Problems with Digital cable and VCR

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason-Diaz, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Jason-Diaz

    Jason-Diaz Auditioning

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    I just hooked up Digital...everything appears fine, except:

    I can't figure out how to record using a Standard Hi-Fi VCR. It won't display the picture, I know the VCR works becuase I can watch movies on it, but it only records the blue screen of death. I've tried 1 billion (yes all of them) combinations of cables and connections and can't seem to fix this. Do older VCR's just not work on Digital? (I find this hard to believe)

    Second, On my HDTV I can't get PIP to work. I'm currently using the component video out of the STB (acutally Comcast Motorola 5100). If I go from wall to TV to Box back to TV I get PIP, but the Componet Video is unviewable below 100. If I go Wall to Box to TV (component + Coax to Ant A) I can switch manually between Ant A and Component, but no PIP and no sound on Ant A. It's been driving me crazy, and want to know if and how to fix it.

    Thanks

    BTW, I'm not a moron (well I don't think so anyway) and still don't know what's going on. I did get PIP to work upstairs on an Analog TV by going Wall to TV to Converter to VCR back to TV. Although I get PIP I can't switch between them, so it really only acts as a monitor. Whatever happen to the simple days of rooftop antenna's.

    JD
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I assume from your post that the "digital" in your thread title refers to "digital cable" and have edited the title accordingly. It may help get you answers. Please let me know if I've misread your post (and if I have, please clarify).

    M.
     
  3. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    JD,

    If you want to be able to record the digital cable channels (channel 100 and above), you'll need to have your cable box upline of your VCR. The cable box will decode the signals and pass a video feed to your VCR. The video should hit your VCR on its channel 3, I think. Note, using this method you will NOT be able to select which cable channel to record on the VCR itself--that selection will need to be made on the cable box.

    If you just run your cable straight into your VCR, the VCR won't decode any of the digital channels. You would however be able to select and record between any of the analog ones.
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    This is the main reason I stick with analog cable, so my VCRs can tune the cable channels easily. I do have a couple of ReplayTV units that come with an IR blaster, but since I don't have the digital cable boxes, I don't use them.
     
  5. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    You just have to think in terms of signal flow, what kind signal you are sending, where it's coming from, what you want to send it to, and what is needed to display it.

    Out of your wall the cable is carrying two types of signals, analog (on typical systems, all channels < 100), and digital (> 100). Analog can be tuned by anything. Digital can only be tuned by the cable box; to view any of these channels the signal path has to go through the cable box first. So: step 1, split cable from wall, feed into cable box in, VCR in, TV in. Then your VCR and TV should be able to tune all the analog channels, and you can get PIP w/ analog channels as one source. (PIP requires two independent sources, one for main display, another for the PIP window. You only have one digital source, so digital channels will only be available when you select the cable box as the source. The other will only allow tuning to analog channels.)

    Step 2, you need to get output from the cable box to your TV & VCR. How many and what types of outputs does it have? Component video (Y/Pr/Pb, sometimes labeled Y/Cr/Cb or Y/R-Y/B-Y) should go straight to the TV; it might only work for the digital channels. If so you need another connection, try AV connectors if it has them (set of three red/white/yellow RCA carrying audio/composite video, optionally use S-video rather than the yellow composite video connector). If it has multiple sets of these, run one set to the TV, one to the VCR line input. If it doesn't have RCA AV outputs, or not enough of them, you'll have to use the RF output ("F" type coax cable with the screw on connector). If using this type of output, the receiving device will have to tune to it, typically using channel 3 or 4.

    Step 3, get the VCR to display the cable box output. If you connected to the VCR's "line in", you'll have to switch the VCR to use that rather than its analog tuner. On some VCRs, you merely select channel 00, 01, or something like 99. On others, you have to hit some type of "input select" or "line input" button. Read your manual. Play with it until you can see the cable box output through the VCR's output. Until you do that, you won't be able to record. To test this properly, set the TV to see the VCR output. If you play a tape you should be able to see the tape. When you stop the tape, you should be able to see the cable box output. Change input on the VCR until this is the case. If you used the RF connection, change the VCR channel to 3 or 4 as appropriate.
     
  6. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Jason,

    You’ve received great answers from everyone so far. Here’s the one thing no one has addressed:

     
  7. Jason-Diaz

    Jason-Diaz Auditioning

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    Great info all around....I have played some more and here are my results...

    When I split the cable in between my STB (read Comcast) and my TV Ant A. I do in fact get 100...anything below 100 appears like crap. I also ran an extra Coax from the STB to Ant B of the TV and this does nothing to improve this. Also for whatever reason my PIP will not work between Vid 5 and Ant A or B, but if I play Xbox on Input 1 it does. I don't have another set of RCA's to try this connection from the STB to the TV, but will try soon enough.

    As for the VCR issue (on another TV) I can view VHS movies but still can't change the channel thru the VCR, and therefore still can't record TV
     
  8. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    I also ran an extra Coax from the STB to Ant B of the TV and this does nothing to improve this.
    Why would you expect this to have any affect on the component input? I assume you can see the STB fine with the TV set to Ant B, channel 3. Is the picture on the analog channels still bad on Ant B? Maybe the analog tuner in the STB is just bad. If it's OK, then I guess just the converter to component video is bad.

    Also for whatever reason my PIP will not work between Vid 5 and Ant A or B, but if I play Xbox on Input 1 it does.
    Many TVs have limitations on PIP if one of the sources is HD, maybe even anything 480p up. Vid 5 may not be PIP capable period.

    As for the VCR issue (on another TV) I can view VHS movies but still can't change the channel thru the VCR, and therefore still can't record TV
     

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