SCART Connections and Cables Explained

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SCART connections are still found in Europe for connecting audio-visual components.

So, although less prevalent now, you may well find older AV equipment still has one of these connectors.

However, with the introduction of digital technology and connection types such as HDMI and DVI, you will unlikely see one of these on a new device.

So what do you need to know about this type of connection – and when should you use it?

What Does a SCART Connector Look Like?

The SCART connector on your device looks like this:

SCART connection

It is a female connection that takes the male pins from the SCART cable.

As you can see from the shape of the connector, the design of SCART leads means they will only fit one way round, so make sure you pay attention when plugging it in.

What Does a SCART Cable Look Like?

SCART cables that are used to connect two devices look like this:

SCART cable connection

It has 21 pins to transfer video and audio signals – although some cables are not fully wired, so might not be suitable for transferring some types of video – especially RGB.

Therefore, if you are trying to make an RGB connection and it isn’t working, check that you have a fully wired SCART cable.

With a SCART lead, you need to make sure you push it in firmly, or you may not get a good image.

What Does the Interface Do?

SCART connections send analog video and audio signals between devices – which are incompatible with modern-day digital signals.

SCART supports standard-definition video signals like RGB, composite and S-Video – plus stereo and mono audio signals.

SCART can actually support analog high-definition video signals; however, with the introduction of digital HDMI connections, there were hardly any devices built for this.

When Should You Use SCART?

This connector type is quite old and less common in recent AV equipment.

Modern equipment usually has better ways of connecting devices, such as digital HDMI or DVI connections.

However, if you have devices with SCART ports, this can be an easy way to send video and audio signals between the two using just one cable.

What Else Is There to Know?

The SCART connection is also known as the Euroconnector and the EIA Multiport worldwide.

SCART has always had a poor reputation in the AV world because, although it’s pretty versatile in transferring different types of signals, it never fitted very well – making it hard to get a reliable connection.

Therefore, with the introduction of digital high-definition images and multi-channel audio, you will mainly find this in older AV equipment.

A fully wired SCART cable is compatible with a composite signal and RGB video.

Although, if your devices support it, then many people prefer to use a dedicated component connection rather than SCART.

How to Convert SCART to HDMI

Many people still have old AV devices that have SCART connections.

For example, they might have an old DVD player, set-top box or game consoles like the NES and SNES.

So, if you want to keep using these, you will likely have a problem connecting them to a modern TV or projector.

The solution is to buy a SCART to HDMI converter.

All you need to do is connect your device’s SCART output to the adapter and use the HDMI output to wire an HDMI cable to your TV.

Here is a popular converter at Amazon:

Top SCART to HDMI Converter
SCART to HDMI Video Converter
What Is It: An adapter that connects the SCART output of an old AV device to a modern HDMI input.
  • Upscales standard-definition RGB/composite video to 720p and 1080p
  • Audio pass-through via HDMI, coaxial, AUX or headphones
  • Supports both PAL and NTSC video
  • Works with any device with a SCART output

This adapter will upscale an RGB or composite video signal from your old device to 720p or 1080p.

It will also pass an audio signal through the HDMI output, or you can split the audio into the 3.5mm, coaxial or headphone outputs.

Can You Convert HDMI to SCART?

Previously, you learned about converting the SCART output from an old AV device to a modern HDMI connection.

However, what if you want to do this the other way around – from HDMI to SCART?

Well, you will be pleased to learn that converters can also switch digital HDMI signals to analog video signals for a SCART input.

You might want to do this if you have an old TV with no HDMI inputs and want to connect a modern device with HDMI-only.

Here is an HDMI to SCART converter that will do the job for you:

Top HDMI to SCART Converter
ZHIYUEN® HDMI to SCART 1080P Converter
What Is It: An adapter for converting a digital HDMI connection to analog SCART video and audio. Perfect if your TV only has a SCART connection.
  • Converts MHL and HDMI digital video signals
  • Output resolution of 720p and 1080p at 60Hz
  • Low power consumption
  • No drivers required
  • Supports NTSC and PAL video
  • Not bi-directional - HDMI to SCART only

Simply connect your device’s HDMI output to the converter’s HDMI input port, and it will convert digital MHL or HDMI video and audio to an analog SCART CVBS signal.

Support for MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) means it will work with many compatible smartphones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some quick-fire answers to popular questions about SCART connections.

What is SCART?

SCART is a connection type used for sending analog video and audio signals between AV devices.

What is a SCART Cable?

A SCART cable connects AV devices that have SCART connections. Older devices, such as DVD players, set-top boxes and game consoles, used SCART to send video and audio signals.

What Does SCART Stand For?

SCART stands for Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs – which is the French television manufacturers association that developed this connection type.

How to Connect a DVD Player to a TV Without a SCART Connection?

If you want to connect an old DVD player with a SCART output to a modern TV, you must buy a converter box. A SCART to HDMI converter will take the SCART output from your DVD player and convert it to HDMI, which you can then connect to any modern TV.

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About The Author

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.

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