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Anyone a home theater know-it-all?(13 posts)

Anyone a home theater know-it-all?moneyman
Dec 26, 2003 10:33 AM
I received an all-in-one home theater (HT) for Christmas. It sounds great and I am very happy with it. I am a bit of an ignoramus when it comes to wiring it for what I want it to do, however. Hence my question.

I have a digital cable box, a VCR and the HT/DVD. How do I wire it so that:

1. I can get the great sound from the HT to work with the VCR and the cable?

2. I can still record stuff on the VCR from the cable?

The HT has two RCA video/audio inputs, one RCA video output and one SVideo output. The VCR has two RCA video/audio inputs and one RCA video/audio output, as well as RF 75 ohm input/output. The cable box has RF 75 ohm output and two RCA audio ouputs.

If you know how to do this and can share it with me, I would really appreciate it. If you know of a website that has diagrams, I would appreciate that as well.


Think it through and you'll be finepitt83
Dec 26, 2003 3:22 PM
It's a "goesinta" and goesoutt" problem. You have many options, unfortunately. Depends on what you want to do.

How I would set it up:
The RF75 is your source. Split that: one out into the VCR, the other to cable box. You're done with that.

Cable box: Do you have video (yellow) or S-Video out?

If yes, send that, preferably S-Video, and the audio to the HT.
If no, use RF75 out to TV and audio to the HT (We'll synch these later)

HT: Does it have S-video in? If so, always use S-video first.

VCR: Use audio and video out to HT.

HT: Use S-video out to TV and audio out to TV.

The tricky part now is knowing how to set up the inputs in the configurations. Be careful aand keep track. Most of this will be on the HT config and your TV should simply be a monitor.

Look at the info or the DTV page at They have good diagrams there.

that's about it.rufus
Dec 26, 2003 9:43 PM
run the 75 ohm cable into your cable box, then split it from the output, one to the tv, the other to the vcr. this way, you can use the vcr's tuner to record shows on basic cable while watching something else. unfortunately, if you want to record something that the box needs to decode(hbo, etc), you'll have to watch it at the same time.

send the vcr's rca audio/video to the home theater. also, as he said, if there are rca's or s-video outputs from the cable box, skip the rf out and run those to the home theater, and then the s-video and rca audio from the home theater out to the tv. if the cable box doesn't have the extra outputs, then you are stuck running the other 75 ohm from the cable box direct to the tv.

then all you have to do is switch inputs between the vcr and the cable box, depending on what you wanted to watch.
Got it. Thank you.moneyman
Dec 27, 2003 4:40 AM
after a day of pondering, it made sense and I figured it out before I read the responses to my pleas. RF goes from CATV to VCR so I can record stuff from the unscrambled signal. RF goes from VCR to TV and RCA video/audio out from VCR to HT aux 1. CATV has RCA audio out that goes to HT aux 2. S video from HT to TV. The problem I had was I thought the TV would switch from VCR/CATV to HT automatically. There is a switch on the TV that changes it from TV to one of two video inputs. I switched and now I can watch Private Ryan (VHS), O Brother Where Art Though (DVD), or Sports Center with great sound. Its awesome! I highly recommend it.

Thanks for your help. It is appreciated.

i screwed up earlier.rufus
Dec 27, 2003 11:28 AM
the way i described it, you'd still be stuck recording only the channel you were watching. and by your wiring description, i believe that is still the case?

i'm also puzzled by your description of how you can watch tv by switching the inputs to the tv. i'm assuming since the cable box signal is routed through the vcr, you just choose "TV", "DVD" or "video" on the home theater. so you switched the input on the tv from the RF in to the s-video/rca audio inputs?

can you get an upgraded cable box from your cable company? my box has rca and s-video outputs. so i split the rf cable before the cable box, running one into the vcr and the other into the cable box. the signals out from the cable box are rca audio/video which i also split, one set into the vcr rca inputs, the other into my home theater reciever. this way, i can use the vcr's tuner to record basic cable channels while watching something else on tv. if i wanted to record a pay channel, i just switch the vcr inputs to "line-in" instead of tuner, but then i have to watch the channel i'm recording.
Here's what happened -moneyman
Dec 29, 2003 8:34 AM
You're right - I can only record the channel I am watching. This is no big deal, however, as the only thing I record is the Tour deFrance in July. Even then, I could not record it from the VCR tuner because OLN is a scrambled channel. If I split the signal before the converter, I could no longer record the scrambled channels.

I don't switch the inputs to the TV. There is a switch inside the TV that is activated by the remote in choosing one of three modes: TV, line one or line two. I can watch CATV or the VCR on the TV setting, as the RF connector feeds video/audio from the converter to the VCR to the TV. I can watch the DVD from line two, as the TV and the DVD are connected by an S video cable.

So I have the VCR and the CATV connected to the HT using RCA jacks. TV is connected to the HT using S video. TV is connected to VCR which is connected to converter using RF. End result is I can run everything or nothing through the HT. It's great. Thanks for your help.

right. that's what i meant about switching inputs. nmrufus
Dec 29, 2003 8:57 AM
Doug, can you please move this to . .js5280
Dec 27, 2003 9:27 PM
;-) Just kidding!

Merry Christmas Matt et. al.
Listen here, palmoneyman
Dec 29, 2003 8:23 AM
Actually, I went to a place much like that for home theater geeks. If you think we're geeky about bikes, you ought to hear those folks discuss different types of audio and video cables.

Back at you, John. Hope 2004 sees your continuing employment AND good health!

didn't it come with a manual? (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 29, 2003 8:30 AM
Of course it did.moneyman
Dec 29, 2003 9:05 AM
It just didn't make sense to me. Funny, but in one of the product reviews I read, the reviewer said he had a hard time understanding the instructions, but after thinking about it he figured it out. I did the same thing.

didn't it come with a manual? that's a laugh :-)innergel
Dec 29, 2003 11:52 AM
Try reading and understanding a manual originally written in Japanese, by a Japanese AV geek, and then translated into English by the lowest cost translation company. With the myriad of optional ways to hook this stuff up, it's nearly impossible to write something that's comprehensive and easy to use.

We do a lot of translations of our stuff for our foreign offices, so I'm familiar with the problems of the subtleties of language translations. It always cracks me up to read an English-language manual that was translated from a primary language that was different. Our friends from Scandinavia are particularly guilty. Don't believe me? Try and decipher your Polar HRM to figure out how the recovery mode works.

All that being said, AV stuff is pretty logical to hook up. I always use the analogy of a plumbing system when trying to explain it. Start where your main signal comes from, just like the city water, and distribute from there. That seems to work for most people.
Most of then have pictograms these daysColnagoFE
Dec 29, 2003 12:21 PM
Can't count on the words to convey the meaning anymore--that's for sure. Most user manuals are awful. You can generally follow the pictograms though for most manuals. Funny aside...we got our 2 year old a copy of Chutes and Ladders for Xmas and unknowingly got the Spanish instructions version. Good thing the game is pretty simple to play as I don't know much more than resort Spanish.