The Raspberry Pi chipset was originally designed to be a HDMI/graphics co-processor for mobile devices. For that reason, it has quite a bit of 'HDMI horsepower' and can, despite it's small size, play 1080p video at full screen.

HDMI Video Out

The easiest & fastest way to get video going is to connect up an HDMI display. We have a ton of options, and any HDMI display size from 640x480 up to 1920x1080 will work. The Mini HDMI port is conveniently labeled and shown below:

(Shown here with a Pi 2 because, well, the Pi Zero wasn't out at the time)

To connect an HDMI device, you'll need 2 things, a Mini HDMI to HDMI Adapter and an HDMI Cable

The HDMI cable is pretty straight-forward to understand, and you can get one anywhere. The HDMI adapter is required because the Pi Zero does not have a standard size HDMI port, instead the port is slimmer and smaller to keep the Zero petite. The adapter is pretty straight forward to use - plug it into the Pi Zero and the port is now large enough for any standard HDMI cable

PiTFT Video

Even though it is 'half size' of the A+, you can still use any of our PiTFT's on the Pi Zero You can use any size from our 2.2" 320x240 PiTFT HAT, up to our 3.5" Touchscreen 480x320.

Before you can plug in a HAT or PiTFT you'll need to solder in the 2x20 male header

Then follow the tutorial for the PiTFT of your choice! Be sure to pick the Jessie install image

VGA Video Out

This one is pretty easy, just use the HDMI adapter above, and an HDMI to VGA adapter (this also has the benefit of giving you an audio output)

NTSC/PAL Composite Video

OK so you want TV video? Maybe for one of our very tiny composite video screens?

Well, the quality is not going to be nearly as nice as with VGA or HDMI but you can do it. Find the two pads marked TV on the 'Zero

The hole on the left, nearest to the TV text, is the signal (+) line, the pin to the right of it is the ground (-) line. Solder two wires to these pads and connect them to an RCA Jack like this one

Make sure to not have HDMI plugged in, it should auto-switch to TV out. If you have somehow set your Pi for HDMI out only, plug your HDMI screen back in, or use a console cable to connect and log into the Pi. Then run sudo raspi-config at a command line to set video output to composite! You'll also want to tweak your Pi to use composite in the nicest resolution possible

This guide was first published on Nov 26, 2015. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Video Outputs) was last updated on Nov 26, 2015.

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