Can anyone tell me how to hook up my Commodore 64 to a TV?

I have a C64 without the monitor, but it can connect to a TV. However, I didn't get the cable with it, and can't find the solution. Help greatly appreciated!

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Or, for far better results, use the <a href="">video output</a> on the C64 as an <a href="">S-Video</a> connection.<br /><br />Thanks for keeping the memories alive with the Commodore; this mightjust inspire me to get off my butt and fix my 1541 drive.<br />
brandegor (author)  MahavishnuMan8 years ago
I am still flummoxed by this little problem. The unit has, in addition to the RCA output, a 5-pin audio - as in MIDI cable, but I can't sort out how to arrange that connection. So far, any attempts to connect via the RCA cable to switchbox to TV hasn't worked either. The manual says I need a 300 OHM to 75 OHM adapter, which I found at RS, but there doesn't seem to be a way to get that working either.

Any more ideas?
If you're referring to the connections on the back of the Commodore, there will be two similar jacks.  One, located directly next to the RCA jack, is for A/V Output; the other, with a slightly different pin arrangement, is for serial transmission (almost always to connect to a floppy drive).

The pin-out can be found at (copy and paste into your browser, as apparently the link editor here is currently having issues).  If it's only 5 pins, you can modify any MIDI cable to create a composite out that will plug directly into a line input on the TV.  If it is a later model, you can get even better picture by modifying an 8-pin DIN to S-Video cable (provided your TV has S-Video inputs).

If the 5-pin DIN connection is on the TV and labeled "Audio In", then I would be concerned.  That type of connection is normally used on European (primarily German) sets, and doesn't see too much use at all in the US.

If it is a European set, then there may be compatibility issues between the C64 and the TV.  If your Commodore is North American (therefore using NTSC format) and the set is from Europe (using either PAL or SECAM), than nothing will work.

If I'm barking up the wrong tree, then the connection should go as follows:

1. RCA jack from C64 to the switch box.  Remember to set the switch on the Commodore to either channel 3 or 4 and ensure the switch box is set to "Game" or "Computer".
2. 300 Ohm screws on the switch box to the 300 Ohm connection on the matching transformer.
3. 75 Ohm coaxial connection on the transformer connected by cable to the "Cable" or "VHF" connection on the TV.  Remember to match the TV channel to either 3 or 4 as set by the C64 switch.

If this fails and you know for sure your TV is NTSC, then you can make either a composite or S-Video adapter using the links I provided earlier (which apparently have been reduced to a garble of HTML code).
brandegor (author)  MahavishnuMan8 years ago
First let me thank you for the time you took to write such a thorough response. The set is an old black and white Zenith (it's actually very cool looking). I may have purchased the incorrect switch box as there is no game or computer option. I have paid attention to the channel options. Thanks for the links to the pinouts - I may try that if I can't find an appropriate switch box. I'll be back with either results or more questions!
It sounds possible that you may have bought the wrong box.  Although most modern switchers automatically detect input when you turn on a console, most I've seen anymore assume the RCA jack is a composite video line and not an RF-modulated line (the C64 already has RF-modulation built in).

If you have an old NES, SNES, or Sega Genesis, you can use these RF boxes to connect the C64.  Also, you can visit to find Radio Shack part numbers for exactly what you need.
brandegor (author)  MahavishnuMan8 years ago
First, I'm going to try skipping the switchbox all together under the assumption, which is probably erroneous, that the manual (which I have) itself assumes the television will be shared with the computer. However, I am also using google to find out if that is the case. Thanks again, kind sir.
appolo8 years ago
Dito Kiteman, I think it was a RCA phono socket on the back for RF out which is the same type of socket commonly found on stereo sound equipment and video recorders etc. There may also be a direct output (none RF) through one of the 'D' sockets_can't be sure. Come back if your question is not resolved, some where I still have the service manual for one of these.
brandegor (author)  appolo8 years ago
I bought a switch box at Radioshack and will let you folks know as soon as I have a chance to hook it up. Thanks.
Kiteman8 years ago
I seem to recollect that the old C64 connected to the TV via an RF co-axial cable, just like old-style TV aerials.