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  1. Member
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    Hey everybody! This is my first post in the forums but I have found this site quite useful in the past.

    Please forgive me if this question has been asked over and over in the past. I used the search function but was unable to find anything relevant to my question.

    I have purchased a Magnavox DVD Recorder/4 Head Hi-Fi Stereo VCR combo (MN# ZV427MG9) for my sister so she can finally step into the new millenium and stop recording her soaps on VHS. However, on the box it states "Tuner Not Included. A cable box, satellite box or other tuner source is needed for recording live television." She has standard analog cable TV so she doesn't have a set top box. I have searched countless online retailers for a "tv tuner" and the only kind I can find are to record TV on your computer. I have found this at Walmart but do not want to order it without knowing if it will even work (my local store doesn't carry it--naturally).

    I would like to thank anyone in advance who will take the time to help me
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  2. If you have an old VCR you can us its built in NTSC tuner. It's probably easier to just get a cable box.
    Last edited by jagabo; 7th Dec 2011 at 20:31.
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  3. Member
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    Yeah reading up on all of this is giving me a headache. I don't understand why they would make a device without a component so crucial they must state it's not included on the box.
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gregmlr View Post
    Yeah reading up on all of this is giving me a headache. I don't understand why they would make a device without a component so crucial they must state it's not included on the box.
    That box appears targeted at over the air ATSC reception not cable.

    First question is what type of cable service does she have. The older systems have about 70 analog NTSC channels. An older DVD recorder with NTSC tuner will work with that but days are numbered.

    Most cable systems are going mostly digital. That only leaves a few government mandated channels on analog. When they do the digital switch, they usually offer at no cost to user a DTA (Digital Transport Adapter) that takes the role of cable box, but outputs Ch3/4 NTSC. This works for the TV but may not work for a tunerless DVD recorder. Those need a cable box outputting composite video and RCA audio to work. Rental charge is around $3/mo.
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  5. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gregmlr View Post
    I don't understand why they would make a device without a component so crucial they must state it's not included on the box.
    They said tunerless. The salesman sold you a bill of goods.
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  6. Member
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    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Originally Posted by gregmlr View Post
    I don't understand why they would make a device without a component so crucial they must state it's not included on the box.
    They said tunerless. The salesman sold you a bill of goods.
    But at the same time it needs a tuner to work unless you have certain equipment. Pretty stupid on the part of the manufacturer if you ask me.


    I have found an updated model of this DVD recorder that includes a tuner. I'm thinking of returning this one since there seems to be no simple solution. Thanks for all the help everyone
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gregmlr View Post
    I have found an updated model of this DVD recorder that includes a tuner. I'm thinking of returning this one since there seems to be no simple solution. Thanks for all the help everyone
    You are assuming the cable system still has 70 analog channels. Better check that out. Most are down to 20.


    But at the same time it needs a tuner to work unless you have certain equipment. Pretty stupid on the part of the manufacturer if you ask me.
    A tunerless DVD recorder is intended to work with a cable/sat box. Like I said the salesman sold you a bill of goods.
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  8. Our cable system still carries about 70 analog channels. I don't know how much longer that will last...
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  9. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    If you have an old VCR you can us its built in NTSC tuner.
    How do you do that ?
    Last edited by NationalPastime; 7th Jan 2012 at 10:35.
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  10. Originally Posted by NationalPastime View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    If you have an old VCR you can us its built in NTSC tuner.
    How do you do that ?
    Just about every old VCR has an NTSC/cable tuner built in. Just connect cable from the wall to the VCR then composite and audio cables to the tuner-less recorder.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 22nd Mar 2014 at 09:30.
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  12. Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Take a look at the back of the cable box being used now: there should be analog outputs on the back.
    The OP's sister doesn't have a cable box. She's using her TV's tuner to watch analog cable.

    Originally Posted by gregmlr View Post
    She has standard analog cable TV so she doesn't have a set top box.
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  13. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Just about every old VCR has an NTSC/cable tuner built in. Just connect cable from the wall to the VCR then composite and audio cables to the tuner-less recorder.
    From the VCR or rf modulator ? I'm confused.
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    Originally Posted by NationalPastime View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Just about every old VCR has an NTSC/cable tuner built in. Just connect cable from the wall to the VCR then composite and audio cables to the tuner-less recorder.
    From the VCR or rf modulator ? I'm confused.
    The composite and audio RCA cables are used to connect the VCR (which only acts as an external tuner) to the tunerless DVD/VHS combo recorder.

