Does Roku Work On Old TVs – It Sure Does

I’m sure we all have an older model TV lying around. You’re probably wondering if Roku works on older TVs. If you’ve done your research you will be happy to find out that it does.

What is nice about this is that if you have an older TV with no cable setup, you can use a Roku device for this. The cables for your older TV model comes in the box, so you don’t have to worry about finding the correct cable cords for your device.

How To Set It Up?

Here is a video that shows how to set up your Roku device.

See how easy it is. It’s pretty simple. You really don’t need much to do to get it started. Cable or satellite services seem much more complicated. That’s why they have these technicians come to your house and spend a few hours setting things up.

Picture Quality

If you have an older model TV, you’re probably not too fussy about picture quality. I know people want to see what they are watching, I do too.

For me, in general, I’m not too picky about the picture quality. As long as there’s no snow or fuzz, I’m pretty happy. You do get pretty good reception with a Roku device using your older model TV.

What Do I Need?

You do need high-speed internet. You can check your internet speed by doing an internet speed test. The number you’re looking for at least 1.2 Mbps or higher. Good internet speed will prevent a lot of buffering you get when you stream your shows or movies.

In my opinion the higher the better. I always have a need for speed when it comes to my devices. That’s just me though.

You also need a wireless router.

With Roku for older model TV’s they provide the cables, you need to watch your shows or movies.

If you’re gonna buy a used one, you want to ask the seller if it comes with the cord. I understand when people purchase used products, sometimes it doesn’t come with everything.

How Much Does It Cost?

It all depends on the device you get. I’ve seen the price run higher for each model and lower. You just gotta shop around.

  • Roku LT $45 dollars
  • Roku HD $55 dollars
  • Roku 2 XD $70 dollars
  • Roku 2 XS $70 dollars

Amazon.com_ Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Old Model)_ Electronics

If you’re into the fully loaded device then I recommend Roku 2 XS. If you want to save a little money then Roku HD works well. You can look at the chart and see which one works best for you.


It’s nice to know that even with an older TV you still can have the benefits of streaming your favorite shows with a streaming device like Roku. Sometimes we are not ready to give up our older TVs because they work fine.

Why fill up the landfills will good working TVs. Making something old into something new can work with a Roku device.

If you have any questions or comments about using your older TVs with Roku, let me know below.


  1. will the roku premiere + work with an older tv (no usb or hdmi ports) or do i need a different roku? I also have an older sony vaio computer that is a tv & i used to plug in a coaxial cable to it for tv service from the cable co. I was going to try to find a cable that converts the cable plug in to usb or hdmi but wondering if that will work. Do you know if such cables exist assuming it will work. I tried plugging the roku into the usb port on the computer but could not get it to work.

    1. Hey Jane, if it’s a computer as well, you might just want to watch the services through the computer. If you have something like Sling TV, all you’d have to do is go to the Sling TV’s website, login, and stream from there. If you want to put Roku onto your TV, your best bet is to purchase a Roku device that matches the ports on your TV. I hope I was helpful. Best of luck, Evelyn.

  2. Hi Evelyn, thank you for responding to my question of June 1, 2020 about the Roku on my older Hitachi TV. Yes ma’am, I did use the HDMI ports as instructed by the Roku set up, and then used my TV remote to select the proper HDMI port. I actually tried both HDMI 1 and when that one wouldn’t work, I tried HDMI 2, after which I would turn on the TV and make sure the right HDMI port was selected. However, neither would allow ROKU to load. I have the Dish Network cords plugged into one of the HDMI ports and so I know that both ports are in working order, as I would just trade them with the ROKU when attempting to get the ROKU device to work. I am thinking it is a lost cause unless I get a newer TV. ???

    1. Hey Deb,

      Try resetting your TV.

      Try this, unplug your TV from the power source for about five minutes and then plug it back in, once you do that, try setting up your Roku device.

      Let me know what happens, we are going to figure this out!

  3. My new Roku Express will not work on my TV. I have even traded it for a different one at Walmart. (in case I had a defective one the first time around), but neither will work. I have checked and rechecked connections, and I do get an intial white light on the Roku device that quickly turns into a blinking white light, then no light. The TV says “No Signal”. I have a Hitachi TV 10 yrs old, but it has 2 HDMI ports + a VGA port. I have used the VGA port in the past to connect my computer to the TV to watch online downstreaming. Not sure why the Roku Express won’t show up on the TV.

    1. Hey Deb,

      You need to use the HDMI port on your TV. If you have two ports, you have to set up the HDMI port according to the Roku device you plugged in to your TV. The signal should be either HDMI 1 or HDMI 2.

      The reason why your Roku device isn’t working is because you might have your TV set up on the VGA signal. The VGA signal is mainly for computers, and it’s not for your Roku device.

