How to Record Cable TV to a VCR

by Chris Moore

Cable television and video cassette recorders became popular at nearly the same time, so they have been going hand in hand for years. While the use of analog tape is dropping in favor of digital recording, VCRs can still be an easy method of recording. Hooking up a VCR to record a cable TV broadcast is a quick and simple process. Programming one can be easier with the help of an expert-anyone born in the 70s or 80s.

Connect the cable output to the VCR's input. Unscrew the coaxial cable that is connected to the port in back of the TV set. If you use a descrambler box, this cable is linked to the box's output port; if not, it's the cable coming out from the wall. Connect this cable to the VCR coaxial port labeled "IN."

Use an extra coaxial cable to connect the VCR to the TV set. Attach one end to the VCR port labeled "OUT" and the other end to the now open port in back of the TV. You won't need a very long cable for this.

Plug the VCR into the nearest wall socket. Set the VCR's channel to whatever TV channel the cable is set to broadcast on (it is usually channel 3). Set the VCR clock to the current time if you plan on recording with the timer, using the "Menu" button on the remote control.

Tune the cable TV to the channel you want to record from. This will either be on the descrambler box if you use one or the TV set itself if it receives the signal directly.

Insert a cassette into the VCR. A cassette must have its write protect tab attached, which is located on the left side of the cassette front. If this tab has been removed, tape over the hole it left behind with adhesive tape.

Record a show manually in person using the buttons on the VCR box or the remote control. You may have to push both the "Play" and "Record" buttons together to start recording.

Set the timer to record something if you won't be there in person. The remote's "Menu" button should bring up an on screen "Timer Set" option. This option will give you step-by-step instructions (each VCR is different) for setting the start time, stop time and channel for recording. Once set, the "Timer" button will activate the timer to record at the designated time period.

Tip

  • The TV set doesn't necessarily have to be turned on for the VCR to record the cable broadcast. This is especially true if the descrambler box is on. If you can leave the TV off while timer recording the cable, you will save a lot of energy.

Warning

  • Sometimes the VCR must be set to a Line Out channel to record instead of the TV set default channel. This channel is often labeled "L-1." This is definitely the case if you're not using a descrambler box. Run a test record to see which VCR channel is right.

About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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