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The DTV Transition, HDTV, and Your VCR and/or DVD Recorder

What To Do If You Have an HDTV and an Analog VCR and/or DVD Recorder


The end of analog TV broadcasting has arrived. However, along with analog televisions, your VCR or DVD recorder may also be affected.

In fact, even if you have a digital or HDTV with an ATSC tuner and receive HD programing successfully via an antenna, you may still need a DTV converter for your analog VCR or DVD recorder, if they do not have their own ATSC tuners, in order to continue recording TV broadcasts on those devices now that the DTV Transition has taken effect. If this describes your home theater or TV setup, follow the following steps:

1. Use a cable splitter to divide your incoming antenna signal into two feeds.

2. Send one feed to your HDTV directly via the TV's RF input.

3. Send the other feed to the RF input on a Digital Converter Box.

4. Send the feed from the RF output of the Digital Converter Box to the RF input on your VCR or DVD Recorder. NOTE: If you have a VCR or DVD recorder that does not have an RF input, you can also connect the AV outputs (Yellow, White, and Red) of the DTV Converter Box to the AV inputs on the VCR or DVD Recorder.

5. Connect the AV outputs of your VCR (Yellow, White, Red) or DVD recorder (Red, Green, Blue for video, White and Red for Audio or single HDMI connection for audio and video) to your HDTV.

Watching and Recording TV Programs

The setup will allow you watch over-the-air HDTV signals on your TV, while at the same time give you the ability to record digital and HDTV programs on your VCR or DVD Recorder.

If you are using the RF connection option, you must set the VCR to receive channel 3 or 4 in order to receive and record channels from the DTV converter box. If you are using the AV connection option, you must set your VCR to receive or record from the VCR's Line or AV input. The channel to be recorded must be set on the DTV converter box. You then would set your VCR to record at the desired time using Channel 3/4 or line/AV input.

However, it is important to note that since the DTV converter is designed to convert digital and HDTV signals to analog so that they can be used by analog equipment, the recordings you continue to make on your VCR or DVD recorder will be standard definition. VCRs (except for D-VHS VCRs) and DVD recorders cannot record in high definition.

For another useful DTV converter connection tip, check out a great article by Matt Torres, About.com Guide for TV/Video, that explains what to do if you have both an analog television and analog VCR: Using a VCR and DTV Converter Box.

For more on what you need to know about the DTV Transition, check out my articles: June 12, 2009 - Analog Television Broadcasting Ended - Were You Ready? and Inside the DTV Transition Coupon Program.

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