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Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-19-2009
Accepted Solution

My VCR Won't Work!

I just installed my digital equipment (box and adapters). I have my VCR (a Sharp VC-H810) hooked up to my main TV in the proper sequence per the instructions provided by Comcast. It will not automatically or manually lock in the channels, and it will not record anything but static/snow. In the VCR manual, it mentions using a splitter and an A-B switch, but my understanding is that with that configuration, I would only be able to record the local channels, and not any other cable programs, such as MSNBC channel 30, for instance. What do I do? Is my VCR obsolete?

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,380
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

So main cable into cable box, then coax from cable box to VCR, then coax from VCR to television?

Both VCR and Television set to channel 3?

You can not use the VCR to tune in the channels like in the past when the main cable went directly into the VCR. You can only record the channel that your cable box is set to at the time. I have mine set up that way and have had no problems recording.

 

Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-19-2009

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

Thank you very much for responding! I've tried everything and I need all the help I can get!

Yes, main cable is going into the cable box, then a coax from the cable box into the VCR, then a coax from the VCR into the TV. I will try again this evening with both the VCR and the TV set to channel 3.

However, I'm still a little confused...I have highlighted 2 of your comments which seem (in my mind) to be in conflict... 

1. Are you saying that the cable box must be on channel 3 while I am recording? Does it matter if the box is turned on or off?  Wouldn't that just make the VCR record channel 3?

2. Or does this mean that the VCR will go ahead and record whatever channel I have programmed it for as long as the box and VCR are set to channel 3?

3. If the cable box has to be on channel 3 while recording, then obviously, I cannot watch another channel (except channel 3) while I record something, correct?

Please excuse my density when it comes to instructions - hard to believe I was a very successful professional mechanic for over 40 years, eh?


commanguy wrote:

So main cable into cable box, then coax from cable box to VCR, then coax from VCR to television?

Both VCR and Television set to channel 3? 

You can not use the VCR to tune in the channels like in the past when the main cable went directly into the VCR. You can only record the channel that your cable box is set to at the time. I have mine set up that way and have had no problems recording.

 


 

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,380
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

1. Are you saying that the cable box must be on channel 3 while I am recording? Does it matter if the box is turned on or off?  Wouldn't that just make the VCR record channel 3?

No. The cable box controls what channels you view. The VCR must stay on channel 3 at all times to be able to record.

2. Or does this mean that the VCR will go ahead and record whatever channel I have programmed it for as long as the box and VCR are set to channel 3?

If the VCR is set to channel 3 it will record whatever channel you have the cable box set for, for example Channel 15. If you set your VCR to Channel 15 and record it will record nothing. If you have the VCR set for Channel 3 and the cable box for Channel 15 then it will record that channel correctly.

3. If the cable box has to be on channel 3 while recording, then obviously, I cannot watch another channel (except channel 3) while I record something, correct?

Correct. If you are recording something with a VCR (or DVD recorder) the ability to watch one channel while recording another is not available through the cable box. To watch another channel while recording you need either a DVR with two tuners or an A/B switch. Using an switch will allow you to only view channels 2-23, the Limited Basic channels that do not require a cable box at this time.

Please excuse my density when it comes to instructions - hard to believe I was a very successful professional mechanic for over 40 years, eh?

No problem. This gets confusing for most people. The thing to remember any time you are using a cable box hooked into a VCR or just to a television is that the VCR and TV MUST stay on channel 3. The cable box is what you use to select the channels you wish to watch.

Hope this explains things.

Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-19-2009

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

OK...just to make sure...If I want to record say, channel 48, from 8:00 to 9:00 or whatever:

- Cable box "on" 

- Cable box set to channel 48

- VCR set to channel 3

- VCR recording timer program also set to channel 3 (?) or 48 (?)

- TV set to channel 3 (does it also have to be turned on?) 

 


commanguy wrote:

1. Are you saying that the cable box must be on channel 3 while I am recording? Does it matter if the box is turned on or off?  Wouldn't that just make the VCR record channel 3?

No. The cable box controls what channels you view. The VCR must stay on channel 3 at all times to be able to record.

2. Or does this mean that the VCR will go ahead and record whatever channel I have programmed it for as long as the box and VCR are set to channel 3?

If the VCR is set to channel 3 it will record whatever channel you have the cable box set for, for example Channel 15. If you set your VCR to Channel 15 and record it will record nothing. If you have the VCR set for Channel 3 and the cable box for Channel 15 then it will record that channel correctly.

3. If the cable box has to be on channel 3 while recording, then obviously, I cannot watch another channel (except channel 3) while I record something, correct?

