You should be able to connect the Express to the HDMI-to-RCA converter and the output of the converter to the same connections on the TV that you used for the Zenith digital converter. You'll be able to connect one or the other. The composite output of the TV isn't really good for anything. Most TVs of that era only have one set of RCA inputs, but look at the back and front of the TV to make sure. If you have two or more sets of RCA inputs you could connect both the Express and the Zenith box at the same time. If you post the model number of the TV we may be able to look it up.
I don't usually suggest that people spend money, but a new TV would solve most of your problems. Look for sales going on before the "big game".
Make sure it's a real HDMI to Composite conversion DEVICE and not just a cable. (Even then actually getting one that works can be hit or miss.)
I'm guessing the reason you still have the 1990 TV is you remember the pain and suffering of getting a ~200-pound device into your home, but new TVs weigh a tenth of that and most local stores will take the old one away for you. (Just make it a condition of the sale.)
Thank you so much for replying! I'm just a stubborn & sentimental ole broad that likes my Mitsubishi console TV as a piece of furniture that I have had for years! Survived 4 cross country moves! I bought an Insignia HDMI to RCA Converter from Best Buy per their advice. Doesn't say on the box if its a HDMI 2 or not. Plus my Zenith digi converter box does not have an HDMI input. I'm going to return the Roku Express and get the Roku stick plus get a digi converter box that has HDMI 2 input and see if that works. If not, I will surrender! LOL!
Thanks so much for replying! My TV only has 1 RCA input port and 1 RCA output port. I connected the composite cable from the digi converter box into the 'out to TV port" (only choice) then connected other end to the TV's composite INPUT port. I'm coming to your conclusion in that the composite output just isn't strong enough to handle pulling in local TV stations plus support the Roku as the Roku light blinks like it is on life support (LOL!) and nothing appears on my TV.
I'm not 100% sure I'm understanding, but when you say zenith digi converter, I'm pretty sure you're talking about an ATSC (digital) tuner for old TVs. If so, this has nothing at all to do with Roku. Your Roku should not be connected to it in any way. If your TV only has one input port and it's being using by the Zenith, unplug the Zenith converter (for now) and just connect Roku -> HDMI converter -> TV. If that works, and you want to continue on this path (sounds like you do) then you can get a switch to add more RCA ports to your TV. Or, many of those ATSC converter boxes also allowed connecting to the antenna input on the TV.
Thank you for trying to help me Strega! The Roku is connected to the HDMI to RCA converter and then I have tried connecting the red, white, & yellow RCA composite cable coming from the HDMI to RCA converter to both the Zenith digi converter (ATSC (digital) tuner for old TVs) and the TV directly and neither produces a Roku presence on my TV screen. Just now disconnected the red, white, & yellow RCA composite cable coming out the end of the HDMI to RCA converter and connected it directly to the TV INPUT port to rule out that I had not tried it before (at this point I am dizzy). Roku light on, no longer just blinking, but still showing no presence on my TV screen!
If you connect the Zenith box to the TV and you get a picture, disconnect the cables from the back of the Zenith box and connect the HDMI-to-RCA converter to the TV using the same red/white/yellow cables you used for the Zenith box. If you still don't get a picture from the Express it's likely the converter you got is the culprit. Getting a Roku stick isn't likely to fix your problem and shouldn't be necessary. If you can post a link to the HDMI-to-RCA converter you got we can take a look at it.
Hi renojim, thanks for reaching out and clarifying the correct set up/connections. I just got off of the phone with INSIGNIA customer service and wasn't able to obtain any real help/solution to my dilemma. After repeated unsuccessful attempts at connection, I have essentially concluded that this converter is not compatible with my TV, even the wording on the product box is ambiguous in its statement that this converter's "RCA AV output signal will work with (virtually) all TVs and displays that have an RCA input." The Roku lights up blinks on and off repeatedly and eventually goes out entirely. So I am returning the unit to Best Buy and seeking out a different HDMI to RCA Converter product. Thanks again!
INSIGNIA HDMI-to-RCA Converter https://www.insigniaproducts.com/pdp/NS-HZ331/6134314
It looks like it should work, but they don't give you much to go on. It's kind of pricey when you can find them online for less than half that price.