Connect Question Comcast Cable Box With DVDr/VCR and TiVo

Pat Gatto

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi,

This is a question concerning a standard TV and a standard cable box from which I receive premium channels. Can I connect both a Panasonic DVDr/VCR (model DMR-E75V) and a TiVo (series 2 Humax) to the TV and Comcast cable box? Previously I only had the TiVo connected. It makes no difference about recording on one channel while watching another. The Panasonic has a shut off feature after 6 or 8 hours so I can't depend upon it being on when I'm using the TiVo to record.

If possible I'd also like to hook up my Technics stereo system (SD-S935) to the TV.

I appreciate your time and feedback.

Thanks!

PG
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#2
:welcome:

Pat, Im not up on the Cable Boxes and DVRs. Others here are more knowledgable. Im sure they will be along shortly. The poster named bicker comes to mind as particularly knowledgable for about those types of things.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#3
This is a question concerning a standard TV and a standard cable box from which I receive premium channels. Can I connect both a Panasonic DVDr/VCR (model DMR-E75V) and a TiVo (series 2 Humax) to the TV and Comcast cable box?
The short answer is almost surely 'yes', but in order to help you more fully, I need the model number of the television (or a full spec on its inputs), the model number of the cable box, and I need to know if your TiVo is single-tuner or dual-tuner.

Also, can you confirm that you want to use your DVDr/VCR as a recorder, instead of for just playback? That's not necessarily the way I'd personally use them, given that you've got a TiVo: For me, once I had a DVR, I stopped recording onto VHS tape, and because I already had a DVR, I never did do that much recording onto DVDs.

If possible I'd also like to hook up my Technics stereo system (SD-S935) to the TV.
I cannot find any information on this system, so I won't be able to help out with that part of it. (Maybe the model number is not correct?)

I'll provide you a bit of insight into how I'll think about this.

First, given the assumption that you want to record cable from the cable box on both your DVDr/VCR and the TiVo, you're going to have to have some way to get two outputs out of the cable box. That's why I need to know the model number of the cable box. Sometimes they have multiple outputs, themselves -- using multiple outputs from the box itself is always going to be better than the alternative, which is introducing a coax splitter between the cable box and your recorders.*

Note that the cable box will ever only put out one channel. This means that, given the configuration I outlined in the previous paragraph, both of the recorders will get the same channel -- whatever the cable box is currently tuned to. If you're wanting to record two different channels, one channel on the DVDr/VCR and a different channel on the TiVo, at the same time, you'll either have to rely on what the recorders can record without the cable box (connecting one of the recorders directly to the wall), if anything, or you'll need to get a second cable box. **

With cable service now fed into the two recorders, the challenge will be hooking them each up to the television. Unless your television is very old, or was very inexpensive, it will have a variety of inputs. Similarly, the recorders generally have a variety of outputs. We'd exploit this to hook the DVDr/VCR up to the television using one type of inputs, while hooking the TiVo up to the television using another type of inputs.

Anyway, let me know the model numbers and we'll continue on.

_______________
* Just a note about splitters. In this case, we're using a splitter to split the signal coming out of a cable box. Essentially, it's just one channel, either channel 3 or channel 4 -- either 60-66 MHz or 66-72 MHz. As such, we don't need a high quality splitter, like you'd find elsewhere in your home, on a run that may lead into a cable box. Splitters that are introduced before the cable box are generally not available at your local Radio Shack. Unfortunately, the best source for high quality splitters is your cable company, but they may only offer to provide you one if you call them out for a service visit (for which they might charge you). If you do go looking for one on your own, don't expect it to be cheap; You probably can find a good one for $8.50 if you are lucky, but generally it's a $15-$20 item. My imperfect rule-of-thumb is that if it is gold, then it is crap. :)

Anyway, that's not the kind of use we're making of the splitter, so we don't need one of the really supreme ones.

** Note that in either of these scenarios, you will have to split the cable coming out of the wall before the cable box or boxes, so in that case you will need the super high-quality coax splitter, that I discussed above.

 

Pat Gatto

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
The short answer is almost surely 'yes', but in order to help you more fully, I need the model number of the television (or a full spec on its inputs), the model number of the cable box, and I need to know if your TiVo is single-tuner or dual-tuner.
The television is a Panasonic CT-27SL14.
The cable box is a Motorola DCT700/US
The TiVo is a Humax Series 2 single tuner.


Also, can you confirm that you want to use your DVDr/VCR as a recorder, instead of for just playback? That's not necessarily the way I'd personally use them, given that you've got a TiVo: For me, once I had a DVR, I stopped recording onto VHS tape, and because I already had a DVR, I never did do that much recording onto DVDs.
Prior to purchasing the HDTV, I had the Panasonic DVDr/VHS connected to the main TV. I have the TiVo hooked up in the basement. I used the Panasonic as a DVR (with re-writable DVD's) where for instance we'd record a standard channel program but actually start watching it anywhere from 15 minutes later to a few days later. We enjoyed this because we could skip through the commercials. We also used it to make DVD recordings of shows or movies that we enjoy. We only use the VHS if we want to keep something old that we had on VHS and transfer it to DVD.