Correct. If you are recording something with a VCR (or DVD recorder) the ability to watch one channel while recording another is not available through the cable box. To watch another channel while recording you need either a DVR with two tuners or an A/B switch. Using an switch will allow you to only view channels 2-23, the Limited Basic channels that do not require a cable box at this time.

Please excuse my density when it comes to instructions - hard to believe I was a very successful professional mechanic for over 40 years, eh?

No problem. This gets confusing for most people. The thing to remember any time you are using a cable box hooked into a VCR or just to a television is that the VCR and TV MUST stay on channel 3. The cable box is what you use to select the channels you wish to watch.

Hope this explains things.


 

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,380
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

[ Edited ]

OK...just to make sure...If I want to record say, channel 48, from 8:00 to 9:00 or whatever:

- Cable box "on"  CORRECT

- Cable box set to channel 48 CORRECT

- VCR set to channel 3 CORRECT. LEAVE THIS ON CHANNEL 3 AT ALL TIMES

- VCR recording timer program also set to channel 3 (?) or 48 (?) CHANNEL 3 AT ALL TIMES.

- TV set to channel 3 (does it also have to be turned on?)  DOES NOT NEED TO BE ON FOR RECORDING

 

Connection Expert
Joe
Posts: 7,130
Registered: ‎06-30-2003

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

Looks like you got great help

 

 

Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-19-2009

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

commanguy:

 

Thanks for your help! I finally got to try the solution on Friday (we've been real busy lately) and it worked perfectly. I appreciate your time and patience. My only lament is that I cannot watch another channel while I record.

My son is a computer tech, but has been extremely busy with work and school the past few weeks. He said he can set me up to record programs on my computer, so we'll see how that works out in the near future.

A neighbor told me there are machines (TiVo?) that will record programs off the cable as long as you get "one with 2 tuners" (ostensibly 1 tuner for the TV and 1 for the recordings?). Do you know how that works? I did a little internet surfing and googling and found some "DVR" machines in the range of (gasp!)$5000-$8000, but with extremely vague explanations of how they work. I also saw TiVo machines for sale for around $100, but there seems to be a monthly fee involved. (once again, very vague info)

What is the best/most cost-effective thing for someone who wants to record one channel while watching another channel? The Comcast-provided DVR?

 

 


commanguy wrote:

OK...just to make sure...If I want to record say, channel 48, from 8:00 to 9:00 or whatever:

- Cable box "on"  CORRECT

- Cable box set to channel 48 CORRECT

- VCR set to channel 3 CORRECT. LEAVE THIS ON CHANNEL 3 AT ALL TIMES

- VCR recording timer program also set to channel 3 (?) or 48 (?) CHANNEL 3 AT ALL TIMES.

- TV set to channel 3 (does it also have to be turned on?)  DOES NOT NEED TO BE ON FOR RECORDING

 


 

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,380
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

Glad to have helped. Yeah, I miss the watch one program while recording another.

Not too familar with Tivo's but I do know you would need to have a cable card for each tuner, which can be rented from Comcast just like a box. Fee would have to be checked with your local office. The monthly fee I believe is paid to Tivo. I know a couple of the volunteer experts on the forums use Tivo's. I will try and touch base with one of them and have them post back on this thread with more details.

 

Cable Expert
JayInAlg
Posts: 11,467
Registered: ‎03-02-2007

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

I'll add information about Tivo's.

 

Tivo's and Moxi's are considered a "premium" DVR experience and have higher costs with owning and operating one.

 

It is cheaper to subscribe to Comcast's DVR service.  There is no cost for hardware, only the monthly fee for the DVR service.  The Comcast DVR doesn't have the best user experience, sometimes the DVR and guide software is buggy, shows get skipped, experiences vary by user.  You can always try it and dump it without penalty.  If the DVR fails, Comcast will swap it out no charge.

 

Tivo and Moxi need a cable card supplied by Comcast at a monthly fee.  It the DVR is a additional unit from your primary set top box, then the cost can be as low as 1.50, or 7.95 a month or slightly higher in some regions.  If there DVR replaces your primary set top box, then the card fee replaces the primary set top box fee.

 

 In some area's you can pickup the cable card at the office, install it, and phone in the numbers to activate it.  Other area's a tech needs to come out to install it resulting in a trip charge in addition to the order charge.

 

Moxi is Tivo's competitor, and the hardware costs are more,   Moxi units come with either 2 or 3 tuners, and you can add remote boxes to watch live and recorded shows from the main box. You must order it directly from Moxi.com

 

Tivo has monthly fees in addition to the hardware purchase costs.  Because Tivo has lost a lot of subscribers, and is desperate for getting new subs, prices for hardware has dropped, but the monthly fee can make a big dent in your wallet each month plus the cost of the cable card from Comcast.  Please see Tivo's web site for prices, they have various plans, the longer the commitment the cheaper the hardware is.

