How to Record on a VCR From DirectTV

By Robert Vaux

Updated February 10, 2017

DirecTV is designed to be used in conjunction with a standard VCR. With it, you can tape programs saved on your DVR to a VHS tape, or simply record programs directly from the satellite signal itself. It's just as easy as recording programs on a cable box or with a regular TV antenna. You simply need to make sure the various pieces of equipment are connected to each other properly and that both the DirecTV box and the VCR are set to the proper time.

Check the back of your DirecTV receiver or DVR box. You should see a set of cable jacks labeled "Audio Out" and "Video Out." The "Audio Out" jacks will be labeled red and white, while the "Video Out" jack will be labeled yellow. There will likely be multiple sets of these jacks (at least two). It doesn't matter which ones you use, as long as the ones you use line up in a single row.

Look at the back of your VCR. You should see an identical set of three cable jacks—one white, one red and one yellow—under the labels "Audio In" and "Video In."

Connect the "In" jacks from the VCR to the "Out" jacks on the DVD receiver using a set of RCA A/V cables. The cables are marked by the same colors as the jacks—white, red and yellow. Simply match each cable up with the corresponding color of jack.

Make sure your DirecTV receiver is connected to the satellite cable (usually through the outlet marked "Satellite In") and to the TV (through another set of "Video Out" and "Audio Out" cables, or through an s-video, component video or HDMI connection if you have a higher definition TV).

Turn on the VCR and set it to receive signals from the outlet just connected to the DirecTV receiver, usually by setting it to "Line" or "L1." Once you have it, don't ever change the channel or else you'll lose the signal. Change channels using the DirecTV box and leave the VCR on "Line" or "L1."

If you are recording a program as it is broadcast, set the VCR to record at the time the show is playing. When setting the channel, use "Line" or "L1." Then set the DirecTV system to record the station you want at the time you want. If you are using a lower-end receiver, you may need to leave the receiver on and tune it to the channel you wish to record until the show is finished airing. The show should record to the VCR as normal.

If you are recording a program already saved on a DirecTV DVR, turn the VCR on, place a tape in the drive, and press "Record." Then select the saved show using the Menu option on the DirecTV remote. Allow the show to play through to the end without stopping it, fast forwarding it or rewinding it. (Otherwise, the tape will record your pauses, rewinds or fast forwards.) When it is finished, press "Stop" on the VCR. You can then rewind the tape and watch it as normal.

Items you will need

  • TV set

  • DirecTV receiver or DVR

  • VCR

  • RCA audio/video cables


VCRs are not normally capable of recording programs in high definition. If you want to record an HD program on a VCR, it will still work just fine, but the picture and sound will be of a lower quality than you may be used to.


Turn off all components when hooking your VCR up to the DVD receiver. If you don't, you run the risk of causing a short.