    It would probably be more convenient to get a DVD/VHS combo recorder with a tuner, like the Magnavox ZV457MG9
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 8th Jan 2012 at 10:12.
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  15. composite cable: yellow, red, white RCA, or SCART in the UK.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 22nd Mar 2014 at 09:30.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Reduction of analog cable channels from ~70 to ~20 has several implications for both the cable companies and the users.

    Benefits for cable companies.

    1. For each analog channel reduced, they gain 36 Mb/s QAM bandwidth when converting that channel to digital. That is enough for 10-12 digital SD or 2-3 digital HD channels. This is particularly important for older 500-700MHz cable infrastructure.

    2. By requiring a cable company programmed DTA or cable box, they eliminate all the illegal analog tapping of extended basic cable channels.

    3. By forcing all analog customers to digital, they extend their market for additional triple play services and pay VOD. They win even if they have to provide the DTA or cable boxes for free.

    Benefits to cable customers.

    1. More SD an HD channel choices including sports and foreign language packages.

    2. Exposure to free VOD and other pay services.

    3. Better signal quality vs. analog.

    Disadvantages to customers.

    1. VCR's, DVD recorders and computer tuners now need a DTA or cable box to receive extended basic channels.

    2. Most Tivo solutions are forced obsolete or gain complexity.

    3. Although most cable companies supply two DTAs for free to extended basic customers, they charge for additional units. Many households had many more TV sets, VCR's and PC tuners connected.

    The above are separate from the government requirements to provide locals and PBS in analog through 2012. Those are the bulk of the remaining 20 analog channels. The US FCC has a hardship rule for poor* cable companies that allows full conversion to digital so long as basic service customers are provided with free DTA's.


    * The cable company must show that gov't mandated additional analog and clear QAM channels would overload their system and they lack funds to upgrade their infrastructure.
    Last edited by edDV; 8th Jan 2012 at 15:47.
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    Losing one's sense of humor....
    is nothing to laugh at.
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  19. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mikel View Post
    That tuner only picks up the NTSC cable analog channels then upscales for VGA out. I don't see any QAM or ATSC support to get HD digital channels.

    It will however output composite NTSC and separate audio to a tunerless Magnavox DVD Recorder.
    Last edited by edDV; 8th Jan 2012 at 18:12.
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  20. Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Reduction of analog cable channels from ~70 to ~20 has several implications for both the cable companies and the users.
    You forgot: it's another excuse for the cable companies to raise their rates.
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  21. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Reduction of analog cable channels from ~70 to ~20 has several implications for both the cable companies and the users.
    You forgot: it's another excuse for the cable companies to raise their rates.
    Particularly for DTA/cable box rental. A possible counter is use of networkable shared tuners (one time cost) with multi-user M-Cablecard. The FCC may influence that during the 2012 policy revisions.
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  22. Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Reduction of analog cable channels from ~70 to ~20 has several implications for both the cable companies and the users.
    You forgot: it's another excuse for the cable companies to raise their rates.
    Particularly for DTA/cable box rental.
    And now you need one for every TV in the house. $$$
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  23. Could I use the DirecTV box as an external tuner ?
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  24. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NationalPastime View Post
    Could I use the DirecTV box as an external tuner ?
    Some have OTA tuners. Those may also work for the Ch 2-13 analog cable channels. Probably not for Ch 14 up since the channel frequencies differ. The ATSC tuner (if present) won't work with cable.

    In this chart, an OTA NTSC tuner would match the right column.
    http://www.jneuhaus.com/fccindex/cablech.html
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  25. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gregmlr View Post
    But at the same time it needs a tuner to work unless you have certain equipment. Pretty stupid on the part of the manufacturer if you ask me.
    Not stupid at all: EVERY mfr offered at least one tunerless model in response to the pathetically mismanaged USA digital broadcast transition. FCC regulations required recorder mfrs to include a ridiculously expensive dual-band analog+DTV tuner beginning with late 2006 models, two years before DTV officially got off the ground. Such premature tuners jacked up the price of previous analog-tuner recorders by nearly $100, which was unacceptable to the huge majority of USA television viewers that long ago made peace with paying for a cable or satellite decoder box. If you have standard cable or satellite, you have a box, and no need whatsoever for a useless tuner in your DVD recorder. To keep prices affordable and attractive to the average American, mfrs offered "tunerless" versions of their DVD and DVD/VHS models. Those people who relied on off-air antenna or "no-box" cable could pay more for the tuner-included models.

