|2007-12-13, 02:23 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Toronto, Rogers, 8300HD, eHDD, Panasonic TCP65S1, Denon AVR4310Ci; 8300HD, eHDD & Sony KDL40W3000
FAQ - How to Connect a VCR, or DVD Recorder and STB
Updated 2011.07.03. 11,248 Previous views.
This setup applies to a cable set-top-box (STB), but is applicable to other STBs as well. (ie, it works for satellite, but the step 1 splitter is not applicable since there are no VCRs, DVD recorders that can tune satellite signals)
Here's a solution for high picture quality and the fullest possible functionality using a STB and a VCR (standard or S-VHS). A DVD Recorder, TiVo or PC can be substituted for the VCR). On STBs, the composite, S-video, analogue audio connections are active, irrespective of HDMI or component video use for the HD connection.
The following does not apply to DTA (Digital TV Adaptors), since they don't have the appropriate capabilities. DTAs are discussed later in the FAQ:
1. Split the "incoming" "audio/video RF-coax" with a two way splitter - one coax to the STB input, one to the VCR input. (use a good splitter rated at 5-1000 MHz, bidirectional) (This step is not necessary for satellite STBs since a VCR/DVD Recorder cannot record satellite without the STB. It's also not necessary if you always want to record from your cable STB)
2. Connect the STB to the VCR via S-video, or composite video (your preference - use composite (yellow) if you don't have an S-VCR, or there is no s-video connection on either device).
3. Connect the STB to the TV via S-video or composite video. (if you have an HD STB you can use the component video or DVI/HDMI cables instead). (If you don't have a second video output, you can put a "Y-connector" on the signal output (usually composite)
4. Connect the VCR to the TV via composite or S-video. (If using a DVD recorder, then you can use component video cables, or HDMI for this connection for better picture quality) You also need to connect analogue audio (red/white) from the VCR to the TV (and/or AVR) for audio
5. You'll need to send the audio signals from the STB to the VCR (red/white) and to the TV. If your STB doesn't have two sets of audio outputs you'll need audio piggyback cables or "Y" connectors for the analogue audio (two outputs to four inputs). If you're using digital audio to a receiver and don't want to connect the analogue audio to the receiver, you can omit one set of audio cables - the ones between the STB and the receiver (or TV).
6. There is no need to use "audio/video RF-coax" "downstream" of the VCR or STB since all the audio/video signals are already taken care of above. If you want to watch the TV without either the STB or VCR or receiver on, you can run the "audio/video RF-coax" from the VCR to the TV if you want. (or run an additional split upstream of the STB to the TV - not applicable to Satellite)
7. If you are going to a digital A/V receiver, you can replace "TV" with "Receiver" in all the above and then connect from the Receiver to the TV in the appropriate manner.
8. If you want a digital audio signal for the Receiver simply connect that "digital" cable from the STB to the receiver (it's simply another RCA plug cable) (if you have optical for digital sound, use a TOSlink cable instead) If using a DVD recorder, you can send a digital signal from the DVD recorder to the A/V Receiver. If you have a VCR you can also send audio to the AVR if desired via the analogue audio cables.
You can now record any analogue signal while watching anything via the STB (not applicable to Satellite).
When you want to record from the STB, program your VCR to, instead of selecting a channel, you select Video1 or V1 or LINE or channel 0 or whatever it is called on your VCR. Refer to your VCR manual to find out how to select it - usually done when you set an event timer or by pressing "channel down" to get below channel 3, 2, to ch 0. Now your VCR will record whatever channel your STB is on. So if you leave it on channel 201 it will record channel 201. Read your STB manual to find out how to set up a TIMER or VCR timer so that you can record that programme. You'll need to set the timer on the STB and the VCR. (Some advanced users will use a "VCR commander" and avoid the VCR programming setup, but that's for advanced users and doesn't work if you want to also use the VCR's analogue tuner)
If you're simply trying to record something off a PVR, once you have the correct connections as described above, set the VCR to the appropriate input, key up the programme you wish to record on the PVR, hit "play" on the PVR and "record" on the VCR or DVD recorder.
Some of the STBs will let you record "HD" channels downconverted to 480i. These recordings may need to be stretched/zoomed to be viewed "properly", depending on whether the STB does an "anamorphic squeeze" to the SD output.
If you have a satellite STB, you don't need step one obviously and, of course you can't record any analogue channels because satellite is digital.
Alternately, you can buy one of those Radio Shack switch boxes, but then you need to remember to "switch" to the proper input before recording, which you don't need to do with my solution.
If you want to watch and record two digital channels, you'll need two STBs or purchase a two-tuner digital DVR, like the Motorola 6416, or SA8300HD, or BEV92XX
If you have an HD STB, you'll need to connect the component video cables, or DVI/HDMI to the TV/Receiver.
These instructions are only on how to include the VCR "in the loop". You'll still have to make all of the other appropriate connections (DVD, BD, Game, turntable, MD, Laserdisc, audio tape, etc)
For Cable - one option that some people utilize is that they use a three-way splitter connecting one of the outputs directly to the TV's internal tuner. In this way you can watch the TV's internal analogue tuner while the other two devices are busy.
If the STB only has RF-coax out, then you'll need to use that connection as you did before with your VCR, but tune the VCR to channel 3 (or 4, or whatever the output channel is on the STB) to record the output from the STB. Timers need to be set on the STB (the channel/time you wish to record) and on the VCR (channel 3 at the appropriate time for example) If the STB doesn't have a timer feature, you need to leave the STB on, and tuned to the channel you wish to record.
Some newer DVD recorders have digital tuners, however, their use is usually limited due to encryption by the service provider. In a few years there may be fewer or no analogue cable channels.
Whew, I don't think I've forgotten anything...
If you're not familiar with the cables discussed above, please see the following post on Cables & Connections:
Want to avoid all this - get yourself an integrated PVR and enjoy - I did.
If you're in/near the GTA and need assistance, see:
Note also that some programming is now copy protected. See the following thread on that topic:
Please PM 57 if you've got any comments or suggestions.