Saturday, May 02, 2009

How to connect Set Top Box

Connecting Set-Top box to TV and VHS/DVD Player
There are 3 hardware that need to be connected here.
i) TV set (analog, non-digital)
ii) Set top box (for receiving digital TV stations onto non-digital TV)
iii) VHS Recorder / DVD player combo.

Requirements - what we want:
i) To be able to view non-digital TV stations
ii) To be able to view digital tv stations
iii) To be able to use VHS recorder player to record both digital and non-digital stations.
iv) To be able to play DVD.

I am writing here to share my experience after I bought the set top box. I already had the TV and the VHS/DVD unit before. Basically, on top of the old functionalities, I wanted to view Digital TV as well as record it after I bought the set top box.

The connections are very simple once I figured it out - but initially, the instructions did not make much sense. Here is the KEY - the TV as well as the VHS/DVD units have multiple inputs for video signal known as AV1, AV2, etc. Once I understood this, everything became easy.

Connection TYpe: We will be using the 3 plug (RCA) Composite cables.
Red and White are for audio, Yellow is for the Video signal.

TV aerial:
i) Connect Wall Antenna to set top box (IN) with one TV cable.
ii) Connect the set top box (OUT) to the VHS/DVD unit (IN) with a second TV cable.

This is like chaining the antenna from wall to set top box to video recorder.

Set top box to VHS/DVD: connect this together via the composite cable (red-white-yellow plugs) from the output of the set top box to AV1 (input) of the VHS/DVD unit.

VHS/DVD to TV: Use a second set of composite cable to connect from the VHS/DVD unit (OUT) to an input on the TV set (eg another AV1).

What's Happening? Essentially the analog TV signal first goes to the set top box which converts to analog signal. From the set top box, the raw analog TV signal (analog TV channels) is re-transferred to the VHS player. The composite cable from set top box to VHS unit carries the digital TV channels.

Since the VHS/DVD player now has both analog and digital tv stations, the key to access both is that:
i) analog channels are accessed by switching the channels on the VHS/DVD unit.
ii) digiatal channels require the VHS/DVD unit to use AV1 or AV2 depending on which port you plug the 3 cables to the unit.
iii) the VHS can record both analog and digital channels.

VHS/DVD to TV: This requires one connection only using the 3plug composite cable. The signal from the VHS/DVD unit (OUT) to the TV (IN AV1, or IN AV2) can carry both analog and digital channels. So both analog and digital channels are available. Note that the AV1 or AV2 here belongs to the TV, and is different to the AV1 of the VHS/DVD unit. We must select AV1, or AV2, in order to get the signals from the VHS/DVD player.

Operating the Remote Controls
There are 3 remote controls, let's call them:
RC-STB for Set Top Box
RC-TV for analog TV

The operation described works for the specific connections that I have described above. If you choose different connections, eg using AV2 instead of AV1, then you have to operate the Remote Control accordingly.

1. Switch on TV, DVD/VHS and Set Top Box in any order
2. Use RC-TV to select the TV's AV1 - never change this again.
3. For viewing or recording Digital TV signals (analog and digital from Set Top Box),
- use RC-DVD and select VHS in the VHS/DVD option buttons
- use RC-DVD and select A1 (stands for AV1)
- use RC-STB to flip through the digital channels and/or record to VHS tape.
4. For viewing or recording Analog TV signals (raw analog signal)
- use RC-DVD and flip through 1,2,3, etc..... and view and/or record to VHS tape.
- no need to use RC-STB at all here.


watcher05 said...


I've tried what you said but how do you actually tune the digital channels in. All I'm getting are the analogue coming back through.

thanks heaps

Elkanah said...

Hi Wacther05,

I need to know the steps you take to switch on your devices to the stage when you watch your TV. Please list step by step, from when ALL DEVICES are switched off, then describe in order which one you switch on, and what button on which control you pressed.

I'm suspecting either the digital signal did not get to the VHS/DVD or the TV. Or another possibility is that the AV1, AV2 (depending on which you connect) was not selected when you tried to view the digital channels.

watcher05 said...

Thanks for your quick reply. I will report back as soon as possible but I’m in Lismore NSW and we are experiencing some horrific weather at the moment with possible flooding. After this passes I will go through the steps you have described.

