Recently purchased an N64 console (hopefully from us!) and set it up only to find it won’t connect to your TV? Don’t panic! Chances are it still works — it’s just not compatible with your newer TV.
This guide will help get your N64 (or nearly any other retro console) working with your modern TV. While we can’t guarantee these potential fixes will work, they’re at least worth giving a go.
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 N64 doesn’t have an operating system, so it won’t show a picture without a game cartridge inserted
Find your TV’s RCA composite/SCART ports
Ideally, you 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 use “AV In 1”.
My TV doesn’t have an RCA composite or SCART port
Many newer TVs no longer have composite RCA or SCART connections. If this is the case then try the three following options:
1. Use the component port if you have one
Check to see if your TV has a component input. This connection has 5 ports: green, blue, red, and red and white ports for audio.
Put the yellow video plug into either the green or blue port. But be warned: it may not work correctly or at all with either of these.
2. 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.
Hooking it up this way means you have to tune the N64 into one of the TV channels. This may not work if your TV only has a digital TV tuner.
3. My TV only has HDMI ports or none of the other connections work
You will need to consider using either a composite to HDMI converter or upscaler, like the one below (it does both). Tip: Sometimes you may need to use Parcel Motel to acquire items from the UK.
The Open Source Scan Converter provides a high-quality picture with virtually no input lag. However, only an RGB-modded N64 will work with this, and these converters are usually always out of stock!
There’s also the RetroTINK, which doesn’t require a hardware mod. It looks to be the job, but we can’t say much more because we never tried it ourselves. It’s kinda expensive too.
Alternatively, you could consider the UltraHDMI N64 mod – but it’s also very expensive. It’s a circuit board that goes inside your N64 and adds a mini-HDMI connection port.
Using built-in firmware, you can choose a screen resolution up to 1080p and select a number of video-processing options.
Unfortunately, acquiring the UltraHDMI mod is not straightforward. This is an unofficial mod, meaning Nintendo doesn’t support or endorse it.
The maker, Retroactive, doesn’t sell the UltraHDMI kit directly to consumers. Instead, it sends its stock to “approved installers”, and it’s these guys you have to buy it from… if you can find one! The results are impressive though, as this video demonstrates.
Our advice? If your TV doesn’t support your old N64 straight away, try the the composite to HDMI converter – you can always return it and say it was not fit for purpose. Failing that, there is always someone you know who has an old CRT TV (or find one online), which will of course work perfectly with any retro gaming console!