 

Tivo and Moxi do not receive Comcast's On Demand, but if you hook them to your high speed internet connection, then they have other ways to watch shows from their online partners.  If you own your Tivo or Moxi, and the hardware fails, there will be repair or replacement costs after the warranty period.  Owners of older analog Tivo's have found out that their old Tivo's are obsolete or lost some functionality due to Comcast's digital migration, same as what has happened to VCR and other analog devices.

 

So, Comcast's DVR is cheaper, Tivo and Moxi are a better experience, but alot more $$$ to own and operate. 

New Visitor
cmcaststinks1
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-11-2011

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

Comcast and the government they have bought have succeeded in taking us back forty years to the time when you could only record the station you were watching (or needed an A/B switch and manual effort) and were also at the mercy of comcast as to how many tvs could get service an average home could afford.  they lied to me that all my current vcrs and dvr would work exactly the same after migration as before.  They should not be allowed to buy NBC. I would not use comcast for internet, Voip or anything . I am locked into them for cable via an unconscionable 30 year contract they appear to have with my hoa.  It is disgusting. Comcast is the perfect example of the kind of business that has done ok for itself during the greediest decade since the robber barons. 

Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-19-2009

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

[ Edited ]

I'll have to admit you are right about them taking us back 40 years. In this day and age of electronic miracles, it is unbelievable that I have to take the tape out of my living room VCR and take it into the bedroom and put it into the bedroom VCR and make sure the "adapter box" is set to the channel I want to record and the VCR is on channel 3 and then finally program to record. Then, I have to do the process in reverse to watch the darned thing! I don't ask for much in this life, and in this case, I don't get much, either....

Surely,they can do better than this! Of course, they would have to WANT to do better...

I have gone through the nightmare of installing the "digital upgrade" on my mother-in-law's TV and my own TVs, my brother's TV and my mom and dad's TVs. I did the conversions because they were intimidated by the instructions, the manuals and those god-awful telephone trees you get when you call comcast. Out of the 4 households, we have had 3 defective main cable boxes and 1 defective adapter box and 2 additional shipments of boxes we did not ask for. This has necessitated 2 trips to the comcast office and a visit from a technician, not to mention more phone calls and wasted hours than I can even remember at this point (somewhere around 20 calls and 15 hours of my time).

If and when something better comes along, if I can afford it, I will jump on it!

 

 


cmcaststinks1 wrote:

Comcast and the government they have bought have succeeded in taking us back forty years to the time when you could only record the station you were watching (or needed an A/B switch and manual effort) and were also at the mercy of comcast as to how many tvs could get service an average home could afford.  they lied to me that all my current vcrs and dvr would work exactly the same after migration as before.  They should not be allowed to buy NBC. I would not use comcast for internet, Voip or anything . I am locked into them for cable via an unconscionable 30 year contract they appear to have with my hoa.  It is disgusting. Comcast is the perfect example of the kind of business that has done ok for itself during the greediest decade since the robber barons. 


 

Contributor
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎12-14-2006

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

I feel your pain. I cant afford the extra $15+/month for dvr so I cant tape everything I want like I used to. A tech did tell me if you used a splitter you could tape one and watch another on the local channels (2-13 I think) but can anyone tell me how to set up the splitter and where can I get one?

Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-19-2009

Re: My VCR Won't Work!

[ Edited ]

I thought there were instructions with my main cable box showing how to hook up a splitter, but I will have to go out to the garage and see if I can find them. You can get a splitter at Radio Shack and Walmart, etc. For me personally, it would be very little consolation to only be able to watch channels 2-13 while recording. "whoop-dee-doo!"...that's like saying "here's a penny for all your troubles - it will only cost you a nickle"!

 

After all, why am I paying all this money for the cable channels??? I think comcast should provide us all with a DVR free of charge (or maybe not more than $2 or $3 per month) upon request.

 

Meanwhile, another update to my last post: My parents' cable box had to be replaced AGAIN during a second technician visit. I replaced the box the first time, and it was defective right out of the box; then, on the first tech visit, they again replaced the box; it was also defective, so the next tech replaced it again! Unbelievable!!!!!

 


Windsor_Gal wrote:

I feel your pain. I cant afford the extra $15+/month for dvr so I cant tape everything I want like I used to. A tech did tell me if you used a splitter you could tape one and watch another on the local channels (2-13 I think) but can anyone tell me how to set up the splitter and where can I get one?