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  #1  
Old 02-28-09, 14:04
Meekiecheese Meekiecheese is offline
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Default Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

My family is at it's wits end about the whole conversion from analog to digital television, but didn't realize we would need a tuner with it to alledgedly do what we need to do. In the midst of this, our dvd/vcr player (with tuner) has been having some problems (vcr chews tape and sometimes/randomly ejects the tape, etc.). We got the converter box (Magnavox from Walmart) and we also bought a Toshiba dvd/vcr player. We returned the Toshiba (I don't recommend it) and tried to work on our old dvd/vcr player (the dvd problems were resolved but the vcr is still randomly doing it's "psycho dance"). We are not the most electronics savvy people, but we are willing to learn. We need advice on what to buy. This is what we need:

We do not want or have cable or satellite TV, therefore, we need to be able to pick up the local analog and digital stations.

We are willing to get a dvd recorder, but we don't necessarily have to have one. Once the country goes digital on June 12th, we want to be able to a) record our favorite programs with the vcr while watching other programs and b) be able to time record programs when we aren't at home. These two points are very important to us. Can you record digital programs onto VHS tapes? Or do you have to use a dvd recorder for that? We LIKE VHS and we are not that interested (nor are we that impressed) in copying our old VHS tapes onto dvds, though that seems to be the rage right now.

Has anyone bought appliances like this online from Amazon or other companies?

Thanks and please let me know if you need more info, we really appreciate any help. Thanks again.

Last edited by Meekiecheese; 02-28-09 at 14:11..
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Old 02-28-09, 15:12
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

june 12th is the new cut-off date for the switch to digital signals from the old analog signals. however, some broadcasters have already made the switch and no longer broadcast in analog; they do not have to wait for the new date.

if: you have an older tv that does not have a DIGITAL TUNER, but have an antenna, you will need a converter box to hook up to your antenna, and then your tv from the converter box.
if: you have a newer tv with a BUILT IN DIGITAL TUNER and an antenna, you will not need a converter box. you still NEED the antenna.
if: you are like me your tv WILL NOT have a digital tuner.
buy a converter box and connect it, according to easy instructions, to the antenna and then to the tv.
follow all the directions and see what happens. you should be amazed at the quality of the picture you are now receiving.
gotta start a new reply as I can't type fast enuf before being cut-off
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Old 02-28-09, 15:29
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

I have a couple of zenith boxes I bought from, cough, cough, circuit city some months back and they work ok. the whole thing ,really, is a pain in the butt.
used to get 2, yea 2 channels fairly clear, but now get 9 channels CRYSTAL CLEAR. the reception you receive will actually be better than you would receive if you were to subscribe to a cable or dish network.
I have 1 dvd player hooked up and it works just fine. let me know and I can tell you how mine is hooked up ( I can take some pictures and show you )
don't know about recording
my advice, if the combo dvd/vcr is eating tapes, get rid of it before trying to make it work with all this new stuff
trying to make copies of store bought vcr tapes (movies) waste of time (quality is atrocious
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Old 02-28-09, 15:41
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Here is a link you may find informative: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html

Quote:
How Do I Receive Digital Broadcasts If I Don’t Subscribe To Cable Or Satellite?
If you receive only free over-the-air television programming, the type of TV you own, either a digital TV or an analog TV, is very important. Consumers who receive only free over-the-air television may view digital programming through a TV set with a built-in digital tuner (integrated DTV) or a digital-ready monitor with a separate digital tuner set-top box. (Both of these digital television types are referred to as a DTV). The only additional equipment required to view over-the-air digital programming with a DTV is a regular antenna, either on your roof or a smaller version on your TV such as “rabbit ears.”
If you have an analog television, you will have to purchase a digital-to-analog set-top converter box to attach to your TV set to be able to view over-the-air digital programming (see “What About My Analog TV?” below).

Now as far as a VCR:

It has been a long long time since I've used one to record shows, but I used to do it all the time. I think you will have a hard time finding a new vcr that isn't a vcr/dvd combo. But as long as it has a tuner, you should be able to just hook it up and watch a show while recording another. Definitely get rid of the old one if it's eating your tapes. You could probably try to find a use VCR if you really don't want a dvd.
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Old 02-28-09, 16:10
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

forgot to add. don't bother wasting money buying a special so-called digital antenna. your rabbit ears or roof top antenna that you have had forever will work fine. I am in a rural setting and have tried both; no difference!
maybe there would be a difference in a more populated area, but you will have to decide if you would like to spend the money and see.
the one,really big pain in the butt is the signal seems to change directions ever so slightly every so often, which means moving the antenna, ever so slightly, every once in awhile.
I have noticed a lot of problems with it but maybe still in it's infancy yet and all the minor problems will be worked out in the future
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Old 02-28-09, 17:44
Meekiecheese Meekiecheese is offline
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

I don't know what's going on with Majorgeeks, but what I write and what posts are different.

Any way, to answer your posts oldandconfusedagain, we already have a converter box, that's not the problem(s). We need to buy a dvd/vcr player or recorder with a digital tuner and need to know which one and which way does it need to be hooked up so that we can do the following:

We need the ability to (once the country goes digital on June 12th) a) record our favorite programs with the vcr while watching other programs and b) be able to time record programs when we aren't at home. These two points are very important to us. Can you record digital programs onto VHS tapes? Or do you have to use a dvd recorder for that? We LIKE VHS and we are not that interested (nor are we that impressed with) in copying our old VHS tapes onto dvds, though that seems to be the rage right now.

We do not want or have cable or satellite TV, therefore, we need to be able to pick up the local analog and digital stations.

