Connecting a PlayStation 2 to a TV: 14 steps (with pictures)

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Connecting a PlayStation 2 to a TV: 14 steps (with pictures)
Connecting a PlayStation 2 to a TV: 14 steps (with pictures)

The PlayStation 2 was one of the most popular video game consoles in the world in its day, but connecting it to modern TVs can be a bit tricky. Many newer TVs do not have ports that support the standard PlayStation 2 AV cable. Fortunately, there are several ways to connect a PlayStation 2 to a TV and you should be able to find one that fits your equipment.


Part 1 of 2: Connecting the PlayStation 2

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Step 1. Examine your TV inputs

There are several ways to connect your PlayStation 2 to your TV or receiver, depending on the available inputs. Different inputs provide different picture quality. You'll usually find the inputs on the back of your TV, but they can also be on the side or front.

  • Composite/Stereo AV - This is the most common way to connect a PlayStation 2 to a TV, receiver or VCR. Composite cables have three plugs: yellow (video) and red and white (audio). This cable is included with all new PlayStation 2 models. Newer HDTVs may not support this connection.
  • Component/YCbCr - This is the best way to connect a PlayStation 2 to modern TVs as most HD TVs have these inputs. Component cables also provide the best possible picture quality for the PlayStation 2. Component cables have five plugs: Red, Blue and Green (video) and Red and White (audio). Component cables are not included with the PlayStation 2. If you buy a component cable, make sure it's PlayStation 2 compatible, with the PlayStation 2 plug on one end.
  • S-Video - This input is not very common on newer TVs. It gives a better picture than composite cables, but not as good as component cables. The S-Video plug is usually yellow and has pins instead of a standard AV plug. The PlayStation 2 S-Video cable has both the S-Video plug and the red and white audio plugs.
  • RF - This is the worst way to connect a PlayStation 2 to a TV or VCR as it produces the most blurry picture quality. RF is connected through the coaxial input of the TV or VCR (the same input you would use for cable TV or an antenna). Avoid this way of hooking up unless you have no other options.
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Step 2. Get the right cable

If you bought your PlayStation 2 new, there should be a composite cable in the box. If you need another cable, you'll need to order it from Sony or buy it online from a retailer like Amazon. Make sure you get the PlayStation 2 version of the cable you want to use, as the PlayStation 2 requires a special plug on one end of the cable.

PlayStation 2 video cables are suitable for all PlayStation 2 models

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Step 3. Place the PlayStation 2 near the TV or receiver

Make sure you place it in a place with lots of open space so that the PlayStation 2 doesn't collect too much heat. Do not stack it above or below other electronic devices. If you have a stand, you can place the PlayStation 2 vertically to take up less space. Make sure it is close enough so that the video and power cables do not have to be stretched to reach the TV and the power outlet.

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Step 4. Connect the video cable to the back of the PlayStation 2

All video cables for the PlayStation 2 plug into the same port on the back of the unit. The video port is located in the lower right corner of the back of fat PlayStation 2s, and on the right side of the back of slim PlayStation 2s, next to the power connector. The port is labeled 'AV MULTI OUT'.

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Step 5. Connect the other end of the video cable to your TV

Make a note of which input you connect the cable to, so that you can find the correct input when you turn on the TV. Make sure the colors of the plugs match the colors on the inputs.

  • The audio connection (red and white) may be different from the video inputs on the TV. If your TV only supports mono sound, just use the white audio plug.
  • If you're connecting component cables, you probably have two red plugs. One is video and the other audio. If you lay the component cable flat, the order of the connectors is: red, blue, green (video), white, red (audio).
  • If your TV only has component plugs, but you only have a composite cable, you may still be able to connect the two. Connect the red and white audio cables in the normal way and try inserting the yellow plug into the green connector. If this results in a black and white image, try plugging the yellow plug into the blue or other red connector.
  • In Europe you may need the Euro-AV plug, which allows you to plug the composite cable into the SCART socket on your TV. This connector is included with new European PS2 models.
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Step 6. Connect the digital audio cable (optional)

If you have a 5.1 surround sound system you will need to connect the Digital Out (optical) audio port on the PS2 to the receiver using a TOSLINK cable. This is only necessary if you want 5.1 surround sound and have the necessary equipment. You'll find the digital output (optical) next to the video port on the back of the PlayStation 2.

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Step 7. Connect the PlayStation 2 power cable

The thick PS2 and the thin PlayStation 2 have different power cables. To connect the chunky PS2, plug the 'eight' end of the power cable into the back of the PlayStation 2 and then into the wall or a power strip. For narrow PS2s, connect the power cable to the yellow 'DC IN' socket on the back of the PlayStation 2, plug in the power supply block and then plug the resulting cable into a wall outlet.

Make sure the cable has some slack so that the connection is not stressed

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Step 8. Connect an Ethernet cable (optional)

Some PS2 games have online functionality -- just connect your PlayStation 2 to your home network via Ethernet to use it. The narrow PS2 has a built-in Ethernet adapter, but the thick PlayStation 2 requires an extra network adapter.

  • You will not set up your network at the system level. Instead, individual games will handle network settings when you try to connect.
  • Many PS2 games that had online multiplayer no longer work online as the servers have long since closed.

Part 2 of 2: Playing on your PlayStation 2

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Step 1. Connect a controller to the PlayStation 2

You will need an official PlayStation 2 controller (DualShock 2) or another controller designed for the PS2. All new PlayStation 2 models come with a single DualShock 2 controller. You cannot normally use a PS1 controller with your PS2, but you can use a PS1 controller while playing PS1 games.

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Step 2. Install a memory card (optional)

To be able to save your progress in a game, you need to insert a PS2 memory card. Official memory cards are 8 MB, which is enough space for many saved games. You can buy unofficial larger memory cards, but with a higher chance of malfunctioning and damaging your stored data. Official, larger memory cards are available in 16 MB and 32 MB. You can save without a memory card using the hard drive add-on, but you will need a memory card to install the hard drive software.

  • You can play games without a memory card or hard drive, but your progress will be lost when you turn off the system or switch games.
  • Memory cards are placed directly above the controller. Make sure the label of the memory card is facing up when you insert the card.
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Step 3. Turn on your TV to the correct input

Turn on your TV and set the input to which the PlayStation 2 is connected. If you've connected the PS2 to your VCR or receiver, make sure the VCR or receiver is set to the correct input, and your TV is set to the VCR's or receiver's input.

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Step 4. Turn on the PS2

Press the power button on the front of the PlayStation 2. The light should turn green and, if the correct input is selected, you should see the PS2 opening logo animation. If no game is loaded, go to the PS2 system menu. If a game is loaded, it will start automatically after the startup animation.

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Step 5. Run a game in the PS2

Press the eject button on the front of the PlayStation 2 to open the tray (thick PS2) or flip open the lid (thin PS2). Place the game disc on the tray or on the spindle. Close the narrow lid, or press the eject button on the chunky PlayStation 2 again, to close the tray.

  • Do not eject a game while playing, otherwise it may quit without saving.
  • Do not touch the surface of the game disc when inserting or removing it. This will help prevent scratches and damage and make your games last longer.
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Step 6. Start a game in progressive scan mode (component only)

If your PlayStation 2 is connected with component cables, you can enable progressive scan mode (480p). This results in a much clearer image, but is only supported by certain games. Loves + pressed after the PlayStation 2 logo appears when starting a game. If the game supports progressive scan, you will see a message from the game telling you how to enable it. There are no progressive scan system settings.

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