      As for getting to the HDMI signal on your TV, if you have a remote, it’s a lot easier by selecting HDMI. If you don’t, you’re going to have to push the buttons on your TV and figure out which buttons changes from VGA to HDMI.

      It should work and if it doesn’t, then your HDMI ports might be broken for some odd reason.

      I hope I was helpful. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask, Evelyn.

  4. I have an old TV that now has a cable box and works fine. Looking to get rid of the cable box (stop paying the monthly rental fee) and wondering if Roku 2XD will allow me to still get my cable channels. My TV does not have an HDMI outlet, so realize I have to buy a cable with the 3 colors (red, yellow, white). I already have Prime and NetFlix on other TVs. Thanks for any help you may give.

    1. Hey Sharon Roku 2 has the red, yellow and white cords needed for your older TV. If you have any other questions feel free to ask, Evelyn.

  5. I have attached a Roku to a VGA monitor using an adapter. The adapter also came with an audio cable. The cable plugs fine into the monitor, but the identical sized other end is too large to fit into the Roku. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hey Tracy, I believe the cables are not for a TV monitor that is probably why the size to too large for your Roku device. The only suggestion I have is that you can try to purchase another adapter. that fits into the audio cables, I do want to warn you if you do that, there is no guarantee that it will work. VGA and TV monitors are a little different. If you do get it to work you are going to need audio speakers as well for sound.

  6. I have an older tv do they make a cord with HDMI on one end from roku and white yellow that I can use for going into the tv?

    1. Hey Preston, You can try an adapter to see if it works, however, Roku DX provides the cords to insert though your older TV. You have to be careful with adapters sometimes they don’t work and it would be a waste to spend money on an adapter that doesn’t work. Your TV mainly has to be compatible with the adapters you use. Your best bet is to use the yellow, red, White cord to your older TV.

  7. Hello,
    We are just beginning to explore Roku. Our TV works fine, but it was purchased brand new in the early 90’s and we only use Cat 5 internet. Is it possible to use Roku on a Cat5 or Hard line system? If so can you offer any tips or tricks, or recommendations for which system to buy?
    thank you,

    1. Hey Jade, You can use an ethernet cable to connect to your Roku device. All Roku devices are pretty much the same and do update, don’t get the stick as that would not work on an older TV. 🙂

  8. Does each tv need its separate Roku? We have way too many for the two,of us but just can’t seem to let them go. Our grandchildren don’t come over as often but still like having a tv when they are here. Great discussions and EASY for me to understand. Thank you so much.


    1. Hey Margaret, unfortunately yes each TV needs it’s own separate Roku device. I’m hoping Roku can invent something that can work on multiple TVs. I feel that a Roku would be great for your grandchildren because they get can access to a ton of movies and enjoy their time with their grandparents. Thanks for the compliment, I wish you and your family only the best. Evelyn

  9. I’m trying to Hook Up a Roku to a older TV and can’t seem to get it to work. What am I doing wrong? Thank you for any tips you can give me.

    1. If you’re hooking Roku up directly to your television, then maybe you should check the channel that Roku will show up on your TV.

      It could be channel 3 or 4. Also make sure that you correctly inserted your cords, red and white is usually audio, yellow is usually video. I know trying to get your device set up can be a little frustrating because there are tons of quirks that goes along with setting up devices.

      If you’re setting it up by plugging your cords to a device such as a DVD player, you may have to turn on your DVD player you would use the same channel as your DVD player should work.

      I know for me, it’s usually playing around with one audio/video cords and selecting each channel to get it to work. I start with the red cord only, I input the red cord on each outlet until I get results, if I don’t, I change the channel and try again. This usually works for me and this might be a way for you as well.

      Please keep us posted and let us know if you were able to get your device to work. Thanks for asking, all the best, Evelyn

  10. Evelyn!!! Thank you!!
    I’m old school and like it that way 🙂 Thank you for putting it down so it was so easy to pick up. I’m in and bout to hit Amazon to get my Roku. Can’t wait to join Netflix and watch #OITNB, along with the rest of the world.
    Thank you for an easy to read, informative article! Have a great summer ~~Jessica

    1. Hey Jessica, I’m excited for you. Enjoy your movies and the money you will be saving, p.s. you know what I did. 🙂

  11. I just purchased a Roku 1 and I’m trying to collect it to an 2004 Panasonic triple play tv that works great but the Roku 1 doesn’t take it. Is the Roku 1 the only one for old tvs??

    1. Hey Jess,

      It should work, it’s made to work on older TVs especially if you don’t have an HDMI outlet, I don’t know how techie you are, but you may have to check channels and see where your TV gets the reception with your remote control. Check your input, you may not see HDMI, It might be located in video 1 or something similar like that, make sure your Roku is on. I’m sure you probably did that, lol. Your TV should come with plugin play, that might be an easier rout.