We are willing to get a dvd recorder, but we don't necessarily have to have one.

Has anyone bought appliances like this online from Amazon or other companies? What is and where is Amazon's return policy?


Again, thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
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  #7  
Old 02-28-09, 17:56
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

I would go on sites like Amazon.com, newegg.com, or bestbuy.com and do a search for VCR's. All those sites provide customer reviews. Panasonic always made good VCR's and they make good DVDs, so you may want to start there.

Generally, as far as hookup, you should be able to hook it up the same way your old one is hooked up. The newer players will have more hookup options such as S-Video, component, etc., but you always have the options of hooking it up with the Red, Yellow, White A/V cord. You just won't get the same quality picture.

With a converter, what you will probably have to do is have your converter box going to your VCR and then the VCR plugged to the TV.


Any player/recorder you get will have (or should have) detailed instructions on hookup.

What input/outputs do you have in your converter box and TV.
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Old 02-28-09, 22:10
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

sorry, you already know what to do regarding digital tv.
I have no idea about recording to a dvd recorder, or vhs recorder as I have no interest in doing so. maybe someone will be along shortly that can better answer your question.
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Old 03-04-09, 22:42
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

If you want to record a different channel than you are watching, you need a tuner that can do that. The converter boxes generally just tune to one channel at a time. I think it would be easiest to get a vcr/dvd with a digital tuner. Alternatively, you could get a second converter box just for the vcr, but this could add complications to the already buggy operations. You would need to set the second box before recording, including timed things. The vcr would not be able to change channels unless the converter box has some kind of channel remapping to analog or something, which I have never seen. These complications are why I said it would be easier to get a vcr/dvd with the new digital tuner.
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Old 03-21-09, 22:26
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Hi, I think I have the same problem that you do. I have a new digital TV. I have a set of rabbit ears going directly to the atenna input on the TV.
I have an old VCR. I have the VCR hooked up to the TV on input 1 and it will play VHS tapes.
Radio Shack says I can use the old VCR with a converter box to TAPE TV shows as well. I need to know how to hook the VCR up using the converter box to be able to tape. I thought I should hook the antenna to the converter box and go to the vcr and then to the tv but that doesn't work. Then there is the issue of how the VCR can tape the channels as they are now named. ex) 6.001 when the VCR has only two spaces for a channel when trying to program. I never could get the menu to come up on the TV for the converter box.
Maybe oldandconfusedagain can help with this one too?
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Old 03-22-09, 09:38
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Here is a Youtube video with a kid that shows you exactly how to hook up a VCR with the converter box and antenna.

Btw, the way you have it set should work. You may want to check the rest of your settings, like channel and all that.

The kid is young, but it's a good instructional video:

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Old 03-22-09, 14:21
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

You'll need two digital converters unfortunately. One hooked up to your VCR/DVD combo box, and another for your TV. Since you wish to record one station and be able to see another station on your TV at the same time, you'll need an A/B switch between your TV and your connections from the second converter box and from the VCR/DVD combo box. Unless you get a new VCR/DVD combo box that can receive digital signals, you'll need the A/B switch and a second digital converter.
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Old 03-22-09, 14:33
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarteeRose View Post
Hi, I think I have the same problem that you do. I have a new digital TV. I have a set of rabbit ears going directly to the atenna input on the TV.
I have an old VCR. I have the VCR hooked up to the TV on input 1 and it will play VHS tapes.
Radio Shack says I can use the old VCR with a converter box to TAPE TV shows as well. I need to know how to hook the VCR up using the converter box to be able to tape. I thought I should hook the antenna to the converter box and go to the vcr and then to the tv but that doesn't work. Then there is the issue of how the VCR can tape the channels as they are now named. ex) 6.001 when the VCR has only two spaces for a channel when trying to program. I never could get the menu to come up on the TV for the converter box.
Maybe oldandconfusedagain can help with this one too?
The VCR needs the converter to record digital stations so the VCR has to stay stuck on one channel (probably CH3) and you'll have to manually change the converter's channels to the one you'll need to record. This replays the same situation I had to endure when cable was new and you needed a converter box for both the TV and the VCR. Unfortunately, the quickest, most pain free option is to get a new VCR/DVD combo box that receives digital signals.
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Old 03-22-09, 23:20
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Thanks Laura, but I went back to Radio Shack today and the guy told me I could view tapes but not record them. Looks like DVD recorder/player is the way to go.
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Old 03-22-09, 23:26
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Papa, you are saying that the vhs/dvd players can be programmed to record digital? The VCR I have has only two digits for the channel and the new digital channels use 4 digit decimals in some cases. I have tried recording with this VCR hooked up with a converter box and it just won't do it. Radio Shack said the same.
Do the newer VCRs with DVD have a digital tuner of their own? I'm too old for this stuff. <sigh> Thanks so much for your help. I think it is time to go to Best Buy!
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Old 03-22-09, 23:37
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarteeRose View Post
Papa, you are saying that the vhs/dvd players can be programmed to record digital? .... Do the newer VCRs with DVD have a digital tuner of their own?
I think the newer ones do. Anyways --- with a digital converter hooked up to a VCR (old or new) the signal will be converted to analog, something even old VCR's can see and record. Problem is, the VCR has to be on one channel exclusively (ch3, or a line in) and the converter will need to be changed manually (whatever the VCR sees, it records).
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Old 03-22-09, 23:41
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Default Re: Digital Television: converter boxes, vcrs, dvds, dvd recorders, etc.???

I think I will just get the newer stuff. Make a nice father's day present for him. Thanks for all your help.
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