    If you want to be mad, be mad at our incompetent govt which forced the DTV issue on mfrs prematurely before they could make it cost-effective. Be mad at those idiot Feds for stalling the digital switch three times, bankrupting half the recorder brands in the process. Be mad at all the cheapskate wise-ass consumers who flocked to Amazon for everything because it was 5% cheaper than buying in a retail store: the destruction of retail stores left only a few big box chains standing, with staff so clueless they weren't able to help an ordinary Joe like yourself choose the correct recorder for your needs. All the salesperson needed to ask you was "Do you have cable? If so, do you use a decoder box?" With that information, they would have then steered you to the proper tunered or tunerless model.

    I have found an updated model of this DVD recorder that includes a tuner. I'm thinking of returning this one since there seems to be no simple solution. Thanks for all the help everyone
    Yes, absolutely: if you're still within the exchange period, return it for refund. Let your sister keep using her VCR. Current DVD recorder tuners are nowhere near as compatible with cable as the tuners in televisions. If you get your sister a DVD recorder with tuner, you will have no end of grief getting it to recognize and stay locked on the cable channels. The "old style" tuner in her VCR will actually do a much better job of that, because it ignores the digital tuner obstructions the cable company sends in the same wire. Eventually, when her cable company follows the trend to requiring a box, she can still use the VCR as described above (cable wire>free cable box>VCR on channel 3 or 4).

    Our govt and various retailers have done a lousy job of communicating the "benefits" of the digital TV transition. The unfortunate reality is, unless you live near a big city and have a great roof antenna that picks up many local channels clearly, digital TV screwed you big time. Those with good antenna reception are the only folks who benefit: they get much clearer, true widescreen quality. Those with lousy reception lost most of the channels altogether. Those with "boxless" cable got totally hosed, because the tuners in DVD recorders cannot cope with the constant digital/analog futzing the cable company does with the frequencies, and cablecos soon discovered a loophole allowing them to pretty much kill the viability of "boxless basic" cable for most subscribers.

    Have your sister stock up on a couple dozen new blank tapes while she can still buy them, and perhaps pick up one or two Panasonic VCRs off Craigs List for $15 apiece to keep as backups. DVD recorders are much harder to use and not worth the effort, even if you can get the tuner to work momentarily. Long-term, the only convenient option for most people is upgrading their cable service to a tier that includes a decoder box with built-in recorder. Digital TV crapped all over our recording options: you either cough up the extra money for the cable company PVR, or you just don't bother recording anymore (unless you want to mess around with VCRs, or half-assed DVD recorders, or PCs modified with TV recording accessories, or TiVO). The days of "cheap, easy" recording are over, and not coming back.
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  26. I have a Magnavox ZV427MG9 vcr/dvd combo.

    When I try to Timer Recording on my VCR, I can't find where to select the channel I want to record. I can set the time I want, but it never asks for the channel.
    Thanks for your help
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  27. Originally Posted by NationalPastime View Post
    I have a Magnavox ZV427MG9 vcr/dvd combo.

    When I try to Timer Recording on my VCR, I can't find where to select the channel I want to record. I can set the time I want, but it never asks for the channel.
    It has no tuner so you don't select a channel. It only records line-in. You set your cable box to the channel you want to record. For unattended recordings that means you have to set both devices. The cable box to change to the right channel, the VCR to start recording.
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  28. I have a directv receiver.
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  29. Originally Posted by NationalPastime View Post
    I have a directv receiver.
    Same thing. You have to program the DirectTV receiver to turn on and switch to the right channel when it's time. Or for a single channel you can just leave the receiver on, tuned to the right channel. This is why everyone gives up on using an external recorder and just pays the cable/sat company for their DVR.
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