How to Hook Up a VCR to Dish Network

By Chris Moore

Updated February 10, 2017

Hooking up a video cassette recorder to your Dish Network satellite system is easy as long as you know how the broadcast signal is routed. The secret is to connect it so the signal travels from the satellite receiver box through the VCR and then to the TV set. This way, you can watch both the satellite broadcast and any video tape at any time, and you can also record anything on Dish Network onto a video tape. This connection can be made with either coaxial or RCA cables, but coaxial may be the best way to go.

Disconnect the link between the Dish Network receiver box and the TV set. This is especially true if this connection is made with a coaxial cable, which is most likely. Disconnect it at the receiver box's port.

Connect the receiver box to the VCR by linking one of the receivers output ports to a VCR input port. Both devices will have coaxial connections that will work, and this may be the preferred option. If the VCR has RCA input ports, an RCA connection can be used. The VCR's RCA input ports may be located in the front of the machine.

Link the VCR to the TV set. If the TV still has the coaxial cable extending from it (from where you disconnected the receiver box), you can use that same cable. Connect the free end to the output port on the VCR. Plug in the VCR's power cord once you have finished this hook-up.

Set the VCR's channel tuner to the same TV channel that is carrying the satellite TV broadcast signal. This is usually Channel 3. The VCR often has a Line In channel (usually called "L-1") that may have to be used instead.

Turn on the TV and satellite box to make sure you have the right connection. If you don't get the satellite signal, you didn't connect the wires properly. Check the connections on the VCR. The cable connected to the satellite box must be in a VCR port that says "IN." The cable connected to the TV must be in a port that says "OUT."

Turn the VCR completely onto test the signal. This involves two buttons - the Power button and the "TV/Video" button. If you still get the satellite broadcast, everything is fine. If you get a blue screen or something similar, the VCR isn't set to the right channel.

Items you will need

  • TV set

  • Dish Network system with receiver box

  • Video cassette recorder

  • Coaxial and/or RCA video cables


If you have the right cable connections but get a blue screen when the VCR is on, you can still play a cassette tape on the TV with no problem. However, you cannot record anything on Dish Network unless you tune the VCR to the correct channel.