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  1. Iím sorry I donít know much about the subject and am probably using all the wrong terminology, but Iíll try to describe the problem:

    I have a Philips flat screen HDTV. I was trying to use an old VCR to record TV shows but couldnít get it to work. I thought it was because the VCR was analog (I use digital converter boxes and old TVs in other rooms), so I figured I could hook up my old DVD recorder (Pioneer DVD recorder, I think. Iím not at home right now to verify that) to the HDTV to record TV shows.

    The HDTV has lots of outputs, but only one apparent input, a coaxial cable type input.

    I couldnít get the DVD recorder and the HDTV to communicate, so I bought an S-Video cable. With that and 2 rca audio stereo connectors, I was able to get it so that I can play an old DVD-RW on the DVD recorder and watch it on the HDTV, if I set the HDTV to ďvideo.Ē

    When I run an antenna into the DVD recorder and then program channels, all I get are a couple snowy analog channels, so I figured Iíd need to use a digital converter box with the DVD recorder.

    But when I run an antenna into a converter box and then into the DVD recorder, I get no channels. I tried setting the DVD recorder on 4, 2, 3, L1 and L2. Nothing works.

    So then I tried running the antenna into the converter box then into the old VCR then into the DVD recorder. At that point, if I set the DVD recorder on L1, I could play VHS tapes on the VCR, through the DVD recorder, and view them on the HDTV. But still, trying every combination of settings with the VCR and the DVD recorder (i.e. setting them on 2, 3, 4, L1, L2 etc.) I get no digital TV channels.

    The converter box worked fine on another TV. Everything seems to be in working order. What am I missing? It seems like thereís no way to get the DVD recorder to receive any digital channels.

    Any constructive comments/suggestions appreciated. Thank you.
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  2. Member
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    A "converter box" is a misleading name for what it does.

    What a receiver/set-top box/converter box does: it receives digital TV via an antenna input, converts one station at a time to analog signals such as Composite (yellow RCA), S-Video, RGB (via Scart) or Component. The TV or any other equipment such as a VCR or DVD-recorder must be connected to the receiver by one of those.

    What it does not: output all digital channels via RF (antenna) at the same time, like in the old analog broadcast days. The RF (antenna) output (if there is one) is almost always only a loop-through, there is no digital TV converted to analog here! You have to use Composite, S-Video, RGB or Component.
    Last edited by Skiller; 17th Sep 2015 at 13:38.
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  3. Member
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    I’m sorry I don’t know much about the subject and am probably using all the wrong terminology, but I’ll try to describe the problem:

    I have a Philips flat screen HDTV. I was trying to use an old VCR to record TV shows but couldn’t get it to work. I thought it was because the VCR was analog (I use digital converter boxes and old TVs in other rooms), so I figured I could hook up my old DVD recorder (Pioneer DVD recorder, I think. I’m not at home right now to verify that) to the HDTV to record TV shows.

    The HDTV has lots of outputs, but only one apparent input, a coaxial cable type input.

    I couldn’t get the DVD recorder and the HDTV to communicate, so I bought an S-Video cable. With that and 2 rca audio stereo connectors, I was able to get it so that I can play an old DVD-RW on the DVD recorder and watch it on the HDTV, if I set the HDTV to “video.”

    When I run an antenna into the DVD recorder and then program channels, all I get are a couple snowy analog channels, so I figured I’d need to use a digital converter box with the DVD recorder.

    But when I run an antenna into a converter box and then into the DVD recorder, I get no channels. I tried setting the DVD recorder on 4, 2, 3, L1 and L2. Nothing works.

    So then I tried running the antenna into the converter box then into the old VCR then into the DVD recorder. At that point, if I set the DVD recorder on L1, I could play VHS tapes on the VCR, through the DVD recorder, and view them on the HDTV. But still, trying every combination of settings with the VCR and the DVD recorder (i.e. setting them on 2, 3, 4, L1, L2 etc.) I get no digital TV channels.

    The converter box worked fine on another TV. Everything seems to be in working order. What am I missing? It seems like there’s no way to get the DVD recorder to receive any digital channels.

    Any constructive comments/suggestions appreciated. Thank you.
    When I was using a converter box with an analog-only DVD recorder, I ran the antenna output through a two-way RF splitter so the the TV's tuner could be used for watching TV on one channel, while the DVD recorder was recording a different channel from the the converter box.

    One output from the splitter was connected to my TV, and the other went to the converter box. The converter box was connected to the DVD recorder via composite or S-video. (One of my converter boxes, the Channnel Master CM-7000, has an S-Video connection.) The DVD recorder was connected to the TV's component video in and associated RCA stereo audio ports.

