I have a 2-year-old 27″ Brand ‘O’ television set that weighs a ton, and an old Brand ‘E’ VCR that I wanted to connect. I already had a DVD player connected by S Video cables to that TV, and it works fine on the TV Aux 1 channel. But for my purposes, the VCR is the best way for me to record the few things that I would want to, and to play the recorded tapes that I have had for many years.
So when we extended my daughter’s ‘TW’ Cable at her house to my adjoining apt., I got out the instruction manuals for both the TV and the VCR, and tried to make it work according to what they said I should do.
The TV manual said I should set the TV/AV selection to Aux 1 to connect the TV to a VCR. This did not work, no matter what else I did. All I saw was a big black screen.
I also got conflicting instructions regarding whether the coaxial cable from the wall should be connected to the input or the output connection of the VCR. Since there was only one connection at the back of the TV, I could see that whichever VCR connection the wall cable was connected to, the other cable had to run to the TV from the other one. Somewhere I read a statement that it would be impossible to record or play if cables from the wall were connected to the “in” connection of the VCR. Well, they ought to know, I thought, so I connected the cable from the wall to the “out” connection, and the other one from the “in” connection to the TV. Then I tried to record and play.
The VCR did its job as it was supposed to do. I could see it working, but nothing was being recorded, and the picture I got in VCR mode was terrible.
So what was the reason for the problem here?
1.) I had connected the cables wrong?
2.) My VCR was too old/incompatible with the TV or was not “cable-ready”?
3.) The instructions were (OMG) wrong?
The last thing I was ready to believe was that the instructions could be wrong. Or at least misleading.
I consulted my daughter, who had had a similar problem with wrong instructions for her VCR setup. Seeing that I had followed all the instructions, and seeing that there was no way to do a channel setup on the VCR, we came to the (wrong) conclusion that my VCR was too old to work with my relatively new TV and a cable system that didn’t use a converter box (we didn’t know why.) We thought I would have to go out and buy a new VCR that was “cable-ready.” And I very nearly did just that, thinking I could give my VCR to someone with an older TV.
But first I emailed my son, the family techno-wizard, 2 time zones away, about the problem I was having. He promptly phoned me, and after he found out what equipment I had, he told me to connect from the wall to the “in” connection (like what else made any sense?) I put a tape in the VCR and he walked me through the process of finding out what I had to do to make it work. It turned out that I only had to tune the TV to Channel 3 if I wanted to play a tape. To record, I would tune to the channel I wanted to record from with the VCR. Then I could watch that same channel, another channel, or turn the TV off. When I was able to bring the timer programming menu up on the TV screen, I knew we had it made!
This was the way it should work, and always had when I had used this VCR with cable before! Once again we had been saved from making an unnecessary purchase and giving away a perfectly good piece of equipment, or paying a cable tech to come out. Thanks, son!