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How do I hookup a DVD recorder to my TV or home theater system?

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Question: How do I hookup a DVD recorder to my TV or home theater system?
Answer: A DVD recorder can hook up to any TV that has at least a set of AV inputs (you will need an RF modulator if your TV does not have AV inputs).

Just hookup your cable or antenna feed to the ant/cable input of the DVD recorder and loop it out to the RF input on the TV.

In addition, you will need to hookup of the DVD recorder to the AV inputs (composite, S-video, component, or HDMI) of the TV for DVD playback. Note: Although DVD recorders have an RF loop through to the TV, it is passive, when playing back a recorded DVD you must use the AV inputs of the TV or buy an RF modulator to put between the DVD recorder and TV to convert the recorded signal.

Additional DVD Recorder, VCR, and Television Connection Tip

In addition to the above, it must also be important to note that you should not hook up a VCR and DVD recorder into the same path to your television. In other words, your VCR and DVD recorder should be hooked up to your TV through separate inputs on the TV, or hooked up to an AV switcher or receiver.

The reason for this is copy-protection. Even if you are not recording anything, when you play a commercial DVD on your DVD recorder and the signal has to go through your VCR to get to the TV, the anti-copy signal will trigger the VCR to interfere with the playback signal of the DVD, making it unwatchable on your television. On the other hand, the same effect is present if you have your VCR hooked into your DVD recorder before the signal reaches the television, in that a commercial VHS tape with anti-copy encoding will cause the DVD recorder to interfere with VHS playback signal, causing the same effect on your television. However, this effect is not present on tapes or DVDs your make yourself.

The best way to hook-up a VCR and DVD recorder to a single TV is to split your cable or satellite signal so that one feed goes to your VCR and other to your DVD recorder. Then, hook up the outputs of your VCR and DVD recorder separately to the TV. If your television only has one set of AV inputs, you can either hookup the output of your VCR to the TV's RF input and the DVD recorder to the single set of AV inputs OR get an AV switcher to place between the VCR and DVD recorder and your television, selecting the unit you wish to view.

When connecting a DVD recorder to home theater receiver, however, you can connect it just as you would a VCR, through the VCR1 or VCR2 loop, with additional connection of the digital coaxial or digital optical output to the digital audio inputs available on the AV receiver. Another option is to connect the DVD recorder to the AV receiver using HDMI, if the receiver has this connection option.

Use the monitor output (preferably the component or HDMI output) of the AV receiver to supply the video part of the feed to the TV. In this type of hookup you have access to all the surround sound functions of DVD playback (of commercial DVDs) as well as the DVD recorder's recording and dubbing functions from other video sources (such as a VCR) connected to the AV receiver. Most DVD recorders also have front mounted AV inputs as well for the connection of a camcorder or other video source.

All the owner's manuals provided with DVD recorders have explicit and simple hookup diagrams for a variety of setup scenarios.

In addition, DVD recorder/VCR combination units may have other hookup options; these would also be illustrated in the unit's owner's manual.

For an expanded version of this FAQ answer, check out my article - Connecting Both a DVD Recorder and a VCR to Your Television

Also, for a closer, visual, look and explanation of DVD recorder connections, check out my DVD Recorder Connection Photo Page.

For a closer look and explanation of AV Home Theater Receiver connections, check out my Home Theater Receiver Connection Photo Page

Proceed to the next question: Do DVD recorders also have region code lock, like DVD players?

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