How to Connect Vectrex to a Modern TV

  • By: Richard Moszkowski
  • Date: August 6, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Remember that feeling when you’d fire up your Vectrex and get lost in the pixels? It’s pure nostalgia. But how do you bridge the decades between the 1980s tech and today’s ultra-sleek, high-definition televisions? Well, it’s a little like trying to read a vintage comic book through AR glasses – a blend of old and new.

Quick Comparison Table:

Method Pros Cons
Consolized Vectrex Authentic gameplay, HDMI compatibility Requires technical skills, potential risk
Adapters Plug & play, affordability Possible lag, quality variations
Emulation Play on any device, cost-effective Lacks tactile feel, compatibility issues
Custom Builds Modern with nostalgia, innovative Might lack original ‘vibe’, potentially pricier

Consolized Vectrex

“Revive, not replace!” It’s like taking your grandpa’s old radio and getting it to play Spotify. This method involves giving your Vectrex the capability to output through HDMI. But be warned!

Pros: Modernized while retaining authenticity.Direct compatibility with HDMI TVs.

Cons: Requires DIY skills or professional help.Risk of damaging your precious Vectrex.Have you ever jazzed up an old item with a touch of modernity? If that’s your jam, this one’s for you!


Think of it as a translator. It interprets what Vectrex says and makes it understandable for your modern TV.

Real-Life Analogy:

Remember when we used to plug earphones into our smartphones using an adapter? This is kinda like that, but for gaming!

Pros: Plug and play, usually.Affordable.

Cons: Potential input lag.

Quality varies among brands.Ever settled for a knock-off charger, only to regret it? Quality counts. Don’t skimp on the adapter!


Picture this: you’re craving grandma’s apple pie, but she lives miles away. So, you find a recipe online and try to replicate it. It’s not the original, but it satisfies the craving.

Pros: Play on almost any device.Cost-effective.

Cons: Lacks the tactile feel of the Vectrex joystick.Possible game compatibility issues.Here’s a thought: Is it about holding the Vectrex or playing the games? If it’s the latter, emulation might be your pick.

Custom Builds

Imagine taking your kid’s Lego set and building a mini replica of your childhood home. This involves creating a custom device, like the Vectrex Mini, and imbuing it with the Vectrex spirit.

Pros: Modern tech with a hint of nostalgia.Innovative and fun.

Cons: Might not have the same ‘vibe’ as the original.Can be pricier than other options.Ever liked the idea of custom shoes or tailored clothes? This one’s for those who love a personalized touch.

Choosing the Right Input and Format

When connecting your Vectrex to a modern TV, it’s important to choose the right input and video format. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Composite video provides the lowest-quality video signal, while S-Video provides the highest-quality video signal.
  • The Vectrex uses the NTSC video format, which is used in North America, parts of South America, and some other regions. If you’re in a region that uses the PAL video format, you’ll need to use a PAL-compatible Vectrex.
  • The Vectrex has a resolution of 240×384 pixels and an aspect ratio of approximately
  • To get the best picture quality, choose the input and format that your TV supports best. If your TV supports both composite video and S-Video, choose S-Video for the best picture quality.

What are some common issues when connecting Vectrex to a modern TV?

Let’s set the scene: It’s the ’80s, and the Vectrex was all the rage. Fast forward a few decades, and our TVs have become slimmer, smarter, and more sophisticated. But when these two eras cross paths, we encounter some common hiccups.

  • Compatibility Quirks: Ever tried plugging an old cassette player into a modern speaker? The results can be… unpredictable. The Vectrex, with its vintage charm, might not always gel well with today’s high-definition screens.
    • Symptoms:
      • No display
      • Fuzzy or pixelated graphics
      • Distorted sound or complete silence
    • Solution: Try using high-quality converters or opt for a Consolized Vectrex.
  • The Dreaded Lag: You’re mid-game, in the zone, and suddenly there’s a slight delay in response. Lag – the mortal enemy of any gamer!
    • Real-Life Analogy: Imagine responding to someone, but they hear you 2 seconds later. Frustrating, right?
    • Symptoms:
      • Delay between controller action and on-screen reaction.
      • Sound not syncing with gameplay.
    • Solution: High-quality adapters or direct HDMI outputs tend to reduce this issue.
  • Tech Troubles: Diving into the guts of your beloved Vectrex? It’s a venture not meant for the faint-hearted!
    • Symptoms:
      • Failed modifications leading to no display.
      • Permanent damage to the console.
    • Question to Ponder: Are you comfortable tinkering, or would you rather leave it to the pros?
  • Display Quandaries: Sometimes, the Vectrex tries to show its age on your modern screen in quirky ways.
    • Symptoms:
      • Upside-down or slanted text.
      • Compressed or stretched game visuals.
      • An odd white dot stubbornly sitting in the middle.
    • Solution: Adjust TV settings, or consider using a different connecting method.
  • Emulator Eccentricities: While emulating the Vectrex can offer convenience, not all emulators are created equal.
    • Symptoms:
      • Specific games not running or crashing.
      • Sound glitches or entirely mute sessions.
    • Analogy: It’s like trying to read a handwritten note using a machine translator. Some things just don’t translate perfectly!
    • Solution: Research and choose well-reviewed emulators.


Can I use a HDMI cable to connect my Vectrex to a modern TV?

No, you cannot use an HDMI cable to connect a Vectrex to a modern TV because the Vectrex does not support HDMI. You’ll need to use an RF adapter, RCA cable, or S-Video cable to connect the Vectrex to your TV.

How do I know if my TV supports S-Video?

Check the manual or specifications of your TV to see if it supports S-Video. You can also look for an S-Video input on the back of your TV. If your TV doesn’t have an S-Video input, you’ll need to use an RF adapter or RCA cable to connect your Vectrex.

Can I use a PAL Vectrex with a NTSC TV?

No, you cannot use a PAL Vectrex with a NTSC TV because they use different video formats. If you have a PAL Vectrex, you’ll need to use it with a PAL-compatible TV.

How do I adjust the settings on my TV to get the best picture quality?

Refer to the manual or settings menu of your TV to adjust the picture settings. You can usually adjust the brightness, contrast, and color settings to improve the picture quality. You may also be able to adjust the aspect ratio or overscan settings to get the best possible picture.

What can I do if my Vectrex picture or sound is not working?

Try checking the connections and cables to make sure they’re properly connected. If you’re still experiencing problems, refer to the troubleshooting section of this article for tips on how to fix common issues. If you’re still having problems, consult the manual or contact the manufacturer for support.

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