connecting hdtv converter box to vcr?

alwaysfixinNovember 19, 2008

I have a tube TV, no cable, and I have been using an indoor antenna which has been great. Really crystal clear reception. I also still have a VCR to record a favorite TV shows if I am not going to be home to see them.

So, in advance of the ballyhooed digital conversion, I bought a converter box with my coupon, the Zenith DTT901. The instruction manual is very basic. I was able to connect the converter box to my indoor antenna and TV in about 5 minutes, and got my digital reception very well. But, there are no instructions on what to do to connect a VCR so that I can record TV shows. Can anyone give me instructions on how to do that? I read somewhere I might even need a second converter box, but can't figure that out either. So any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

(P.S. I cannot get the subject line of this posting to use capital letters (for HDTV and VCR). What's up with that?)

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You should be able to run a cable from out of the DTV box to the antenna IN on the VCR.

Then run a cable from the antenna OUT of the VCR to the antenna input on the TV.

Set the RF output option on the DTV box to channel 3.

Set the RF output of the VCR to channel 3.

Put the VCR tuner on channel 3 and the TV tuner on channel 3.

When watching DTV, select desired channel with the DTV tuner and make sure you leave VCR off.

When recording DTV, select desired channel with the DTV tuner, make sure VCR is on channel 3 and record.

Or leave DTV tuner on desired channel and set VCR timer to record channel 3 at the appropriate time.

Make sure if your DTV tuner has any "Auto Off" feature that it is defeated.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 12:45PM
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Jdbillp - Thanks. That is exactly the information I was looking for. Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:29PM
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I've heard that some people not being happy with the DTV picture quality of shows taped on a VCR.

Please let me know your results.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:53PM
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OK. And one follow-up question: When you wrote "leave DTV tuner on desired channel and set VCR timer to record channel 3 at the appropriate time", what if I have a couple of different shows to record while I am away that are on different channels? E.g. channel 11 at 2-3PM, and then channel 9 at 4-5PM. Is it no longer possible to program my VCR with several shows to record? Also, can I watch something while the VCR is recording something else on another channel? (OK, that was two questions...) TIA.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 2:45PM
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Bad news. Two times.

Unless you buy a DTV tuner that has a built in timer like a VCR has(which I haven't seen), there isn't a way to change the channel of the DTV tuner to allow multi-channel recording.

With the DTV tuner only one channel comes out of it at a time. So no, it is not possible to watch one channel and record another channel at the same time.

Though you can do it with two DTV tuners. One for the VCR and one for the TV.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 7:03AM
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Jdbillp - thanks again. I think I am going to have to get Tivo, since I frequently set the VCR to record different shows at different times on different stations.

So, an OT question - I cannot believe Tivo is charging $299 for their HD DVR. Meanwhile, I see them on eBay for half that. Anyone bought a Tivo DVR on eBay? Would you recommend it?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 6:56PM
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Wow, timely post--I just purchased the same DTV box (Zenith DTT901) and am having trouble setting up my VCR, as well.

I can receive audio only if I have my TV set to the "INPUT" channel. But I don't think this is correct, as before I purchased the DTV box, I watched the VCR by having the TV on Channel 3.

jdbillp, I have a couple questions to your first reply above. I currently have a TV with just yellow (video) and white (audio) holes on the front, although the VCR has all three (yellow, red, and white). I am using this colored set of wires to hook up the VCR to the TV (the red is just not connected to the TV, as there is no hole for it). Is not having that red hole a problem?

Also, how is the RF output option set on the DTV box? I don't seem to see anything about it in the owner's guide.

Thanks a bunch!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 9:06PM
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The RF output channel selection is probably an option in DTV tuner set up menu.

The hookup I described earlier is to be used with coaxial cable not the red, yellow, white cables.

Now to help you with the extra red wire. If appears you have a stereo sound vcr and a mono sound tv. This really isn't a problem, but you are only going to hear the left channel of a stereo sound tape. On many shows it really won't matter but on many others there will be sounds on the tape that you won't be hearing.

If you hook up your DTV tuner, VCR and TV like I described above you won't have that issue. All the sounds are mono when sent through the coax cable.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:45PM
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Anyone have any comments on my Tivo and eBay question in my post above?

Perhaps I should post a new message with that question.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 11:53AM
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I bought a converter box TR40 CRA and installed in on my TV with a VCR. Last night I set up a timer on my converter box for NBC TV show starting at 8 p.m, and I programmed my VCR for this show. I left my VCR on channel 3 and turned it off, as I did before I got a converter box. Today I checked what was recorded and was very disappointed: I saw black lines and very tiny, not visible some images. Till February 17, I still may turn off the converter box and record TV shows as I did before the converter box, but what I would do after the February 17?
What did I wrong and what should I do to record TV show on my VCR?
Is any body tried to record TV shows on VCR with TR40 converter box?
Thanks in advance for you help.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Can you watch the channel you were trying to record? Are you using an indoor or outdoor antenna? Is there an inactivity timer on your DTV tuner?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 5:55PM
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Yes, I can watch the channels I'm trying to record. I'm using an indor antenna, there is inactivity timer that I set off.
The recording occurs at proper time, only I cannot see what is recorded. When I record a show on the same channel with DTV tunner turned off I see the show very well.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 6:04PM
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This problem wants to be a tough one then.

Double check that the output channel of the DTV tuner is set to channel 3 and the VCR is set to record channel 3. Also, make sure the output channel of the VCR is set to channel 3.

Confirm that you are connecting all 3 pieces together with coax cable not A/V red yellow white cables.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 9:12PM
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I have the same set-up: Outdoor antenna to DTV converter to VCR to TV. But we have a problem with the sound. We have to turn the sound up all the way on both the dtv converter and the tv to hear anything. Is there something that we did wrong?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 7:28PM
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I have a Digital Stream DTV box from RS. Works wonderfully, except I can't find any way of defeating its auto-off (after 4 hrs). They call it "standby." Whatever. In any case, it prevents advance timed VCR recording because it shuts off before the program VCR is timed to record comes on.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Dear Sir,
I have a Zenith Converter Box Model Dtt901 and a LG VCR & DVD Recoder Model LRY-517. I don't know how to connect the Converter Box to the VCR.

Would you help me, please?


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 11:27PM
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Walter, the earlier responses explain it as well as can be done on this forum. Read them and carefully do the job step-by-step. If unsuccessful, hire local help.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 1:18PM
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