Are you a Retro Tech-minded individual who still uses VHS players or VCRs to record over-the-air TV programs? If so, you might have wondered how you can connect your VCR to your digital converter box to record over-the-air TV programs. In this blog post, we will show you how to do just that.
With digital signals replacing analog signals, connecting a VCR to your over-the-air TV antenna is no longer possible. The old analog NTSC tuner inside the VCR will no longer receive any over-the-air TV broadcasts. Instead, you have to use a digital converter box that will receive digital broadcasts and then convert them to an analog signal that your VCR will recognize and be able to record the programs onto a cassette.
The key to connecting your VCR to your digital converter box is using RCA composite video jacks. These Jacks are common on AV devices and are used to mate a digital source to an analog source. To connect your digital converter box to your VCR, start by connecting your coaxial cable running from your antenna to the RFN to give you your over-the-air signal. Then, plug a set of RCA cables into those three composite jacks. Match up the colors yellow, red, and white, and the other end of this cable will get plugged into your VCR into one of the input ports. Just match up the colors, and that will send the video and audio signal from your digital converter box to the VCR so it can be recorded on tape.
If you have an older VCR that does not have a red plug, that means it’s a mono VCR with only a left audio channel. In that case, you only need to use the yellow and white plugs; don’t use the red plug at all.
To view the digital converter box through your VCR on your TV, set up a second set of cables running from the output on the VCR into the input on the TV. Then, select AV as your input on your television, and you’ll be able to view the digital converter box through your VCR on your television. It’s probably best to set the video resolution to 480p since we’re dealing with an analog signal at standard definition.
Once you’ve made all the connections, turn the VCR on. It might be on channel three, but that’s the VCR’s tuner. The tuner in the VCR is an NTSC analog tuner, so there’s going to be no picture because the digital converter box has the digital ATSC tuner that receives the signal from the antenna and then converts that signal to analog through the RCA cable to send it to the VCR. Find the right input setting (line two in this case), and there’s the EPG from your digital converter box. Pop in a tape, switch the VCR to EP record mode, and press record to start recording.
While using a VCR to record programs is completely redundant today, most digital converter boxes have a little USB PVR function on them that allows you to pop in a USB drive and press record just like popping in a tape and pressing record on a VCR. Whether you’re a Die Hard or you just want to feel nostalgic, it’s still possible to connect your VCR to your digital converter box to record over-the-air TV programs just like the old days.
Thrift stores and second-hand shops are a rich source of brand new sealed VHS tapes usually at rock bottom prices. So, if you’re a Retro Tech-minded individual who still enjoys using VHS players or VCRs to record over-the-air TV programs, go ahead and give this a try.