    If I wanted to record anything, I needed to make sure that the converter box was turned on and tuned to the correct channel. Output from the DVD recorder was viewable via component video.

    If you are in the USA, your OTA converter box will output an analog signal (converted from the digital channel the box is tuning) over RF on channel 3 or 4 when it is powered on. (This was an FCC requirement for the $40 coupon.) You could connect the converter to the DVD recorder via RF out from the converter box, but composite will give a better signal to record.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 17th Sep 2015 at 12:20.
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  4. Thank you Skiller and usually_quiet for your responses!

    I was aware that the converter box would not output the digital channels as separate channels, but I was not able to even get anything to the DVD recorder using channels 3 or 4 on the DVD recorder.

    You gave me some ideas though, that I will try tonight:

    1. I did try going from the converter box with composite RCA cables before. That didnít work, but Iíll try it again tonight and make sure I try it with the RF connector between the converter box and the digital recorder disconnected;

    2. Usually_quiet said ď...make sure that the converter box was turned on and tuned to the correct channel....Ē I will hook the converter box to another monitor to make sure that itís working when turned onto a valid channel;

    3. Although itís unlikely to be the culprit, Iíll double check to make sure thereís nothing wrong with the rabbit ears antenna Iím using, (which is a little bit complicated for a rabbit ears antenna unit.); and

    4. If those donít work, I have a Dynex RF modulator that I am using on one of the old TVs that didnít have any ďRF inĒ jack. Maybe thatíll help.

    Iíll report back tomorrow. Thanks again!
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    I think this would be perfect for you. It will record OTA digital channels on a USB stick or a USB HDD. It outputs composite, component, HDMI and RF. It has an EPG.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HW-150PVR-HomeWorx-Converter-Recording/dp/B00I2ZBD1U
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    [QUOTE=Fred999;2410328]Thank you Skiller and usually_quiet for your responses!

    I was aware that the converter box would not output the digital channels as separate channels, but I was not able to even get anything to the DVD recorder using channels 3 or 4 on the DVD recorder.

    It won't, You have to connect the video output from your STB (converter box) to the video input of your DVD recorder and select the video input on your recorder
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    Originally Posted by darkknight145 View Post
    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Thank you Skiller and usually_quiet for your responses!

    I was aware that the converter box would not output the digital channels as separate channels, but I was not able to even get anything to the DVD recorder using channels 3 or 4 on the DVD recorder.
    It won't, You have to connect the video output from your STB (converter box) to the video input of your DVD recorder and select the video input on your recorder
    Set top boxes do not necessarily work the same way everywhere. If Fred999 is in the US, and his converter box is one of those sold right around the time US OTA broadcasters turned off analog signals, his converter box certainly will output a converted signal on analog channel 3 or 4 when it is turned on assuming it is receiving a digital signal that it is able to tune and is still functional.

    I still have three of these OTA converter boxes and still use them for generating signals to run tests with analog TV tuners and SD analog capture devices.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 18th Sep 2015 at 00:31.
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  8. Thanks for all the new comments!

    I believe I did connect the video output from the converter box to the video input of my DVD recorder, but am not sure about selecting the video input on the recorder. There’s no helpful choices in the DVD-Recorder menu. The only options on the recorder seem to be turning it to L1, L2 or one of the channel numbers, none of which work.

    Unfortunately I only had a few minutes free last night to mess around with it. I just had time to make sure there was nothing wrong with the antenna and the converter box, and to try one other unsuccessful configuration with the composite connectors. I’ll have more time this weekend. If I don’t have it fixed by then, that Mediasonic unit that Megahurts suggested does look like a good option.

    Thanks again!
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  9. When a person is having this much difficulty with a hookup, it helps if they can tell us *exactly* what they are working with. All HDTVs, dvd recorders and tuner boxes may look alike and work much the same way, but its the small differences that can trip you up. Once you tell us the precise brand name and model numbers of the TV, dvd recorder and tuner box in question, one of us might figure out a hidden glitch that is causing your problem. As a reference point, I have a Pioneer DVR-550 recorder, Zenith DTT-901 digital converter box, and Sony 32EX500 television in one room connected as follows:

    Coax antenna cable connected to splitter. One side of the splitter connects to the Zenith digital tuner box, the other connects to the coax antenna input of the TV. This allows watching one channel while recording another.

    Composite AV cable (yellow video, red and white audio) connects line outputs of the Zenith digital tuner box to the rear Line 1 inputs of the Pioneer DVR-550 dvd recorder. I leave the recorder permanently set to "Line 1" input, since all signals must come from the Zenith tuner.

