How to Connect An Xbox 360 to Your TV

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Choosing the Right Spot for Your Xbox 360

This is the back of the Xbox 360. The ports for the power cable, A/V cable, and ethernet cable are pretty easy to find. When you set up your Xbox 360, make sure it is in a well ventilated area that is free of dust. Dust and overheating are the two main causes of problems in electronics so choosing the right placement for your Xbox 360 is important.

This article is obviously about the old original "Fat" model of the Xbox 360, but if you are connecting an Xbox 360 Slim or the Xbox 360 E (the newest model that looks like the Xbox One), with component or composite cables, the steps are all the same.

Also, if your TV and Xbox 360 have HDMI, that is clearly the way to go and is simply a matter of connecting the single HDMI cable.

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Xbox 360 A/V Cable

This is the standard Xbox 360 A/V cable that comes with the premium version of the Xbox 360. The wide silver end connects to your Xbox 360 while the other end connects to your TV. The Yellow (video) cable is for standard, non-HDTV sets. You will also use the Red+White audio cables for a standard set. If you have a newer TV or an HDTV set, you can use the Red+Green+Blue video connections along with the Red+White audio connections.

Newer model Xbox 360 systems also have HDMI connections, which is what we recommend instead of using ​a composite of component cables. HDMI connects with just a single cable from your HDTV to Xbox 360 to deliver audio as well as video.

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Connecting The Xbox 360 To The Back Of Your TV

This shot shows what the back of most TVs look like. If you have a standard TV, you'll only have the Yellow+Red+White connections. If you have a newer TV or HDTV, you should have the same connections that are shown in the pic. This step isn't too hard since the cables from the Xbox 360 and ports on the back of your TV are all color-coded.

Modern HDTVs all have HDMI connections, and newer model Xbox 360 systems do as well, so we recommend using HDMI if you can. It is easier to connect - just one cable that delivers audio as well as video - and offers a better overall picture and sound quality.

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A/V Cable HDTV Switch

If, and only if, you have an HDTV and want to use your Xbox 360 in 480p, 720p, or 1080i resolutions you have to slide a little switch over on your A/V cable. On the end of the A/V cable that connects to the Xbox 360, there is a little switch that you'll need to click over. If you do not have an HDTV, you can skip this step.

The original model Xbox 360 had a combination Component / Composite cable and you had to use this switch on the cable to choose between them. Later models of the Xbox 360 system only came with a composite cable, so this step likely isn't necessary if you have a newer model. Some systems also came with an HDMI cable, which is what we recommend you use now.

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Xbox 360 Power Supply

Now that you have the audio/video cables connected, the next step is to hook up the power supply. Connect the two parts as shown in the picture and then connect the "power brick" end to your Xbox 360 and the other end to a wall outlet. The big power brick needs plenty of ventilation just like the main system so try to have an open space on a shelf for it. It is not recommended that you set it on the carpet.

Microsoft recommends that you connect the power supply directly to a wall outlet and not to run it through a power strip / surge protector. A power strip or surge protector does not always deliver a 100% consistent supply of power to the system, and the fluctuating power flow can actually damage your Xbox 360.

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Power Up And Get Playing

Once you have everything hooked up, you are ready to go. Press the large circular power button to get things started.

If you have a wired controller, plug it into a USB port behind the little USB door. If you have a wireless controller, hold the silver "X" button in the middle of the controller until the upper left quadrant of the system power button as well as the ring around the "X" button on the controller light up. If it doesn't light up, press the controller connect button on the Xbox 360 as well as the connect button on the top of the controller.

If this is the first time the system has been used, you'll have to go through an onscreen setup process. This is simply setting up your player profile, choosing HDTV settings if available, and/or signing up for Xbox Live service. The system walks you through everything.

Now you are ready to play.