6 Simple Ways to Connect Any Camera to Your TV [USB, HDMI, RCA]

Feb 17, 2024 | Photography Tutorials

Have you ever wanted to view photos and videos from your camera on your big, beautiful TV screen?

Connecting your camera to your TV is an easy way to turn your living room into an instant home theater.

In this beginner-friendly guide, you’ll learn six simple methods to hook up virtually any camera to a TV using cables or wireless casting.

Whether you have a DSLR, point-and-shoot, camcorder, GoPro, or even a security camera, we’ll cover the exact steps to display your footage on the big screen.

how to connect camera to tv for live view

With just a few affordable cables or adapters, you can recreate that cinematic viewing experience quickly.

Let’s get started!

Connect with an HDMI Cable

The HDMI connection provides the highest quality for viewing your photos and videos on a TV. This is because HDMI cables can transmit much data for crisp, uncompressed video.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •     HDMI cable
  •     Micro HDMI to HDMI adapter (if your camera doesn’t have a full-size HDMI port)


  1.     Connect the Micro HDMI end of the adapter to your camera’s HDMI port.
  2.     Connect the opposite end of the adapter to an HDMI cable. Make sure you get one long enough to reach your TV comfortably.
  3.     Plug the HDMI cable into your TV’s HDMI port.
  4.     Turn on the TV and camera.
  5.     Select the HDMI input you connected your camera using your TV remote. You should now see a crisp, high-definition live preview from your camera!
  6.     Navigate to the playback menu on your camera to access your photos and videos. Controls vary by model.

The HDMI connection lets you view all metadata like histograms, exposure settings, date/time, etc. Ensure your camera battery is charged since it won’t get power over HDMI.

Connect with a USB Cable

Using a USB cable is the next best option if your camera doesn’t have an HDMI port.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •     USB cable (usually comes with your camera)
  •     USB extension cable (optional, for extra length)


  1.     Connect the larger end of the USB cable to your TV’s USB port.
  2.     Connect the smaller end to your camera’s USB port (usually Micro USB or USB-C).
  3.     Turn on the TV and camera.
  4.     You may see a connected message on your TV – select “Browse Files” or the equivalent.
  5.     Navigate through the folder structure to locate your photos and videos. Look for the “DCIM” folder. Controls vary by TV brand.

The USB connection turns your camera into a storage device for easy file viewing. Just like HDMI, remember your camera battery needs sufficient charge.

Insert SD Card Directly

Insert SD Card Directly

If your TV has an SD card slot, you can take a shortcut by inserting your memory card directly rather than using cables.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •     SD card adapter (if you have a microSD card)
  •     Card reader (if your TV doesn’t have an SD slot)


  1.     Remove the SD card or microSD card from your camera.
  2.     If you have a microSD card, insert it into an SD card adapter.
  3.     Insert the SD card or card adapter into your TV’s SD card slot, if available.
  4.     If your TV doesn’t have an SD slot, connect a USB card reader to the TV’s USB port instead. Insert your SD card.
  5.     Access the card through your TV’s file manager and locate your photos and videos to view them.

This shortcut avoids connecting cables between your camera and TV. But some TV USB ports don’t read media, so cables are more reliable.

Cast Wirelessly from a Smartphone

If your camera doesn’t have HDMI or USB ports, you can still view your footage on TV by casting from a smartphone or tablet. This works for action cameras like GoPro.

Here are the options for wireless casting:

  •     Use screen mirroring if your mobile device (newer Android, iPhone, or iPad) supports it. This mirrors precisely what’s on your smaller screen.
  •     Alternatively, use video casting if your device and apps support it. This plays just the video on your TV and allows regular phone use.
  •     Or use a dedicated wireless streaming device like Chromecast plugged into your TV’s HDMI port.

Then, you can cast from compatible apps on your phone or tablet. 

The benefit of wireless casting is avoiding cables. But it depends on your mobile device, smart TV, or streaming stick capabilities. Newer devices are more likely to support casting.

Use RCA/Composite Cable (for Older TVs)

Use RCA or Composite Cable

You can use a composite video cable if your older TV only has RCA inputs. This is the classic 3-colored cable (yellow, red, white).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Composite RCA to HDMI cable (or RCA to USB cable)
  • RCA to BNC adapter


  1. Connect the HDMI end of the cable to your camera’s HDMI output.
  2. Connect the 3 RCA ends to your TV’s corresponding yellow, red, and white RCA inputs.
  3. Turn on your TV and camera.
  4. Switch to the RCA video input on your TV using the source button.

The RCA connection allows compatibility with older TVs lacking modern inputs. Just match the cable colors to the port colors on your TV.

Connect to a Computer Monitor Instead

A computer monitor can work if your TV is outdated or lacks the right ports.  

Monitors often have higher resolution and image quality than standard TVs. Plus, monitors have HDMI and USB inputs to connect your camera.

To use a monitor instead of a TV:

  • Connect your camera via HDMI or USB using the steps outlined above.
  • Ensure the monitor is plugged into a power source.
  • Power on the monitor and camera.
  • Access your files through the monitor’s input settings.

The same connection options apply to monitors and TVs. So, if your television isn’t cooperating, try a monitor to view photos and videos.


In this beginner’s guide, you learned six straightforward methods to connect any camera to a TV:

  1.     HDMI cable for best quality
  2.     USB cable for an accessible wired option
  3.     Inserting the SD card directly into a compatible TV
  4.     Casting wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet
  5.     Using an RCA/composite cable for older TVs
  6.     Connecting to a computer monitor instead of a TV

The best connection option depends on the ports available on your specific camera and TV or monitor models. With the proper cables, wireless setup, or card reader, you can start viewing photos and videos from your camera on the big screen.

You can quickly turn your living room into a home theater and showcase your best footage and photographic memories. Friends and family will love gathering around the TV to view special moments.

We hope this guide gave you the step-by-step instructions to hook your camera to your television successfully. Let us know if you have any other questions, and we’ll be happy to help connect you!

Disclaimer: "As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.






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