Please walk me through this splitter/amplifier thing

catherinetNovember 1, 2007


I live out in the country and have a TV antenna with a rotor, with coaxials to various rooms. In my bedroom, I have a TV, a VCR and a DVD recorder. I can't tape onto my DVD recorder because the VCR is hooked up to the TV. I'm not quite sure what all I need so that I can tape TV shows onto my VCR and also the DVD recorder.

I was thinking I just needed a splitter? Is an amplifier really necessary? Are there certain things I should make sure each of these has, as far as quality and power? Please help me understand what I need to buy. Thanks so much!

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Of the TV, VCR, and DVD, which one receives the signal from the coax and has the tuner? And are you thinking of recording the same program onto both VCR and DVD or different programs?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:17PM
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Hi Steve,
I'm sorry I took a little while getting back to this.
I'm not sure I understand your question, but I think the TV has the coax, and then the other 2 are connected to it (but I'm not for sure).
No, I don't want to tape on the VCR and the DVD at the same time. I just want to be able to tape on either of them. The way it is now, I can only tape from the TV on the VCR.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:51PM
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No problem -- I haven't been on since I posted last.

I guess if it were me, I'd take the coax and connect it to a splitter which then would feed the VCR and the DVD. There should be a connector on the back of the VCR to which you could connect a cable which would lead to the TV to supply it with a signal. You likely would need additional cables (you may already have them) to hook up the VCR and DVD to the TV.

I don't think you'll need an amplifier if you're making only two connections, unless the signal is poor now. Much will depend on how the signal moves from the exterior antenna to the coax (is the coax run sequentially from room-to-room or are there several runs of coax from the antenna to each room? Is there already a splitter or an amplifier in the path?).

Hope that helps...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:27PM
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Thanks Steve,
I'm afraid I'm pretty ignorant of these things. We have an antenna with a rotor on the roof. There's something of a box in the attic. Would that be the amplifier? We had all this installed when we added on to our house 10 years ago. I think they ran separate coaxials to each room.
The VCR and DVD recorder need to be both directly connected to the TV? Or can I go from the TV to the VCR to the DVD? Hmmmm....I guess that wouldn't make any sense if I was going to split things though.
Don't I have to go through the TV to get the programs, to tape on the other 2 machines?
I'm so confused. Its been awhile since I've actually looked at the set-up and I'm not remembering things very well. And its not easy to get to.
Let's start over. I don't seem to be able to use the DVD recorder to tape a TV show, since the VCR is connected to that spot on the TV. So what do I need to do so I can tape on either machine?
Please forgive my density. haha

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 6:01PM
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No problem. Sorry for the delay again; I haven't been logging on here much lately.

To answer your questions, it is possible that the box by the antenna is powered and, therefore, amplifies the signal. Whether it amplifies or is just a hub doesn't matter hugely at the moment. Separate coax to each room is what you want, so that's good.

So you have a wire in the wall that you then want to route to all these devices. The VCR is "passive" and I'm pretty sure the DVDR is, as well -- that is, they will route an antenna signal even if they're not switched on. So I would route the coax from the wall to the antenna-in on the VCR or DVDR.

From there, you have some options. You could run another coax cable from the antenna-out on whichever device you connected in the last step to the other device and then from that device to the TV's antenna-in. That will provide signal to all three devices.

As for playback, some depends on your TV. Can it handle two video sources at the same time? They may be labeled "VIDEO 1" and "VIDEO 2" or "VCR" and "DVD" or even "AUX1" and "AUX2". Unless it's a very old TV, you have at least one of these connections. If you don't, there are fairly-inexpensive boxes you can buy which will handle multiple video inputs and let you switch among them to feed the TV (for example, GE makes one you probably could buy at Target or such).

Assuming your TV is new enough and "good" enough to have two video inputs, you can run cables from the VCR and DVDR to the TV and manage which one you watch from the TV. The most typical connections will be "RCA component" cables (usually three per device: a yellow jack for video and white & red jacks for stereo audio).

I hope that helps. If you would like, feel free to contact me via email at the address in my profile -- probably faster than waiting for me to log on here again. :-)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 3:33AM
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Thanks Steve,
I will print this off and spend time at the TV/VCR/DVD while reading what you've said. I will email you if I need more help. Thanks so much for the help you've given me!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 7:36PM
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