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Tunerless equipment - how do they work?

by MsIrisMG / March 29, 2007 2:46 AM PDT

I want someone to explain how does a tunerless VCR record shows? Is it possible to use the timer with these units?

Thank you in advance

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tunerless means it wont record
by stewart norrie / March 29, 2007 5:07 AM PDT

Playback only. steweeee

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Is this from experience?
by MsIrisMG / March 29, 2007 6:06 AM PDT

Are you sure about that? A manual I downloaded says it can. If you don't have a lot of experience with this, then nothing personal but I'd rather hear from someone who does.

Thank you in advance.

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I don't know anything but I am curious.
by ahtoi / March 29, 2007 9:28 AM PDT

What are we talking about here? What manual and what vcr? Any link/s?

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Maybe we'll both learn something!
by MsIrisMG / March 29, 2007 11:07 AM PDT

Hi, and thanks for the input. I know this isn't a real video forum, but I was hoping someone knowledgeable could chime in.

I don't believe one needs specific models to know how tunerless video equipment would work in general, but on the other hand if you'd like to see a tunerless VCR or a tunerless DVD recorder, one need only go to Best Buy and check out the new Samsung models; specifically, the new Samsung DVD-R155 and the DVD-VR357. I picked the DVD recorder up, looked at all the inputs and outputs on the back of it, set it down, didn't buy it, and right now am very glad I didn't.

If you need links, here's one for Samsung's DVD recorder, and you can read the description for yourself:

This is the DVD/VCR combo that's tunerless; you can download the manual if you wish:

You can Google any others you're curious about; the same question applies to all of them.

It's really kind of nutty to suggest, as the other poster did, that they can't record, or why else would they call them recorders? Common sense would say otherwise, right?

So, to restate the question, how does a tunerless recorder gets the signal to record with, if there is no tuner to do so with. How do you tell it what channels to record and what time? HOW DOES IT WORK?

Such a simple question, and yet...

Anyway, ahtoi, THAT is what I'm talking about here. I'm sure in time we'll get the answers we need!

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I don't understand the confusion. . .
by Coryphaeus / March 29, 2007 11:29 AM PDT

Tunerless means no tuner. You record from and external input and not a tuner. If you want to record from an antenna or RF input, get one with that input.

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I think I know what happened.
by ahtoi / March 29, 2007 1:25 PM PDT

The company problaly received lots of complain about dvd recorder not acting exactly like a vcr (which always have a built-in tuner).

But a dvd recorder is always tunerless (a given as far as I know). So the channels are selected with the cable box or some other set top box (tivo, I think has a built-in tuner).

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by dashaund / April 29, 2007 6:32 AM PDT

Tunerless models are made for everyone who doesn't have analog cable or digital OTA. And, with this model, it has HDTV upconversion. So, if you're using digital cable, you don't need the tuner. If you've got Directv/DISH, you don't need the tuner. I have a HD TiVo, so why in the world would I need a tuner? I'm not using it to watch any TV, just record from my TiVo and watch DVDs. If you're recording from a camcorder, you don't need a tuner. So, no, it's not useless. I think you need to do a little more research...

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That is why I asked in the first place at a forum..
by MsIrisMG / May 5, 2007 10:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Tunerless

...for research! Thanks for giving me an answer that wasn't idiotic.

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Let me add one more.
by ahtoi / May 5, 2007 12:32 PM PDT


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by stewart norrie / March 29, 2007 11:26 AM PDT

There is no such thing as tunerless sorry . Ok a v.c.r. without a tuner WILL NOT RECORD PERIOD THERE IS NO RECORDING FEATURE MOSTLY USED FOR MOTEL USE PLAYBACK ONLY Ok clear. A v.c.r. d.v.d. combo will record v.c.r. to d.v.d. only so you can dub all your old v.h.s. tapes to d.v.d. where did you get the word TUNERLESS IN THE FIRST PLACE STEWE

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This forum is full of teenagers, and I'm not playing anymore
by MsIrisMG / March 29, 2007 11:46 PM PDT
In reply to: TESTY IRIS

I thought I would get intelligent answers here, but instead I get a teenage chatroom. I'm not playing anymore. I'm unsubscribing now.

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samsung r-155 tunerless dvd recorder hd upconversion
by sonnychas / January 14, 2008 10:00 AM PST

I finally got this piece of crap to record but i don't get any audio.
you have to go through the set top cable box, video out to video in, but this doesn't work with the audio. I have an external audio system, the audio will play while im recording but i don't have any sound during playback.

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It is a recorder/ player, no tuner!
by jcrobso / March 30, 2007 12:32 AM PDT

I'm not sure why Sammy made this product, you can get a VHS/DVD recorder WITH a tuner for the same amount of money.
It has AV input and outputs, you can record from you cable box or Dish, also has firewire input so you can hook up you MiniDV and copy your tapes straight to DVD.

Note: If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem.
If you had included the links in you first post the responses would have been more accurate. John

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Not sure about that
by MsIrisMG / May 5, 2007 11:00 AM PDT

Links wouldn't have helped because the nature of the question, I thought, was simple, plus I had expected, erroneously in retrospect, that people who had such a product would be the best ones to respond. Thank you, though, for your input.

