TV Connectivity Help
This page provides general help for you if you’re having problems connecting your Sky, Virgin, BT Vision or Freeview set-top box to your TV set and video/DVD recorder.
|First: Try our interactive Setup advisor
|What’s a co-ax?
|A co-ax plug is the kind you’d expect to find on the end of the wire that comes from your TV aerial. For a selection of co-ax leads, converters and extensions, go to the Maplin website.
|What’s a SCART?
|A SCART socket is something you’ll find on most TV sets, video recorders, DVD players and games consoles. They are rectangular connectors with 21 pins, and they carry audio, video, switching commands and an earth.
If you have a lot of video connectors, you may need a SCART switch box, to handle multiple SCART sockets. For a selection of SCART leads and switchers, go to the Maplin website, or see our SCART Switch Box section.
|What’s the difference between SCART and Co-ax outputs?
|Set-top boxes can have two different types of output – SCART sockets and RF/UHF/Co-ax sockets, and there are important differences:
|What’s an HDMI connector?
|HDMI stands for “High Definition Media Interface”. This is the connector used to connect most high-definition equipment (such as the Sky+HD , Virgin V+ or BT Vision box) to a hi-def TV set.
|My TV doesn’t have a SCART socket!
|Most DVD players, video recorders, games consoles and set-top-boxes send their outputs via a SCART socket. So, what do you do if your TV doesn’t have a SCART socket? You have the following options:
For more help on connecting to a TV without a SCART, see our TV with no SCART advice page
|TV with built-in Freeview
|A question we’re asked quite often – If you have a TV that has a built-in Freeview receiver, can you still use a set-top box, such as one needed with Freesat, Sky Digital or cable TV?
Yes you can – Even though a TV set has a built-in digital TV receiver, it’s still very straightforward to connect a set-top box to your TV to watch another service.
Typically, you’ll connect from your set-top box’s SCART socket into a spare SCART socket on your TV, then switch the TV to the appropriate Line In / AV feed on your TV (typically the button on your TV remote looks like the one pictured to the right. If you’re having a problem getting your TV to tune in to your set-top box, see our FAQ entry.
If you’re looking for information on the digital TV options available to you, see our Going Digital page.
|I can’t tune my TV or recorder into my set-top box
|Firstly, you need to understand how you’re connecting your set-top box to the TV or recorder. You’ll either be using SCART or by co-ax aerial cable.
For more on this topic, see our answer in our Recording Freeview FAQ section.
|I’m having problems connecting my set-top box
Some things to remember:
If you’re running out of SCART sockets, consider a splitter or switch box (pictured)… see our SCART Switcher section for more details.
|Can’t watch terrestrial?
|If you find that, since connecting your set-top box, you can no longer view the terrestrial channels on your TV (channels 1 to 5), then you’ve probably forgotten to connect an aerial lead to your TV set. Normally, you would need to connect an aerial lead from the RF output of your set-top box, as the box loops the TV aerial feed through the box and on to a TV set. Another option is to use an splitter (available from Maplin) to split your incoming TV aerial feed so that it can feed your set-top box as well as other equipment such as a TV or video recorder.
|Box generating interference
|When using a set-top box or a video, it’s not uncommon to find that when it’s switched on, you lose one or more of the channels that you have tuned in on standard TV. A common example would be switching on the video causes you to lose channel 5, or turning on a set-top box means you can’t see the video. This means that your video or set-top box is ‘modulating’ on the same channel number as another channel, and the clash generates interference. This was common with video recorders when Channel 5 started… many video recorders had to be retuned from channel 37, so channel 5 didn’t interfere with the video signal and vice-versa.
If you are experiencing interference because of this, you’ll need to change the channel that the box broadcasts on. You’ll find details of how to do this in the manual (look for RF modulated output channel, or UHF channel – something like that).
Note that this is only a problem if you’re trying to watch via standard TV channels, as opposed to the SCART (which doesn’t use a TV channel). If you try the following, you should see the benefit of SCART.
|No sound, but video’s fine
|Most commonly this is caused by a loose SCART plug – the audio pins on a SCART plug are at one end of the SCART connector, and if the plug isn’t in perfectly straight, the audio can get disconnected, but the video doesn’t. Try reconnecting the SCART plug (at both ends) ensuring that the connectors are in correctly and are straight. It’s also worth trying a different SCART cable in case the pins are damaged.
More on our Freeview Help page
|No video, but the sound’s fine
|If you’ve had a connection via SCART, and your sound is working, but there’s a problem with the picture, there are a couple of things it could be:
|Feeding to other rooms
|It’s possible to feed the output of your set-top box to other rooms. For more on this subject, see our TV in other rooms section.
You may need to add a splitter/booster/amplifier, to ensure the signal is strong enough to be distributed. These small boxes are mains-powered devices that you plug your TV download into, and then can connect to one or more TV. Check out the Labgear 2 Set or Labgear 4 Set boxes, depending on how many TVs you want to connect to.
|Too few SCART sockets
|If you’re trying something complex like trying to connect a DVD, Freeview set-top-box and a video recorder into a TV set with a single SCART socket, you may soon find you’ve run out of sockets – and what you’ll been needing is a SCART switch box.
The Bluedelta Smart-SCART. This allows you to connect four SCART leads to one TV… Unlike many of the SCART switchers on the market, this one is fully automatic – it detects which piece of equipment was just switched on, and makes the SCART socket live – a little red light indicates which SCART is active. There’s also a record loop – so you can get your video or DVD recorder to record from one source, whilst you watch another source.
|Still having problems?
|Double-check the obvious:
|Need more help?
|The information on this page, together with our Setup Advisor should provide general help and advice on getting your TV setup connected.
If you need more detailed help, or your connectivity problem is a complex one, please ask in our forum, where one of our regular contributors should be able to help – please provide as much detail as possible.
We often find it’s helpful to sketch out a plan of what you’re trying to achieve, so that it’s easier to work out what you want to connect to what. Below is an example of how we do it – the numbers represent the number of SCART sockets:
We regret that we cannot answer individual connectivity questions by email – please use our forum
If you need more detailed help, please ask in our forum, where one of our regular contributors should be able to help – provide as much detail as possible