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Getting vcr to work with digital cable

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (Not Computer-Related)' started by techpt, Mar 29, 2018.

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  1. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    I'm not really sure how this is setup since my cable company did it, but I have a big screen tv that I can switch between viewing with a vcr and the dvr of the cable box. This all works fine.

    But my cable company is changing the signal on the cable from analog to digital and they say my vcr will no longer work nor is there a way to make it work.

    But I see there are digital to analog boxes on Amazon. Will one of those work or is there something else that will allow this to work?
     
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  3. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    The VCR will still work it just won't be able to find the digital cable channels. But that's not an issue if you have a cable box or DVR that is connected to the TV than that does that for you. Are you looking to record stuff from cable to VHS? Even that should still work as long as the VCR is connected after the cable box/DVR.
     
  4. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    I took a look at the wiring and I think the connections are like this:

    - cable from wall to a signal splitter
    - One side of the splitter goes to the cable box, which then goes to the tv
    - The other site of the splitter goes to the vcr, which then goes to the tv.

    The tv has multiple inputs which can be selected on-screen. So as far as the vcr is concerned, the cable box doesn't exist.

    The cable tech told me that the vcr won't accept a digital signal and that that is why it won't work. If that is correct, will the digital to analog converter work?

    There are a few times I still record to on the vcr so I want to keep that if possible.
     
  5. texasbullet

    texasbullet

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    My cable TV receiver only has one input for cable that comes from the main cable line (outside) and connects to my TV with HDMI cable. There is no coaxial output to connect to a VCR like the previous ones back then. I am not quite sure if one of this may work to a VCR, DVD Recorder or camera.
     
  6. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

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    no you can't use a coax input on VCR now with digital signal. The VCR tuner will not see a digital signal only analog, which is now switched off.
    Most VCR also have a scart input so what you need is a scart connection from the Cable box to the VCR which will record via the aux input but only what is currently showing on the cable box
     
  7. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    I think I confused things by mentioning the cable box. As far as the vcr is concerned, the cable box doesn't exist. So let me revise my question to

    I have a coax cable from the wall that is digital only and it goes to a vcr. Is it possible to place something in between the cable and vcr that will make it so the vcr can understand the signal, like a video adapter?

    Isn't the purpose of a video adapter to change the signal from digital to analog? Descriptions for products like this one on Amazon seem to be just what I need. But since I can't test this until the switch to digital has been made, I would like to get a definitive answer. One tech at my cable company said it won't work at all. I called later and spoke with another tech and he said it would work fine. :(
     
  8. dvk01

    dvk01 Moderator Malware Specialist

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    No you can't
    you need to connect the VCR to the cable box. Some TVs have a scart in/out dual purpose loop through socket that will plug into the VCR that allows you to record what is currently displayed on the TV screen. You can't use VCR timer to set up recordings or watch one program on TV & record a different one on VCR
    The VCR will never understand the digital signal. The tuner inside the VCR is analog only
     
  9. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    Thank you for your replies. Can you explain the purpose of a video adapter, like the one I referenced?
     
  10. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    You need to have either a cable box or a DTA box in between the wall and the VCR, if you want it to work get one recommended by the cable company, not all channels are available using DTA's either, usually only the free channels that are not encrypted. To get any and all channels you must use a digital cable box or DVR that is capable of knowing what you are subscribed too. Why not just buy or rent an approved DVR from the cable company and dump the VCR?
     
  11. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    Thank you for your reply. The vcr is my fathers. He actually has two, with a video switch to switch between them. I've tried getting him to switch to DVR's but he wants to stick with what he knows. So I guess I'll purchase a few DTA's and hope for the best. As mentioned, the tech's at the cable company give totally different answers as to whether this will work or not, as is the case here. But I do appreciate all of the replies. The change is scheduled for next week. I will post here once I know for sure how it works.
     
  12. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    Here are the results.

    - If I connect the cable box to a tv, even an old tube one, it works. But if I hook it to the vcr and to the tv from there, the signal can't make it through.

    - I ordered a DTA that was described as being for this particular purpose - digital cable to vcr - but it doesn't work either. Spectrum won't support 3rd-party products but the tech I talked to said Spectrum was doing something to the signal that made it only work with their boxes.

    - Decided to switch to using DVR's since that was the only choice left. Turns out Spectrum has dropped all but their 2-tuner DVR's so that means only two shows can be recorded at one time. Since my father frequently records two, or even four, shows at the same time, this won't work.

    - I talked to Spectrum and they said to add more DVR's. However, they have also dropped their "view in any room" feature so whatever tv the DVR is used to record on is where it has to be watched. That is not possible for my father to do so this won't work either, unless I continually swap them in and out.

    - I asked Spectrum is I could purpose a more powerful DVR from Amazon to get around this and they said it wouldn't work, due the above signal change.

    So, the end result is the have completely ruined the main thing my father enjoys and don't provide a way around it. A friend told me that Direct TV doesn't have such limits on recording so looks like I will be switching.

    My thanks for all of the help offered.
     
  13. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    How did your father record 4 things at once on his VCR?

    The reason DTA's and cable boxes purchased from other places do not always work is become of encryption and a whole bunch of other reasons like being provisioned onto the network, I did previously mention that it wouldn't work for encrypted channels.

    Adding more DVR's is the solution, just like adding more VCR'S was the old option. You can have multiple DVR's hooked up at the same time to one cable run and one TV. You just need a simple digital coaxial cable splitter and then change the input on the TV to the desired DVR.

    Another option is record programs when it's re-played on another time zone, most companies offer time shift channels for other time zones.

    Or look into Netflix, Hulu, Prime or any of the other online streaming services, if they carry the programs then he can watch them whenever he wants.
     
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  14. texasbullet

    texasbullet

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    If you are a Spectrum customer you can watch TV on your computer. All you need to do is register at their website (which is free) and from there on you can watch live TV and just find a way to record/capture it from your computer. There are several free capture programs available in the internet but cannot guarantee you if they will work well or not.
     
  15. techpt

    techpt Thread Starter

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    Triple6 - He was able to record multiple shows because I had setup several vcr's on a switch, like you suggested for the dvr's. I hadn't thought of doing that with the dvr's. It will make it a little easier but doesn't remove the limitation they have. Vcr's provided an unlimited amount of storage as long as another tape was available. But the dvr's have limited storage and will fill up. I can get as many of them as I want but the monthly cost for them is prohibitive.

    I don't know what would be considered an encrypted channel but even the basic local stations won't display.

    I had planned on calling about Direct TV this week. I am not familiar with how the others you mentioned work, like Netflix. I know of it but never had need of it. I will check with them too.

    Texasbullet - If this were for me, using the computer might be an option. But my father won't go near a computer and I don't have the time to do all of the necessary copying.

    Thank you both for the suggestions. I don't watch much tv so I don't personally need all of this recording capability. Once I had set up the vcr's, my father handled all of the recording. He will obviously have to learn something new. I'm just trying to limit that and make it as simple as possible at this point.
     
  16. AmyToo

    AmyToo

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