Hooking Up a SNES on an HDTV

The 16-bit era of gaming is easily one of the most innovative and fondly remembered. Out of an expanded color pallet came some of the most detailed sprites, breathtaking environments, and exciting games to date. These titles looked fantastic back in the day, and replaying them in HD is a treat. However, HD is not supported by the original hardware. HDTVs weren’t commonplace until the 2000s at least, meaning most developers did not include hookups for an HDTV (Nintendo did not support HD until the WiiU).

The Super Nintendo used A/V (sometimes called RCA composite) cables that were extremely common during the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. These cables are the familiar red, white, and yellow inputs that most people are probably accustomed to. These supported video along with stereo sound compared to mono on the NES.

There are some pretty nifty converters for the A/V cables that upscale the video quality significantly. These are pretty common nowadays and are quite affordable. If this doesn’t do it for you, there are a couple of other methods that you could use.


This little box is a great device that is extremely inexpensive. There are plenty of items similar to this on sites like Amazon, but this one is well-reviewed. It’s a pretty simple little box with A/V inputs on one end and an HDMI output on the other side. This device does require power through a small USB power input. Users will also have the option of displaying in 720p or 1080p. The picture on this device is fantastic, providing some great HD quality to an SD game. If this one isn’t a good price for you, there are thousands of different options online and in stores.

SNES Classic Edition

The more expensive option is to buy a SNES Classic Edition console. While it is not the original hardware, it is an official Nintendo release that natively displays in full HD. These can also be pretty hard to find. Like any other Nintendo release, the demand is a lot higher than the supply. If you are looking for one of these, it may be best to find it in a retail store rather than online due to price.

  • Updated September 18, 2020
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