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Quick Guide: Connecting CCTV to a TV

Once upon a time, connecting CCTV to a TV was a straightforward process, with one obvious place to connect the AV cable. Those sepia-tinted times are behind us now however, and the vast plethora of sockets and connectors modern flat-screens are equipped with can sometimes make it surprisingly stressful to monitor your camera in your living room. With that in mind, this quick guide should help you navigate through some of the confusion.

connection guide for a wireless receiver to an AV RCA inputConnecting our wireless receivers to a TV can sometimes get confusing

 

RCA Connectors

RCA Phono plug connectors
Most of our wireless CCTV and recorders use RCA connections

This is by far the most common type of plug used for wireless cameras and CCTV recorders, although it’s use has now started to be superseded by HDMI cables for most home video devices. The cable consists of up to 3 connectors, always coloured using the following scheme- yellow: video, white: audio channel1, red: audio channel 2. Not every cable will have all three, for example our wireless receivers (as used with our popular bird box cameras) only have one audio channel, so just have the yellow and white connectors. Up until recently, all TVs would have these three corresponding plugs of the same colour, so the chances are if your TV is more than a few years old you will be able to plug these in directly.

HD component input connectors
Component plugs- DO NOT use these!

Many HD TVs have red, blue and green plugs of the same shape. These look very similar, but are used for HD component cables, so will not work with standard definition equipment. To add a layer of confusion however, some TV models have one of these plugs used instead of the yellow video plug. Because of this, the only real way to be sure you are using the right set up is to check in your TV’s manual. These will be available from the manufacturer’s website if your copy has disappeared down the back of your sofa. Some recent TVs (for example Samsung’s smart sets) have an additional cable adapter, that plugs into a smaller socket on the back of the device. This can then be used to plug in your CCTV camera. Be warned though, it is not uncommon for these to be accidentally discarded when owners excitedly tear open their new TV box!

The AV source selector on a TV remote
TV remote with source button highlighted

Once your camera or recorder is correctly plugged in, it’s just a case of selecting the correct source using your remote control. Usually this will be done with a button on the remote labelled “source” or “TV/AV”, but there are some variations, so again it’s worth checking your manual. Usually the correct source will be called “AV”. Some TVs will automatically switch to the correct source when it detects one has been plugged in.

BNC Connectors

BNC plug and a DC power jack
Example BNC cable (right)

All of our wired CCTV cameras are equipped with industry standard twist-fit BNC connectors. These work in  exactly the same way as RCA, but just have a slightly more heavy duty plug on them. If you know you want to connect a wired camera straight to a television, make sure you add an RCA to BNC adapter so the plug will fit.

HDMI

If you are lucky enough to be using one of our Gamut Professional CCTV DVRs, then things are much simpler. Most models are equipped with an HDMI output, which just simply plugs into the corresponding socket on your TV. No fussing around with colours or adapters, just plug it in. They even work with many models of flatscreen computer monitor.

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