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The RIGHT answer.
by masterying01 / May 5, 2007 2:26 PM PDT

In Feb 2007, a law was passed saying anything with a tuner in it has to have an ATSC tuner. So every new model that comes out from now on (rather its a tv, vcr, dvd recorder, etc) MUST have an ATSC tuner for the digital channels or it can't have a tuner at all. ATSC tuners are a lot of money so SOME, NOT ALL!!!, companies chose to take it out of their new products.

the current line of sony, toshiba, and samsung dvd recorders and vcr's do NOT have a tuner in it. the current line of LG and Panasonic DO (i repeat, DO!) have an ATSC tuner in it. if recording/scheduling is an important thing for you rather its in a vcr or dvd....go with an LG or Panasonic to avoid headaches. you'll notice these models are usually $60 due to the fact that it has an ATSC tuner.

Tunerless VCR's AND dvd recorders DO record....but not from a tuner because it doesnt have one. it only records from an A/V (RCA, Red yellow white, composite, whatever you want to call it) input. so if you just want to record, plug in a cable box or sat box into it and record straight from it. if you have an antenna, you will need to buy a $180 SEPERATE ATSC TUNER. this is all good and done if you dont need to "schedule" your recordings.

the only way i can think of right now is to get something that will convert a coax signal to rca's and be able to schedule things. rf modulators dont work cause you can't schedule with it and it does the opposite. you can get a tivo and get raped with money charges, or try to find the old models from the internet somewhere.

the only other way i can think of right now, is hook up a seperate VCR into your tunerless vcr/dvd recorder. use the tuner on your vcr, use your vcr to change channels, put a dummie vhs tape into it, use your old vcr to schedule programs. connect the rca out from the vcr to the rca in to the dvd player. i am not sure, but you should be able to schedule your tunerless recorder to start recording from a rca input at a given time and date. and that will be your solution (kind of defeats the purpose, but it should work).

NOW BE CAREFUL! a visit to will list sony's new DVD-RW/VCR unit as having a coax input and output. a click on the pictures will clearly show it does not. DO NOT rely on the specs on a piece of paper...physically look at it and it'll tell you everything you need to know. its pretty much safe to say that anything with both a dvd and a vcr that is cheaper then $200 that is a CURRENT model will not have an atsc tuner. Good luck and be careful.

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by Riverledge / May 5, 2007 3:00 PM PDT
In reply to: The RIGHT answer.



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tunnerless records?
by JanetG123 / December 19, 2007 12:40 PM PST

I have to chime in here since this is so fresh in my mind just working with one this afternoon. My mom bought a new vcr recorder/dvd player in one because her VCR just stopped working. She records DAILY all the half hour little shows in the afternoon (she's older, give her a break!). We hooked her up to Satellite TV (DirecTV) a year ago. So, for her to record onto her VCR, she sets the Sat to the TV channel she wants to record, sets the VCR Timer for the correct time to record on channel 3 (so it's pulling the channel from the Satellite). Presto - perfect for her. my point.

Trying to hook up this new VCR/DVD player which does not have a tunner for her to record her shows in a not so confusing manner! It gets hooked up using the Audio/Video ports like they said, not the Ant IN/ANT Out coax ports. Then, it was odd because to watch her 'Normal" Satellite Channels, the TV was put to channel 3. To watch her VCR, she had to switch the channel to L1. I saw lots of calls in the future if I left her with that.

So, my drawn out story point....YES, you can record on a tunnerless VCR/DVD combo; however, you may run into the same problems I had this afternoon where you need to switch TV channels depending on what you want to do. I'm going out an buying something with the tunner built in using the ANT IN/ANT OUT plugs to make it easy as pie for her. I think I'll be spending some time online buying up the older model 4-head normal stereo VCR's. (hehe)

Please, someone tell me if there is an easier way to do what I stated above than switching channels. If there is, I'd LOVE to find it out.

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Thank you for your input - one year later
by MsIrisMG / March 9, 2008 1:20 PM PDT
In reply to: The RIGHT answer.

It's amazing what hoops I had to go through to get a proper answer that wasn't from bored teenagers who knew nothing about what I was asking! God.

Since my current DVD recorder will become merely a player in less than a year, I think this is important information. Right now, I went ahead and bought a digital tuner to go with my 7 year old tube tv, which will turn TV in a monitor but will be able to watch it. But, I'm not sure what this will do for my analog DVD recorder in the meantime. I'm considering returning the converter box and upgrading to a DVD recorder with a digital tuner built in. Otherwise, I may need a tunerless DVD recorder to go with the converter box, should I decide to keep it.

One has to wade through a lot of stuff. I'd like this digital conversion to cost as little as possible!

