Connecting a PS2 to an HDMI TV

This past week I had an incredible urge to play the original Katamari Damacy videogame on my old Playstation 2. Unfortunately, the PS2 does not play well with modern HD TVs, as the allowable video modes for the PS2 are often not supported.  If you try and plug in a PS2 to a new TV, even using the more advanced component cables, you probably won’t get anything.

Fortunately, you can buy a cool PS2 to HDMI converter these days, such as the one shown below, for only about $16.

Unfortunately, the instructions that come with the converter are a little misleading and incomplete, and there doesn’t seem to be an online resource that includes all the info you need to set it up properly. Even though it isn’t hard, there are a few pitfalls: it took me a few tries to figure out exactly what I needed to do in order to get it to work.

I thought I would post the instructions here, both for anyone who wants a one stop explainer as well as for myself, so I don’t forget!

So, the device itself is simplicity itself: one end plugs directly into the PS2, the other end has an output for an HDMI cable. You can run the cable to an available TV port.

Pitfall 1: if you skim the advertisements for the converter, it says the following: “Hassle free! No power adapter, no messy cords, just one HDMI cable. Plug and play as you go.”

Makes it sound like it doesn’t need power, right? Well, it actually needs USB power, and it comes with a short USB cord.

Pitfall 2: if you’ve never actually used it, like me, you might not realize that the PS2 has a pair of USB ports which you can use to provide power to the converter. (I was plugging it into a USB power outlet cube on my first try.) So you can plug it right in, and the whole arrangement looks as follows.

The converter, with USB power connected. Controllers and PS2 power plugs left out so the connections are clear.

Pitfall 3: Okay, you’ve plugged it in, turned it on, turned on the TV, switched to the proper HDMI port and… nothing.

The problem is that the PS2 has two video output modes: composite video (red/white audio, yellow video cables) and YPBPR component video (red, green and blue cables). The converter is designed to function only in the YPBPR component mode, but apparently defaults to composite video, so you need to switch it. But how do you change the video mode without seeing it?

Via knowledge of the unseen menus. As described on this Overclock help page, from the point where you turn on the PS2, perform the following steps on the PS2 controller:

wait like 10 seconds – 20 seconds

push [down] [X] (this brings you to system settings)

[down] [down] [down] [X] (this brings you to component video selection)

push [right] then [X]

(Left, right, up, down are on the D-pad on the left of the controller.)

If you’ve done all of this correctly, it should in principle work like a charm!  The picture quality is pretty good, considering it is an 18 year old video game console.

One caveat: it may not work properly with all televisions. I have a Samsung, and it is working like a charm for me; other people online have reported various issues. But for $16, it may be worth the risk to you!

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32 Responses to Connecting a PS2 to an HDMI TV

  1. pcbushi says:

    Funny you mention this – I was in the mood recently to play Katamari Damacy again and discovered that my PS3 is not backwards compatible. I didn’t know of these adapters, so I wound up buying a digital copy of the game on the PS store. Oi.

  2. Z says:

    Worked like an absolute freaking charm. Thank you so much. Been searching for hours for the fix and this was the only good one I came across.

  3. Hello! Sorry this question is a bit late, but does this converter also carry audio across the HDMI cable?

  4. I’ve just followed your instructions and it worked perfectly. I’m impressed!

  5. Matty 59 says:

    Hi -I’ve tried all this -have all the lights on my old PS2 and handset and trid every channel on my tv…nothing but ‘no signal’ msg??

  6. Pawel says:

    Hello from Poland!
    First of all – it worked in my case, too. Big thanks for that!!!

    Please only notice one thing – it is worth mentioning that above instruction (to change video output mode) shall be done without any CD inserted. Maybe that was obvious for some of you, but wasn’t for me 😉

    Thanks again!

  7. Emma says:

    This sounds awesome.
    I’m definitely going to try this out and I have a Samsung TV!
    The ps2 connects to all the tellys in the house except the one I want it to so this is great. Thanks for posting this.
    I will post again after I’ve ordered and set it all up.

  8. Anonymous says:

    hey, I have an old ps2 slim however I am missing the cable needed to connect it to a tv. All I have is the power cord. I don’t know what cable it is I need, how to connect it, or if I even can on my tv. I have a newer sony tv, probably a 2017, and I need some help on this one

  9. Is much better if you use a homebrew called GSM or Xploder. You can get a memory card with freemcboot on ebay that will allow you to run it on a unmodified console it is pretty cheap. This will allow you to force every game to run at 480P or 1080i. Or you can also do the same with open PS2 loader

  10. Dante says:

    I’m having trouble. When I play a ps2 game it works fine but when I play a ps1 game my tv looses the signal after the PlayStation logo appears. Any idea how to fix that?

  11. Dave says:

    You could try and change the settings in the system settings to YPbPr before using the hdmi converter instead of doing it blindly. I did it using the red white yellow cable then switched to hdmi. Worked for me. Also set display setting to smooth.

    • Fraser says:

      Hi Dave, this probably going to be a daft question. Once you’ve set the system to YPbPr does it stay locked to that setting. I would hate to have to do this everytime I switch the machine on

    • GT says:

      Fraser…
      Thank you so much, job done looks amazing as if I had PS4!

  12. rich says:

    Thank you so much for your help with this!!!!!!

  13. Robyn says:

    Thanks so much, my other half was convinced this wouldn’t work and I proved him wrong with your help!

  14. BP says:

    I have a different converter and it has a bit of delay. This makes it useless trying to play a game when you push a button and the character moves a millisecond later.

    Is there any delay with this converter?

  15. Mookers says:

    THANK YOU. HOLY SHIT. MY BEST BUDDY AND I WERE PULLING OUT OUR FUCKING HAIR OVER THIS THING. THE MENU THING WORKED LIKE A CHARM.

  16. tommy says:

    Help i did all of this but it didnt work what should i do?
    if i need to buy anoyher ps2 its not a problem but does that help?
    or is it better to buy a backwards compatible ps3 or ps3 test model?
    or is it my tv? (i have a samsung 7 series)

  17. b00gey says:

    what’s the input lag like?
    i ask because for music games like Beatmania, DDR, bust-a-moove etc. input lag kills any way of playing these games.

  18. Jdueudj says:

    I have this one, you dont need power cable when using it in slim models.power cable are for phat models

  19. Hello says:

    Will it still work if I plug the usb cord into my tv port, instead of into the ps2 itself (as shown in the photo) to power it? I need both usb ports on my ps2 for the guitar and drums for the RockBand game.

  20. HUGO says:

    Actually you think that you got something better than component but actually you don’t. These adapter are just an analog to digital converter it just takes the component signal and pass through HDMI. That is the SAME component signal that you could have with component cables but without the quality loss of the analog to digital conversion. That why you have to change from RGB to component that is just the same component signal on a HDMI

  21. brian says:

    hello, I need some help, when I do it its just sliver? and is there any way to change it back to colour?

  22. SkinnyBitchBaby says:

    Hey, thank you very much for the explanation ! I’ve followed every step and it seemed to work, until the PS2 symbol screen. Everytime I launch a game it leads me back to my TV menu… can you help ?

  23. mitchell harter says:

    I have everything set up correctly an i have audio in the main dashboard area were you see your game data and disk to start the game, when i start up the game there is no game audio. Please help

  24. Stephen says:

    Thanks, works like a charm. Now for some Front Mission 4.

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