Thanks heaps – Lyall

watcher05 said...

Thanks for your quick reply. I will report back as soon as possible but I’m in Lismore NSW and we are experiencing some horrific weather at the moment with possible flooding. After this passes I will go through the steps you have described.

Thanks heaps – Lyall

watcher05 said...

Do I have to tune the digital signals in. I've read what you've done and have done it a couple of times but still get only the analogue signals.

Elkanah said...

Hi Watcher05,

If you get analogue signals, maybe you are not using your AV1 or AV2.
Here's another way to think about it. With your TV, you have Remote Control A (call it rcA). With your Set Top box, you will have a anoter Remote Control, say rcB.

For now, let's forget about VHS or DVD players. Focus on only TV and set top box. If you have connected Set Top box to AV1, then use rcA to select AV1, by now you should see blank screen or no analogue signals. Then use rcB and flick the channels. If this is the first time, then YES, you need to go to menu to SCAN the digital channels. After that, use rcB to flick through digital channels.

Len said...

Thank you so much! This absolutely works for my system and I'm eternally grateful! I had followed the instructions in my various manuals, but it didn't work - I found your blog, followed your instructions and bingo! Thanks again!

Gray Matter(s)....or does it? said...

reading your comments, can you tell me if the video output of both DVD and the settop box will be coming on the AV1 or will i have to configure say, the DVD on AV1 and the stb on AV2?

Elkanah said...

Hi Gray Matter,
Thanks for your comment. I'll try to provide some more clarification here.
Firstly, we connect the output (OUT) of one device to the input (AV1, AV2 or AV3) of another device. The key to understand is that the AV1,2,3 are the inputs.

Secondly, in this question in particular, we connect the output of the Set Top box to the input of the DVD/VHS. So the connection is:
from Set Top Box (OUT) to DVD/VHS (AV1)

You can choose AV2, AV3 if they are not used already too.

Thirdly, we connect the DVD/VHS to the analog TV set as:
from DVD/VHS (OUT) to TV (AV1)

Notice that it is OUT on the DVD/VHS (not its AV1) that gets connected.
Also notice that the AV1 on the TV set is what you choose, it is does not need to be AV1 just because in the previous step, the signal goes into the DVD/VHS via AV1.

Also don't forget to connect the TV aerial cable from the wall to the Set Top Box (RF IN) and then a second TV aeriel cable from the Set Top Box (RF OUT) to the DVD/VHS (RF IN).

Please read the blog again as I am adding a section on how to operate the Remote Control - not easy at first sight.

S said...

Could you include instructions to also connect an Austar Pay TV decoder to this setup? Thanks.

Elkanah said...

Hello S,

I'm sorry I can't help since I do not have access to a Austar Pay TV hardware. However I tried a quick search using google with these words in one line:
connect austar paytv

Please have a look at those links, and if you find an answer perhaps you can share it here with other readers....


heather said...

This seems much more simple than other instructions.....However, how to set up just the TV (analogue) with a set top box to get digital and analogue? No DVD. WIll one set of cords (with the 3 lines in/out) be enough, or does this require 2 sets? Which would actually be an impossibility given the TV only has the one set of points...And the aerial- into the Set Top Box, then is another required between the TV and Box? I would have thought the STB acts as a conduit but don't know....

Elkanah said...

Hello Heather,

Thanks for the question. What you are requesting sounds simple enough - maybe this is what most people do already. But I admit I have not tried leaving out the VHS/DVD.

I think your suggestion sounds right. I'll just mention the steps I would take here (similar to yours) but I have not tested this.

1. Antenna - Connect the antenna from the wall (external) to the STB (IN). Then connect the STB (OUT) to the TV (IN) antenna ports.

The reasoning is that the digital part of the signal gets dealt with by the STB, while the rest of the signal (analogue) can still go to the TV.

2. Audio/Video cables. This can be the 3 cord cable described previously. Connect this set from STB to the TV (maybe the AV1 port).

3. To Operate. Use your TV remote to flick channels. These channels will be analogue. But press the AV1 button on your TV remote, then this is the door way to the Digital channels. While the TV is switched to AV1, use your STB remote to flick between digital channels.

Hope this works. Love to hear from you again if this actually works.....