Using a VCR to record from a DTV converter box

Although the days of analog televisions and video cassette recorders (VCRs) are almost over, some people still own analog televisions. They use digital TV (DTV) converter boxes to view digital signals on their analog televisions. The problem comes when they want to record a show. That’s where VCRs come in handy.

VCR to the Rescue

The provisions for using a VCR to record from a DTV converter box include:

  • The VCR must be tuned to record on channel 3.
  • The VCR connects to the output signal of the DTV converter box. In other words, the converter box must be connected between the antenna and the VCR. Therefore, the likely configuration used with a coaxial cable is an antenna to DTV to VCR to TV converter.
  • Please connect the DTV converter to the channel you want to record before recording. The VCR will not be able to change channels on the DTV converter box.

You can use the timer recording feature on the VCR if you meet these stipulations.

If this sounds oddly familiar to recording on a digital cable or satellite box, you’re right. It’s exactly like recording a signal from a digital cable box or satellite receiver. Although it can be a bit inconvenient, at least there is the option to record to a VCR while using a DTV converter box.

Disadvantage of using a DTV converter

The ability to watch one program and record another with the DTV converter is lost.

The reason is the tuner. The VCR’s tuner is useless with digital channels except for recognizing channel 3. The digital converter is a single tuner element, so it only receives one station at a time.

About subchannels

A single station can send multiple signals on its digital band. These are called subchannels. Normally, recording access to these subchannels is obtained when using the DTV converter box with an antenna.

Subchannels appear something like 42.1, 42.2, 42.3, and so on. For example, in one area, the ABC affiliate may send the ABC signal on subchannel 24.1 and a weather-only signal on 24.2.

This is one of the advantages of digital television being transmitted to the analog world with a DTV converter box.