We use the TiVo to record shows that we are interested in for odd hours (i.e. record daytime soap operas for my wife during the week), late night movies that we don't want to permanently record, or for me sporting events.

But to answer your question, yes I would like to use the DVDr/VCR for playback but if it's a hassle then it's not a showstopper if we can't have playback.


I cannot find any information on this system, so I won't be able to help out with that part of it. (Maybe the model number is not correct?)
I had this hooked up to the main TV and had surround sound so I may be able to do the same again. The reason I asked is now I'll have both the DVDr/VHS and TiVo in the mix where before it was only a VHS or only the DVDr/VHS. The stereo does have connections for "VH1" and "VH2".

I'll provide you a bit of insight into how I'll think about this.

First, given the assumption that you want to record cable from the cable box on both your DVDr/VCR and the TiVo, you're going to have to have some way to get two outputs out of the cable box. That's why I need to know the model number of the cable box. Sometimes they have multiple outputs, themselves -- using multiple outputs from the box itself is always going to be better than the alternative, which is introducing a coax splitter between the cable box and your recorders.*

Note that the cable box will ever only put out one channel. This means that, given the configuration I outlined in the previous paragraph, both of the recorders will get the same channel -- whatever the cable box is currently tuned to. If you're wanting to record two different channels, one channel on the DVDr/VCR and a different channel on the TiVo, at the same time, you'll either have to rely on what the recorders can record without the cable box (connecting one of the recorders directly to the wall), if anything, or you'll need to get a second cable box. **

With cable service now fed into the two recorders, the challenge will be hooking them each up to the television. Unless your television is very old, or was very inexpensive, it will have a variety of inputs. Similarly, the recorders generally have a variety of outputs. We'd exploit this to hook the DVDr/VCR up to the television using one type of inputs, while hooking the TiVo up to the television using another type of inputs.

Anyway, let me know the model numbers and we'll continue on.

_______________
* Just a note about splitters. In this case, we're using a splitter to split the signal coming out of a cable box. Essentially, it's just one channel, either channel 3 or channel 4 -- either 60-66 MHz or 66-72 MHz. As such, we don't need a high quality splitter, like you'd find elsewhere in your home, on a run that may lead into a cable box. Splitters that are introduced before the cable box are generally not available at your local Radio Shack. Unfortunately, the best source for high quality splitters is your cable company, but they may only offer to provide you one if you call them out for a service visit (for which they might charge you). If you do go looking for one on your own, don't expect it to be cheap; You probably can find a good one for $8.50 if you are lucky, but generally it's a $15-$20 item. My imperfect rule-of-thumb is that if it is gold, then it is crap. :)

Anyway, that's not the kind of use we're making of the splitter, so we don't need one of the really supreme ones.

** Note that in either of these scenarios, you will have to split the cable coming out of the wall before the cable box or boxes, so in that case you will need the super high-quality coax splitter, that I discussed above.

I only plan to record one event at a time either on TiVo or on the DVDr/VHS. I already have a splitter in the basement because with the TiVo I did have it configured to watch one channel while recording another. Since Comcast is now mostly digital there isn't much to watch that doesn't come through the cable box.

Anyway, thanks again for your time and patience.

PG
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#5
I used the Panasonic as a DVR (with re-writable DVD's) ... We use the TiVo to record shows that we are interested in for odd hours ... But to answer your question, yes I would like to use the DVDr/VCR for playback but if it's a hassle then it's not a showstopper if we can't have playback.
Well, actually, playback is easy. What would have made a difference is if you were willing to just use it for playback, rather than for both recording and playback. I'll go forward assuming you do want it to do both; however, please note that this will make the connections a lot more complicated.

I am relatively familiar with the Motorola DCT-700. The one thing that I'm not completely sure of is whether all of its outputs are active at the same time. If so, that will greatly simply things. I'm going to go forward assuming that that is the case.


Above you'll see the rear panel of the DCT-700.

The first step is to connect a coaxial cable from the wall directly into the RF IN of the DCT-700, the port labeled '3'.


Above you'll see the rear panel of the Humax DVR (in the center).

The second step is to connect the composite video output (yellow), and L & R audio outputs (red and white) of the DCT-700 to the composite video input (yellow) and L & R audio inputs (red and white) of your Humax DVR.


Above you'll see the rear panel of your television.