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Tuner vs tunerless
by richlady39 / April 19, 2011 11:11 PM PDT

A while back I had a VCR/DVD recorder/player, it kept breaking, finally sent it back to the mfgr and they refunded my $$. Anyway, have been looking for a new one, and they are difficult to find. When I see them they say "NO TUNER" and as a few others I am confused. I am not sure what this means. I now use a VCR to record - it's about 10 years old, it works, but the recording must be going. When I watch a taped show - some of them roll, sometimes I get lines, sometimes get sections that are all "blue". Obviously I need a new one but want the combo - DVD/VCR Recorder/Player, but don't understand the "NO TUNER" part. MY TV is also about 8-10 years old and works fine. I get my TV from COMCAST - not Satallite, DISH. DVR (recording from Comcast) or TIVO, just record from TV. Would appreciate an explanation of the difference between "TUNER" & "NO TUNER", that way I will understand what I need to look for in equipment. Thanks

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That sounds like copy protection
by Pepe7 / April 20, 2011 12:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Tuner vs tunerless

Blue/scrambled lines might mean there is copy protection involved, which is common for content from Comcast.

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Tuner vs tunerless
by richlady39 / April 20, 2011 2:15 AM PDT

Blue spaces and lines on my tapes have nothng to do w/copy protection. since when is Jeopardy, NCIS, or The Biggest Loser, to name a few copy protected????

Have no idea what you mean by "unencrypted channels". I don't have HBO or any of the other channels that are additional.

My concern is not w/my TV but with TUNER or NO TUNER means in the bottom line of recording onto a tape or DVD.

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by Dan Filice / April 20, 2011 2:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Tuner vs tunerless

Here is a big question: Do you have a cable box or do you simply have a coax connected directly to your TV or cirectly to your VHS/DVD player with no cable box? That is an important question because if you have a VHS/DVD combo unit with no tuner, then you can't simply connect that bare cable coax to the Cable-In connection on your combo unit as without a tuner, it won't be able to see channels 2 thru 125, which is basic cable. If the combo unit did have a tuner it would be able to tune to the basic cable channels 2 thru 125. If a combo unit does not have a tuner, then you can't use it as above. BUT, if you have a cable box then the cable box becomes the tuner and all you need to do is connect the cable box to your your combo unit to record shows. Basically, a tunerless combo unit needs another device to act as a tuner to give you channels to record. I have a tunerless Sony combo unit in my office and I hate it. I have a broken old Sony combo unit that does have a tuner, and I have a bare cable coax connected to the broken unit, then the broken unit is connected to the tunerless combo unit, and the tunerless combo unit is connected to my TV. What a pain.

Why did they stop making combo units with tuners you ask? Well, I assume that VHS was the primary recording format for over 20 years, but VHS is a dead format. Also, the vast majority of people have either a cable or satellite box, so why make a combo unit with a tuner if the cable/satellite box is the tuner? For the companies who make combo units, adding a tuner probably seems like an unecessary expense if people use a cable box instead.

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tuner vs no tuner
by richlady39 / April 20, 2011 4:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Tunerless

ok, NO IT DO NOT USE THE CABLE BOX THAT COMCAST PROVIDED so I could get additional channels all the way up to 100something. I disconnected it for the following reason, if I wanted to tape a specific show and watch a show on a different channel I was not able to do it, w/the box it recorded the channel I was watching instead.

I don't need the channels all the way up to wherever - I'm not much of a TV watcher - there are specific show and channels I watch. I'm not interested in the "pay-for" shows.

All I am interested in is having a vcr/dvd recorder/player that will allow me to watch a specific show while recording another one that I want to see on a different channel. Again, what does the tuner have/or have not to do with recording something. I seem to be getting all types of techie answers and I am not interested in technical, just a straight english answer. If I am using my TV - NO CABLE BOX - do I need a recorder/player w/or w/o a tuner...that should be simple enough to answer....if not, please don't give me long technical responses, they don't make sense to me....

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Non-tech simple answer
by Dan Filice / April 20, 2011 5:31 AM PDT
In reply to: tuner vs no tuner

If you do not use a cable box, then you need a combo unit WITH a TUNER. Your connections would simply be: 1) Coax to ANT-IN on the back of the combo unit. 2) Coax connection from the TV-Out on the back of Combo unit to ANT-In on the TV. With these connections, your combo unit WITH tuner will see and record separately from your TV. Done. Now all you need to do is find a combo unit with a tuner. Do a Google search but make sure you include the words "with Tuner".

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tuner - no tuner
by richlady39 / April 20, 2011 7:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Non-tech simple answer

Thanks Dan - that's exactly the way my present VCR is hooked up...and you anwered my question very clearly.. appreciate it...

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analog (NTSC) vs digital (ATSC) issue may be relevant too
by Pepe7 / April 21, 2011 12:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Non-tech simple answer

I'd also encourage the OP to verify if they require NTSC or ATSC tuning, although I believe Comcast has fully transitioned to ATSC in most areas. Nonetheless, given the ability of older electronics to still be sold online new, in-box, you might see one listed as "with tuner" but with the incorrect type.

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Premium channels aren't the only ones that are encrypted
by Pepe7 / April 21, 2011 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Tuner vs tunerless

IME, it's helpful to approach technical problems with an open mind ;).

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