    The Pioneer dvd recorder is connected to my TV via single HDMI cable for maximum picture quality. If your dvd recorder does not have an HDMI output socket, you should be able to use component output (RGB) from the recorder to component input of the TV. This requires a triple AV cable for the video, and a double AV cable for the audio (total five plugs connecting recorder and TV). The TV must be set to whichever HDMI or component input you've got the recorder plugged into (most HDTVs have one component input and two or three HDMI). You could also use standard triple-plug AV (yellow video, red/white audio) to connect recorder to TV, but this offers the lowest picture quality. Many newer television have dual-purpose component/composite connections: when using composite, connect the yellow video wire from recorder to the yellow "component" socket of the TV. Check markings on the TV, or your instruction manual.

    With everything powered on, the TV set to Input 1, and my recorder set to Line 1, I can view the channels as I change them on the Zenith digital tuner. My recorder will record whatever channel I have the Zenith set to. If I'd like to watch a different channel while recording, I switch the TV over to Antenna and use the built-in tuner to select another channel.

    Common mistakes that trip people up: make sure you match the plugs on each item. It is easy to accidentally plug an audio wire of one item into the video socket of another. If using S-Video cables: some recorders and TVs (not Pioneer tho!) require you go into a hidden settings menu and choose "S-Video" connection- if you don't you'll get no signal, a black screen or a blue screen. The same applies if you change back to normal composite cables from S-Video: match the setting in the menu or you'll get no picture on screen. The recorder and/or TV may require a menu setting to activate component video (if that is used). The recorder may need to have its "TV Display" setting changed to "16:9".

    The Mediasonic type of recorder mentioned has the advantage of true HDTV recording quality, but you can't make or play DVDs with it. So you might still want to keep your DVD recorder in the mix even if you upgrade.
    Last edited by orsetto; 18th Sep 2015 at 17:53.
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  10. Thank you orsetto.

    This is kind of weird but I figured out the problem. Apparently, somehow the converter box, which was working fine on the TV in the bedroom, became defective when I moved it to the HDTV in the living room. The little green light was still coming on so I thought it was still working. There were so many other possible things it could have been, I couldnít figure it out. I hadnít used the dvd recorder in years and had never used it with a converter box, so I thought there was most likely something wrong with the DVD recorder.

    When I gave up and took the converter box back to the bedroom, it no longer worked in there. And when I hooked up a different converter box to the HDTV and DVD recorder in the living room, it worked fine. (I set the dvd recorder on channel 3 and the HDVT on ďVideo.Ē)

    Sorry everyone that it took me so long to figure it out. I kept trying different combinations of channels and connections etc. and at various points, thought that one of my coaxial cables or composites was shorted, but no, it was the converter box all along -- the one thing I thought was surely functioning correctly.
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  11. Glad to hear you managed to sort things out: always nice when people post back to say that, rather than leave their thread hanging open-ended. The thought your converter box might have gone bad did cross my mind, but I didn't mention it since your posts implied you had already checked for that. Most of those converters were made of flimsy parts that fail prematurely: I'm kind of amazed my own three boxes are still chugging along 24/7 after seven years (they freeze once or twice a year, easily fixed by turning them off for a few mins, otherwise no issues). They're a boon for old dvd recorders, although the lack of any front panel display makes it impossible to tell if theres a problem until you view them on the TV. It always seemed odd that the FCC made draconian regulations for every possible design aspect of these converters, yet didn't think it was important to see what the heck channel was selected on the things.

    BTW, when paired with a dvd recorder, it is better to use the line connections from the converter rather than the channel 3 setup. Using the line connections gives clearer video and includes stereo audio, the channel 3 connection reduces PQ and kills the stereo, giving mono sound.
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    Originally Posted by Fred999 View Post
    Thank you orsetto.

    This is kind of weird but I figured out the problem. Apparently, somehow the converter box, which was working fine on the TV in the bedroom, became defective when I moved it to the HDTV in the living room. The little green light was still coming on so I thought it was still working. There were so many other possible things it could have been, I couldn’t figure it out. I hadn’t used the dvd recorder in years and had never used it with a converter box, so I thought there was most likely something wrong with the DVD recorder.

    When I gave up and took the converter box back to the bedroom, it no longer worked in there. And when I hooked up a different converter box to the HDTV and DVD recorder in the living room, it worked fine. (I set the dvd recorder on channel 3 and the HDVT on “Video.”)

    Sorry everyone that it took me so long to figure it out. I kept trying different combinations of channels and connections etc. and at various points, thought that one of my coaxial cables or composites was shorted, but no, it was the converter box all along -- the one thing I thought was surely functioning correctly.
    The Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx can be used on its own to record in high definition on a USB stick or USB hard drive (it also plays its recordings), but if you need a replacement converter box for the DVD recorder to record in standard definition on a DVD, the Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx can do that too.
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