video converter

NEET composite to HDMI video converter (Image credit: James Doughty)

Using a converter/upscaler is not ideal, as it will introduce lag. On a CRT TV, when you press a button on your controller, you see the resulting action of that button press happen almost immediately on-screen. Converters/upscalers process the video signal and, in doing so, can introduce a delay between your input and what happens on screen.

You can get a converter/upscaler for an affordable price, but you may find that lower-end models introduce a lot of lag.

My TV has an RCA composite/SCART/component port, but doesn’t display the N64’s video output

Some newer TVs can’t process the signal that the N64 console outputs (or they process it incorrectly), despite having the correct ports.

In this instance, you will need to consider getting a converter/upscaler to convert the image to a higher signal output or, if you have enough pennies, an UltraHDMI N64 mod.

NEET composite to HDMI converter

NEET composite to HDMI converter (Image credit: James Doughty)

As we’ve already highlighted above, using an upscaler is not ideal, as it will introduce lag. On a CRT TV, when you press a button on your controller, you see the resulting action of that button press happen almost immediately on-screen. Converters/upscalers process the video signal and, in doing so, can introduce a delay between input and display.

You can get an converter/upscaler for an affordable price, but you may find that lower-end models introduce a lot of lag.

If you have the funds then consider investing in a more specialist type of upscaler, such as the XRGB Mini Framemeister (which is incredibly pricey) or, if you can get your hands on it, the relatively recent Open Source Scan Converter.

My N64 connects to the TV, but is very laggy (and I’m not using a converter)

It’s worth checking to see if your TV has a “game mode” option. Many modern HDTVs will have built-in upscaling to present the best possible picture. While this is fine for standard video, it will introduce noticeable lag when it comes to video game consoles.

Browse your TV’s picture options in the menu screen to see if it has this mode.

N64 still won’t connect to your TV?

If this guide hasn’t helped solve your issue or we’ve missed out an important step then let us know on Twitter.