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Connecting an old VCR to a new TV set

by Rockoak / December 20, 2010 1:11 PM PST

I have a new digital 21" HD ATSC tuner television in my 30' travel trailer, and I'd like to hook up my older (2005) VCR with built in NTSC analog tuner to it. The problem is that there is no cable or satellite signal for my TV in the location I'm at, only over the air broadcasts. The amplified rooftop antenna brings in at least 8 HD stations at very good picture quality (1080). Now I know that the VCR needs to be hooked to a converter box for channels 13 and under coming over the air: but how do I hook up the DTV converter box so that so I can record and playback (in 480)and when not using the VCR watch TV in HD. Will a separate line with splitter and bypass switch work without weakening the signal? Or how about splitting the signal from the antenna amplifier and running two lines? Do I need a second amplifier? Any good ideas would be appreciated.

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And I don't think there's anyway around it.
by ahtoi / December 20, 2010 3:41 PM PST

The problem with a convert box is that you cannot do "timer recording" because there is no way to change the channel automatically (timer). You might have to go with dvd recorder with a built-in tuner.

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convert box and vcr
by Rockoak / December 20, 2010 10:13 PM PST

From reading Ahtoi's remark I can see that this situation is confusing. And I still think I should be able to set the Converter box to the channel I want; then set the VCR to channel 3, and then set the VCR timer for the program to be recorded. If this works I won't get any HD programs, only 480p on the TV if the signal goes through the VCR. And that's fine, but I also want to watch live TV in 1080p HD, and with this setup ie: antenna cable to converter box, cable to VCR, cable to TV, it just won't work. I need an alternate setup like running two cables?
But thanks for the input Ahtoi.

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No, what I am saying...
by ahtoi / December 21, 2010 12:41 AM PST
In reply to: convert box and vcr

you could still record with the vcr but not like the usual way. The old way; you set the channels and time on the vcr program, and at the end of the day all that will be recorded for you. But now with the converter box, you do the channel changing with the box...and the box don't have timer built-in (at least all that I have seen don't have it). If you can get one one with a built-in timer then you are all set.

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I see your point but...
by Rockoak / December 21, 2010 2:17 AM PST

Ya, thanks Ahtoi, I see your point but my problem is trying to get good HD 1080p picture on the TV, and that's my main concern. I already know that if a VCR with an analog tuner is set to channel 3, and the convert box is set to whatever channel I want to record, then it will record that program when the timer comes on. You don't need a timer on the box. But the VCR picture comes out at analog values of 480p. I still want to watch HD and record certain programs. I've also got a big library of VHS tapes that have never been converted to DVD.
Well, maybe someone else out there knows the correct hook up I need. I,m going up to the trailer next week so I'll have to do some experimental hook ups on it.

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Oh I think I see where you are going with this;
by ahtoi / December 21, 2010 6:57 AM PST

will a splitter split the digital signal for you? I can't tell you for certain that it will work but you can certain try. I have Time Warner cable, and I do use a splitter and it works ok (but I have no idea what type of signal TWC is sending out to me though). I think it's both analog and digital. You might ask how's that possible? I don't know. All I know is that my vcr works ok with it, and the ATSC as well as QAM, on the TV, works ok with it (go figure!).

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I went up and tried... not satisfied
by Rockoak / December 25, 2010 7:29 AM PST

Ya Ahtoi, but there's no cable in the trailer, only amplified rooftop antenna. Anyhow I went up to the trailer briefly and tried a good half dozen different types of hook-ups, and I was not satisfied with any of the reception. I guess analog and digital tuners don't mix too well with a converter box. I tried A B switches, splitters, you name it. The VCR played with white tracking lines running through the picture. When I removed all the junk and just ran an antenna cable to the TV I got beautiful HD reception. I drove home thinking of what to do with this situation, and I decided to bite the bullet and spend some cash. Easy fix. Why didn't I think of this before? So I went online and bought a reconditioned like new combo VCR DVD recorder from for only $168.00. It has a digital tuner. Anybody want to buy my old analog VCR.

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