The third step is to connect the Humax DVR to your television, but we're going to use better connections than the diagram indicates. You should use an S-video cable to connect the S-video port under "AUDIO/VIDEO OUTPUT" on the back of the Humax DVR to the S-video port in the "INPUT 2" portion of back of your television. You should then connect the L & R audio outputs (red and white) of the Humax DVR to the L & R audio inputs (red and white) of the television, but again be sure to use the ports in the "INPUT 2" portion of back of your television.

If you don't have an S-video cable, you should get one from monoprice.com. It is a superior video connection as compared to the composite video (yellow) connection. However, for now, if you don't have an S-video cable, then connect the composite video output (yellow) of the Humax DVR to the composite video (yellow) input of the television, but again be sure to use the ports in the "INPUT 2" portion of back of your television.


Above you'll see the rear of your DVDr/VCR.

The fourth step is to connect a coaxial cable from the RF OUT port of the DCT-700 (see first picture, port labeled '4') to the RF IN port of your DVDr/VCR.

The fifth step is to connect your DVDr/VCR to your television. This is the trickiest step, because your television might not be able to handle the complexity of your DVDr/VCR. At a minimum, you must connect the composite video output (yellow), and L & R audio outputs (red and white) of the DVDr/VCR, from under the label "DVD/VHS COMMON output" to the composite video input (yellow - labeled "Y/VIDEO") and L & R audio inputs (red and white) of your television, being sure to use the ports in the "INPUT 1" portion of back of your television. This is the only way that you'll be able to view playback of the VCR portion of your DVDr/VCR.

You would be better off, though, when viewing playback of DVDs, using component video connections (red, green, blue). This would involve connecting the ports labeled "COMPONENT VIDEO OUT" (Y, Pb, Pr) on your DVDr/VCR to the "COMPONENT VIDEO INPUT" (Pr, Pb, Y/VIDEO) on the back of your television. However, your television uses that Y/VIDEO for both composite and component video, so you cannot use it for both. You'll essentially have to choose between being able to use your VCR, or better quality playback from your DVD.

Now, there is an alternative to that. It would require a completely different wiring of the Humax DVR to the television, so I'll put that alternative in the next message.
 

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bicker

DTVUSA Member
#6
Okay, so now this is the alternative. It sacrifices a bit of quality with regard to playback from the Humax DVR, in favor of better quality with regard to playback from the DVD, while still being able to view playback from the VCR.

The first step is the same: Connect a coaxial cable from the wall directly into the RF IN of the DCT-700, the port labeled '3'.

The second step is also the same: Connect the composite video output (yellow), and L & R audio outputs (red and white) of the DCT-700 to the composite video input (yellow) and L & R audio inputs (red and white) of your Humax DVR.

The third step is to connect the Humax DVR to your television. However, in this alternative, we cannot use the better connections we used above. Instead, you would use a coaxial cable to connect the RF OUT port of the Humax DVR to the ANT port of your television. You'll be "tuning in" the TiVo on channel 3 or channel 4 on your television.

The fourth step is the same: Connect a coaxial cable from the RF OUT port of the DCT-700 (see first picture, port labeled '4') to the RF IN port of your DVDr/VCR.

The fifth step is now two separate steps.

In the first part of the fifth step, we're essentially connecting the VCR portion of the DVDr/VCR to your television. As I indicated in the previous message, you would connect the composite video output (yellow), and L & R audio outputs (red and white) of the DVDr/VCR, from under the label "DVD/VHS COMMON output" to the composite video input (yellow - labeled "VIDEO") and L & R audio inputs (red and white) of your television, being sure to use the ports in the "INPUT 2" portion of back of your television. (In my previous message, you were making these connections in the "INPUT 1" portion of back of your television.)

In the second part of the fifth step, we're essentially connecting the DVD portion of the DVDr/VCR to your television. You will be using component video connections (red, green, blue). This would involve connecting the ports labeled "COMPONENT VIDEO OUT" (Y, Pb, Pr) on your DVDr/VCR to the "COMPONENT VIDEO INPUT" (Pr, Pb, Y/VIDEO) in the "INPUT 1" portion of back of your television. Note, now, since you used the "INPUT 2" portion of back of your television for the "DVD/VHS COMMON output" connections in the first part of the fifth step, you now have all the ports you need available to you to connect the DVD-specific connections here in the "INPUT 1" portion of back of your television.

I hope this helps! Please be sure to ask questions if you are confused (as well you may be, given how complex your configuration is).
 

Pat Gatto

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Bicker,

I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. My mini-vacation is over so I'll try your suggestions this weekend and let you know the results.

Thanks again!

PG
 

Pat Gatto

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
Bicker,

I hooked everything up according to your first set of instructions. Even without the S-Video cable and without the Pr, Pb, Y/VIDEO component connection everything looks great and works great. Thanks again!

PG
 
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