So you got your console, got your controller, game and power. You’re not going to get far unfortunately without a way to connect to the TV! It’s just as simple as connecting a modern console, however there are more than just the one option. Also, bear in mind the console is old – it does not natively support HDMI.
So what are your options when it comes to displaying the PS2? Here we will cover a few options you have to get the best out of your PS2.
Standard Definition TV
RF (Aerial lead)
This is by far the worst option of the lot. While this was never necessarily an option, the PS1 came with the RF lead that was compatible with the PS2. This option will most likely have the most support, but unless your TV came with absolutely no peripheral ports this will not be a concern.
This option jacks in-between the cable TV connection and the RF port on your TV. The RF port is commonly known as the aerial port, since it was used to connect antennas and cable to your TV. When enabled (“I”), find a disused analogue TV channel that you’re willing to tune (0 or 99 are my choices). With the console on, set your channel to find a signal and keep going until you see the PS2 screen (or game if one is in the tray).
This option can suffer from a lot of interference, and cannot pull out information on your TV to adjust the experience, resulting in a pretty sub-standard output. With most TVs coming with some form of additional connectors, this is not the best option to take.
RCA is the option that came with PS2 by default. The distinct characteristics are connectors split into three colours; red, yellow and white. Yellow provides the video through a composite output, with the red and white connectors controlling the audio. RCA also comes with a converter that lets you plug-in to a standard SCART port, especially in Europe.
Composite does not necessarily provide the best gaming experience, but for standard definition televisions it provides the best performance in terms of compatibility. With a standard definition TV you would be hard pressed to find one without either an RCA port, or a SCART connector.
Like RF, composite unfortunately suffers from an interference issue, but the interference is hard to notice on a small display. The bigger the display gets, the easier it becomes to notice wavy and jerky lines in the display.
The SCART converter that comes with the PS2 only converts the RCA signals to the best it can achieve. However, SCART can achieve a lot more than just mere conversion. While composite is inferior, the dedicated SCART cable can transmit true RGB, a much cleaner, crisper picture.
For any standard definition TV that supports SCART, this is by far the best purchase you can get. This method does not suffer from the interference that comes with the RCA option. For the late generation wide-screen TVs that offered a resolution similar to 720p HD appear to react extremely well and provide a great visual experience.
High Definition TV
The PS2 natively supports a YPBPR , so if your TV has native component ports they may be the best supported option you can go for.
This method operates in a similar way to RCA, however the video is split into three separate component channels. Normally this method does not transmit audio, so you’ll have a 5 point connection, using the red and white audio method from composite to deliver the audio experience.
This option comes with a small caveat – unless you have a SDTV connection compatible with your TV handy, you will need to change a setting blind. Once this setting is enabled, the PS2 will know to output YPBPR instead of RGB.
This way lets you achieve the closest experience you can get to high definition (HD) supported by the PS2. However, it is up to the game what level of HD it provides. If you are in the PAL region (Europe), then you’re pretty much out of luck. NTSC however has a few games that had a resolution close to a HD experience. The most noticeable game to implement this is Gran Turismo 4, which runs at a maximum of 1080i. If your TV supports interlaced input, then you can really squeeze the best you can get out of this old timer console.Last updated: 11th March 2019