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Can You Still Record Cable Using A DVR?

Jenny in Warren, Michigan listens on AM 800 CKLW and asked about using an old DVR to record cable


Jenny asked: “I have a new Sanyo DVD/VCR Recorder. It transfers VHS to DVD. I want to know if I can record, either onto a VHS or DVD from my Comcast TV. I have a DVR hooked up to that HDTV. “


If Comcast is keeping their analog signal alive in your area, your best bet may be to split the coax cable before it reaches your TV and connect the VCR and your DVR separately. That would allow you to watch TV and record a different channel on the VCR. Having said that, VCRs are obsolete and they don’t work very well with modern TV setups.

VCRs typically don’t have HDMI ports and modern electronics like to use the HDMI standard to know what they’re connected to, that is precisely to make sure that they are not connected to a recording device that could be making an illegal copy of a show or a movie. Unfortunately, these days VCRs are just considered obsolete, so you may need to get used to the idea that you won’t be able to record shows with that VCR forever.

Especially if Comcast isn’t supporting an analog signal in your area, it might come down to what sort of outputs your Comcast DVR supports.

A lot of this depends upon how your AV hardware is set up, though. Especially if Comcast isn’t supporting an analog signal in your area, it might come down to what sort of outputs your Comcast DVR supports. Some of them still offer a coaxial cable connection for non-HDTVs. If your cable DVR box is one of them, you could try connecting to your HDTV using an HDMI cable, while at the same time connecting the coax output to the coax input on your DVD/VCR recorder. It will give you all the output on either channel 3 or 4, and you’ll have to change channels using the cable box. Which means you’re recording strictly by time and not using any kind of programming guide.

And the other problem you’d likely face is: most devices, when they see an active HDMI connection, will disable the other connections, assuming there is no need for them. So you might end up having to unplug the HDTV to force the DVR coax to come active for your DVD/VCR device, and even then you still have to tune with the DVR/cable box.

Honestly? Like we already said, you’re best off just telling yourself no, you can’t record content from your Comcast service on your VCR or DVD recorder.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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