A TV is easy to understand when you look at it from the front. But once you turn it around and face its back, things can get rather complicated. There are a few ports at the back of the TV that serve a variety of purposes. If you want to know what each of them does, it is worth reading the explanations mentioned below. This way, next time you want to perform a set-up process on your TV, & instead of calling a TV installation expert, you’ll know what to do.

SCART or Euroconnector

scart leads

It is impossible to miss the SCART connection because it is usually rather large and hangs on the outside. Regarding its functionality, the SCART connection is located in an inferior position compared to an HDMI connection. But, even so, it used to be one of the most used connections of a TV. What was it used for? People utilized this connection to install satellite receivers, DVD players, and other types of devices. The SCART connection is also known as Euroconnector, as it used to be very popular in Europe.

In the USA, this type of connection never managed to gain too much terrain. The fact that it was created in Europe is also reflected by the name of the connection, as SCART comes from the French “Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs”. If you use this type of connection and you’ve lost the sound but the image appears to be fine, or the other way around, it may be due to the fact that the SCART has moved from its position a little. Also, if you want to move your TV on the wall, a SCART connection won’t fit in the back, as it is too large for this.

The HMDI input

hdmi cables

​These days, this is probably the most used type of input in the case of TVs. When you want to connect any audio-video equipment to your TV, an HDMI input will make it happen. The modern TVs that can be found in stores today have more than one HDMI input available. This is due to the fact that HDMI inputs can be used for both audio and video and because we tend to use a number of pieces of equipment at once with our TV. Because it is so popular and used, the technology behind this type of connection is constantly improved. So, in the future, it will be able to transport even more data than today, being even more effective. This is why this type of connection is recommended in most cases.

The Ethernet input

ethernet cable

​This type of input is available only in the case of smart TVs, as this connection allows the TV to gain access to the Internet. This connection is also known as RJ45 or 8P8C. What’s interesting is that even “non”-smart TVs, belonging to the previous generations, featured an RJ45 connection. This was used not to watch movies online, but to access local internet connection for software updates.

The optical input/output

optic cable

Also known as the Tos-link, the optical output is used for connecting digital audio equipment to the TV. So, with its help, you can enjoy soundbars, amplifiers, and AV receivers together with our TV. This way, the experience of watching a movie or listening to our favourite music will be much improved.

​This connection is a rather small and discreet one, compared to other types of connections, so you may need a bit of time to find it. Another aspect you need to remember about the optical output is the fact that it can take up to 5.1 audio systems. If you want to enjoy larger systems, like a 7.1 system, you will have to use an HDMI connection for it.

Auxiliary input/output

The auxiliary output, also known as a headphones jack, is useful when looking to connect a pair of headphones or other audio equipment to your TV. This connection is composed of an audio cable with one analogue channel, which means that the sound quality provided by this connection is much better.

​Thus, compared to a coax or Toslink connection, the aux connection will offer higher sound quality and is more recommended when looking to enjoy a better sound. It is worth mentioning that many TVs will mute their own speakers when the aux output becomes active. So, you should not be surprised if this happens in your case as well.

Digital coax input/output

coax cable

​This particular connection works very similarly with the Toslink connection, as it was made to support audio devices like a 5.1 audio system. However, there are differences between a digital coax output and a Toslink one. The main thing that separates the digital coax connection from the rest is that a conductor cable serves as a path for the digital audio signals, while the Toslink uses a fibre connection. So, if you want to add a piece of audio equipment to your TV or DAB Radio, you can use the digital coax output, as it is capable of supporting AV receivers, soundbars, or surround systems.

USB inputs

usb input on back of tv

This type of input is rather popular and used these days, is provided by a wide range of gadgets. So, it’s no wonder that modern TVs also offer this type of input. In fact, people prefer buying TVs that can offer this feature, as it can be used for a variety of purposes. For instance, you can connect a USB memory stick to your TV with the help of this input and see photos, videos, or listen to music this way.

​Besides this, the USB input can be used to connect an external storage device or hard drive to the TV, which can help you record data provided by your TV. It is also possible to utilise this input to connect your TV to the available Wi-Fi unit, which will enable you to enjoy online streaming services on the TV. Of course, new generation TV has a built-in Wi-Fi receiver, so there’s no need to use a USB input for a wireless adaptor. If you have this kind of TV, you’ll be able to use this input for other purposes.

The RF connection

rf connections

​When it comes to TV ports, the RF connection can be placed on the most used list. The RF connection is a radio frequency connection in the UK and Ireland, it can provide Freeview and other similar services. Because of this, it is not uncommon to find TVs that have a separate screw in the existent RF connection, which will allow a direct connection to the satellite dish you’re using. It is worth mentioning that the compatibility with Freesat is determined by the model and mark of TV you are using, as not all models allow such compatibility, in spite of the separate screw they may have installed.

Stereo sound input/output

There are TVs that feature one set of white and red phono connections and TVs that provide several sets of these kinds of connections. These connections can be used for sound only. These connections exist because they are meant to accompany the connections destined for video signals alone.

​However, some TVs will feature a set of phono connections for connecting supplementary sound systems. You just need to make sure that each additional device, whether it is used for video or audio, is connected properly. If not, you’ll end up with a TV that will provide an image, but no sound.

The DVI input

dvi input

Standing for Digital Video Input, the DVI input serves only for connecting digital video devices with the TV. This type of input existed before the HDMI connection came around, but you can still make good use of it if there are no HDMI connectors available on your TV.

​You can use a DVI-HDMI adapter for connecting a DVI input, which saves you from having to use a special DVI cable. However, if you want to use this particular connection you should know that it provides images only. For sound, you will need to use audio cables that are separate from the DVI connection.

The VGA input/output

​This is not a common kind of connection that can be seen on all TVs. This is due to the fact that the VGA connection is mostly used to connect the TV with a computer. VGA means Video Graphics Array and it can provide only video connections. Just as it happens with many types of connections that were once popular among TV users, the VGA output was exceeded by the newer and improved HDMI connection. Considering that the VGA connection is rather bulky, having two side screws meant to keep things in place, no wonder people opted for the more versatile and discreet HDMI.

The RS-232 input/output

​If you have advanced TV setting knowledge, you can easily use the RS-232 connection to make these settings happen. In terms of aspect, the RS-232 output looks very much like the VGA connection, so it won’t be that hard to notice. What does it serve? This connection is utilised for more complicated connections, like integrating the TV within a system meant for home automation or for controlling the TV with the help of a computer.