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Connecting Classic Game Consoles to Modern TV's

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For a lot of video game enthusiasts back in the early days of home console gaming the days of sitting in the living room floor playing Atari, Intellivision, and Colecovision never ended. While the allure of playing classic gaming consoles by those original gamers and new converts to old game systems, playing those old games on the TV sets from that time isn't so alluring.

Manual RF Switch box The vintage game systems sent RF signals to a TV set using a cable with an RCA plug on the end which was connected to a switch box. The switch box pictured that came with most game systems at the time required the player to give their TV set a reach around to switch from the antenna connected to the switch box to send the signal coming from console. The switch boxes provided with systems at the time connected using 300 Ohm twin lead screw terminals. These switch boxes are not much use on any TV made in the last twenty years, using adapters it can be done although there are much better solutions that don't require reaching behind the TV just to play a classic video game. If the TV is hooked up to a cable or satellite receiver box hooked up to one of the other input ports, the RF input is likely to be unused. In that case just a simple female RCA to Male co-ax F connector can be used if there is only one classic game console being used.

If the RF input of the TV is being shared with an more than one classic video game system or an antenna or cable connection thenRF adapter the solution is going to be one of the automatic switch boxes that came with or sold for later generations of consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis. Automatic switch boxes can be daisy chained to connect more than one game system. Most automatic switch boxes come with a cord with an RCA plug on the end that simply hooks up to the RF output RCA jack on the back of any ColecoVision, Intellivision, or Atari 2600jr. The original Atari 2600 had the RF output cable that goes to the TV attached directly to the console. The cable from the 2600 can be connected to an automatic switch box using a female to female RCA gender bender adapter. With ten or more feet of cord from both the Atari or any other Pong console and from an automatic switch box, there will be a lot of cord taking up room behind the TV stand, a neater looking solution is available to anybody who knows how to use a soldering iron. Clip off the cable coming from the switch box a few inches from the switch box and attaching an inline RCA jack. Strip off the insulation and solder on the the inline RCA jack.

While playing video games on a 20 inch tube TV manufactured back in the days when the phrase “Don't touch that dial” actually meant something, are long since passed, playing the classic game boxes can still be fun no matter what kind of flat panel TV sits in the living room. This simple modification to how the classic consoles will allow future generations to discover the classis games so that Donkey Kong, Frogger, PacMan, Q-Bert will live on forever.

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