      I’m not sure if your TV comes with a VCR and DVD already installed, if it doesn’t and your TV is connected to a DVD player, you might want to plugin your video and audio to your DVD player. The way it would work is by you having your TV set to the DVD channel, try changing the channel on your DVD player and see if that works. There are so many variables that I understand it can get quite frustrating.

      Other than that, the only thing I could think of is that the cable may be faulty, check to see if the cables are working. I’ve had this issue before and had to replace my cable. Keep us posted and let us know if it’s working fine. Wish you lots of luck, all the best. Evelyn

  12. I have a very old Black & White TV that I want to use with Roku 1. The TV has only 2 screws to attach to an antenna wire , no other inputs. I run cable through my VCR/DVD and then to the TV, using a coaxial to antenna transformer. My VCR/DVD only has a single coaxial input and a single output, not composites. I’ve read that you shouldn’t connect Roku to a VCR/DVD anyway.

    Is there a way to play the Roku on this old TV. I love black & white and do not want color TV.

    1. This reply is probably too late but hopefully helps anyone else that has your same concern.
      While I do not need to use a coaxial to antenna transformer I also use my VCR’s composite inputs as I am out of options… in too many gadgets 🙂 Since I am out of composite inputs on the TV itself I ran my Roku 1 through the VCR’s instead (just like I have with PS2’s, PS3’s, etc.) and send it to the TV through an RG-6 coaxial cable.
      Bottom line is it works beautifully and the same method will also work on an HDMI TV that is out of HDMI connectors.

      Love, Love, Love my Roku 1

  13. I actually have one of these, and it works really well. Simple but effective.

    We are now in the golden age of entertainment. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want.

    1. That’s what I like about these types of services. People don’t realize you can watch what you want when you want. It’s also a great additional feature if someone is not ready to cut the cord. Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂 Evelyn

  14. I wish I had known about this sooner. I had an older TV stored away but I threw it in the garbage and bought a new one for the bedroom.

    This Roku looks like a really good and simple device. I will look more into this.



    1. Hey Chris,

      I’m sure that’s why a lot of people get rid of their older TV’s. They may think new devices may not work on them and don’t want to bother. Roku is a pretty simple device. Most of us already have high-speed internet in our homes. It’s a great way to watch television and find some movies to watch without renting or going to that Redbox machine. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂 Evelyn

  15. Very interesting to know. I have an old TV and I can’t use it. Now I will pull it out of the closet and use it. thanks for sharing this info. I am sure a lot of people like me still have the old TVs and would like to hook them up. Thanks for bringing this information to all of us.

    1. Hey Kitty, I have an old TV at home and I use it. It’s great because you can use Roku in any room. I enjoy mine and enjoy watching movies on them. 🙂

  16. Hi,

    I guess I’ve been in Japan too long. I’m not familiar with this streaming stuff. After you pay for that Roku HD, do you have to pay for a service too? Thanks.

    1. Hey Ed,

      Once you pay for the box there are no additional fees, unlike cable service providers. You do get some shows for free with Roku. Some of the shows are older shows. If you want the latest shows, you could sign up for a service like Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu Plus.Hulu plus and Netflix runs around $9 dollars a month. Roku has a lot of apps to choose from. It just depends on what you like to watch. I recommend you go to” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”> and look for what you like to watch. If you don’t watch too much too much TV, the free services may be what you’re looking for.

    2. Hi
      thanks so much for getting back to me and answering my question. I think I might go check it out. It sounds pretty reasonable. Cheers 🙂

  17. Hi. This is a great article about Roku and how it can be used with an older TV. I do have one and it works really well with my new television, but it’s great to know that you don’t necessarily have to upgrade an older television if you’re not wanting to do so. Thanks

    1. Hey Peter,

      Thanks, I’m glad that you enjoy your Roku. It’s a great alternative and some people are not incline to get rid of their older televisions just yet. This is a great way to stream movies. Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂 Evelyn

  18. Hi Evelyn – Very informative site. I’m in the UK so diddn’t really understand your question Does Roku Work On Old TVs at first. However by the time I’d read the page it became a lot clearer. I also agree with you about throwing old TV’s away when they still work. We are being told to recycle yet being forced to as you say “fill up landfills with good working TV’S”
    Keep on posting

    1. Hey Mark,

      I agree we shouldn’t be throwing away perfectly working devices just because it’s old and especially in landfills. I feel you though, they keep telling us to buy new things yet what do they want us to do with the old stuff. I guess they are trying to make us all into hoarders. Lol thanks for your thoughts! 🙂 Evelyn

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