Additionally, as you likely know from setting up your home computer, make sure that you screw in your connection properly, as otherwise, it can come loose easily.
Maximum Resolution: 720p
Signal Type: Analog
Common Devices: Computers and Computer-Related Equipment
If you are going to be using an OTA TV setup, this is the port you will most likely be using. It provides a quality signal and will serve both your audio and video needs well. While HDMI does give a better picture and sound in general, it might be your only option depending on the OTA TV antenna or DVR model you use.
You will want to check if you have one in the first place, as they aren’t always available or prevalent these days, and make sure that you have some way to connect your television to your OTA antenna. Although, if needed, you can always use converters or more specialized cables (more on that later in the article).
Maximum Resolution: 1080p
Signal Type: Analog
Common Devices: OTA Antennas and DVRs
You are likely familiar with this port for your home computer or wireless modem, but some TV sets have an ethernet port available to create a direct connection. If you stream content, there’s nothing better than getting the maximum internet speed available. With the right connection, 4K streaming and content will not ever be an issue, and buffering will be a thing of the past.
We don’t anticipate too many difficulties in setting this up, but we recommend that you find a newer, sturdier cable and the perfect length for your setup. The cables are extremely cheap in general, so it’s worth a few dollars to have a more straightforward setup and more confident connection.
Signal Type: Analog/Digital
Common Devices: Internet Modems and Routers
Something perhaps seen most with computers but now commonly found on Smart TVs, the USB port (either 2.0 or 3.0, with 3.0 being faster and best for most if not all devices) will be rectangular and familiar, as seen above. If you have a reason to plug in many external devices and gadgets to your TV or create a connection, this port will likely be used the most. And while your mileage may vary on the results, you will be glad to have a few USB ports in your TV.
Something commonly done with this port is to plug in a device that allows you to stream live TV or video from another device (Chromecast, etc.) or to input a wireless receiver that is a little above what you are used to, letting you stream higher resolution content.
One last use you might want to know is that some antennas will use them, so check whether you will need to use one of these ports when picking up a new antenna.
Signal Type: Analog/Digital
Common Devices: Flash Drives, Streaming Devices, TV Antennas, Additional Devices
The EX-Link port is a rare one, and almost hardly worth mentioning. Still, for the sake of interest and safety, you should know that they are primarily found (or only found) on Samsung televisions, and are used for Samsung professionals to update your television.
An alternative use is for it to be hooked into a motorized TV mount. However, that mount is difficult if impossible to find these days, and there are likely better and cheaper options to get the same functionality.
Ultimately, if you see this port on your TV, you should likely leave it alone.
Common Devices: Samsung Wall Mounts, Used for Updates
Using Peripherals and Adaptors
It is quite possible that you either have an older TV that doesn’t have some of the modern ports listed here, perhaps an HDMI port or a USB port, but you still have some modern equipment (possibly a new DVR or gaming console) that you’d like to use. Alternatively, there might be some more modern TVs that do not have older ports you are looking for.
In either case, you can take solace in one simple fact: there is an adaptor or cable for just about anything. And if there isn’t a single cable that will work, there is a combination of cables and adaptors that will. While we can’t feasibly go into every possible option or combination, a rule of thumb is to assume that it exists, if not on major sites or stores, then for a more specialized audience.
Additionally, if you just don’t have enough ports for all your devices, some devices or boxes allow you to switch “channels’ among your HDMI cables. Doing so allows you to change things with either a remote or from a much more comfortable position. A quick search regarding what you need will yield results, and even the better and more expensive options are perfectly affordable for someone who can get so many additional devices in the first place.
Naturally, you will want to temper your expectations when using these options. Using a port that allows for high resolutions will not mean that everything will look better. That depends on the hardware involved. Similarly, modern tech might be too much for some ports, and the picture will look off to most people. In extreme cases that require a few switchovers or adaptors, there may be some quality degradation as well. Simply use the best options available to you, and things should turn out well.
While hooking up your television and connecting the ports to their appropriate devices, you might want to do the following for convenience and safety: