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As stereo sound, RGB picture and widescreen signal is the best possible combination for digital television viewing, it is vital to use a SCART lead between any set-top box and the main television.
The composite video picture with stereo sound is the best combination for a VHS video recorder. If your set-top box has two SCART sockets, it is likely that the one marked TV will carry RGB picture information and the other will not.
If your television has more than one SCART input, you may need to choose a special one (marked RGB) if you want to use RGB from the SCART cable.
On most set-top boxes it is possible to turn the RGB output on and off. This can be used to test the RGB input function on the television ? the picture quality appears blurred when it is disabled.
If have a DVD player, rather than a VHS recorder, you can attach this to the set-top boxes second SCART connector. The signal from the set-top box will normally be overridden by the DVD player when it is on, usually in high-quality RGB.
Some very cheap SCART cables do not have all the pins connected. They may not provide RGB and widescreen picture signals. SCART cables are normally no more than three metres in length.
The UHF lead is a lead that you would traditionally associate with television signals. They can carry:
up to 45 (but normally only five) analogue television channels
You can't avoid these cables if you are going to use Freeview, as these cables are the only ones that you can use to distribute Freeview signals around the house.
Where you have an integrated digital television (an idTV) you just need to get the signal from the aerial to the television with one of these cables.
If you are using a Freeview set-top box, you will need to get the signal from the aerial to the set-top box using this aerial lead, but for best results connect the TV to the box with a SCART cable.
You can also use a UHF lead to connect a set-top box to a television somewhere in the house. Your set-top box will require a RF (radio frequency) modulator. Note that "RF passthough" is another way of saying there is no modulator. You will be able to "tune" the second television into the picture showing on the set-top box.
Some boxes (all Sky boxes) have the ability to connect a remote control receiver to the second TV end of the interconnecting cable, so you can change channels.
The set-top boxes, whilst providing a reasonable quality picture to the second TV, will always provide only mono sound via a UHF lead.
The step-change in picture quality obtained by switching to RGB on a SCART is far greater than any obtained though spending any more on a gold-plated SCART cable.
Satellite or cable TV cable
These cables are usually very stiff, and have a very basic screw connector on the end. Usually they will provide an unbroken link to the satellitedish. At the dish end they plug into the device on the end of the arm, the LNB.
Don't try to disconnect these cables when the set-top box is on. Usually there is a small voltage that will cause dangerous sparks.
If the cable connects to a satellite dish, there is not much you can do with the cable. Each receiver in the set-top box needs it's own wire to the LNB. With a personal video recorder (such as Sky+), or a multi-room installations there are two cables to the four-output LNB on the dish. If you want more rooms, each will require it's own cable.
If the cable is providing cable TV, then it is possible to use inexpensive "Y connectors" to link the incoming signal to various set-top boxes, cable modems, or - via an adaptor - directly to the back of a TV.
Composite video cable
This is the most simple and basic video connection you can get. It carries:
a single picture from a set-top box
The picture will be in colour, and of comparable quality to a analogue broadcast station. However, there is no sound. For that reason this cable is often found joined to a stereo audio cable.
These signals are quite robust and can be carried for many metres. Often modern television sets have a single yellow photo input on their front input panel.
You also use an identical cable to carry digital stereo (SPDIF) sound.
Stereo audio cable
These cables carry the left and right channels of sound on two joined cables. They are usually required when a SCART cable is not being used, as the SCART cable already carries stereo sound.
If you are connecting your set-top box to an external stereo system, a separate stereo audio is used.
There is no real practicable limit to the length of these cables, but excessive length will degrade the quality of the signal.
The S-video standard is not well supported by most UK digital TV boxes, and very few have a S-video socket. If you need one for a particular analogue camcorder, use it, but avoid S-video with digital television. If you are using what appears to be a monochrome picture from a SCART lead, it will certainly by an incomplete S-Video signal and you should change to the RGB input.
This is the cable you will use to connect a computer to a old style monitor, and some modern LCD screen too. Most modern LCD TVs will have a VGA input too.
If you want to connect a set-top box to a LCD monitor, you can buy a conversion box from around 60. However this will not result in a better picture than using an existing SCART socket if there is one.
The only way to get higher than normal television resolution is to use a VGA in conjunction with a personal computer or modern games console.
If you want to get the very best out of a television or monitor use a digital video interconnect (DVI) cable.
This will be the only way for most televisions and monitors to receive high-definition pictures from a computer, and some set-top boxes.
If you can use either a VGA cable or a DVI cable, choose the DVI option.
If you want to get the very best out of a television use a HDMI cable.
This will be the only way for most televisions to receive high-definition pictures from set-top boxes.
Your comments are always welcome. Please use the form below to add your thoughts or questions to this page. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
jb38 Monday 4 March 2013 11:00PM
jill: It would be of assistance to anyone giving advice on your query if you mentioned exactly the type of monitor you are referring to, that being the brand and model of, this likewise applying to the type of Virgin box you have.
Jim: Many modern TV's only have one scart socket because they are usually fitted with one or more HDMI inputs, however if your Skybox is of the standard variety and your DVD does not have an upscaling feature then neither will have HDMI sockets, albeit of course that TV will if its an HD or "HD ready" type.
That said, exactly what you will require to purchase (leads / scart selector box wise) depends on what you intend to record from onto the VHS recorder as well as the DVD, further advice dependant on answer.
Jim - I sell TV's part time, and legacy equipment is one of out biggest bugbears.
As JB38 points out, check that your existing equipment had HDMI's (DVD recorders often do), and whether you will be upgrading to SkyHD or Freesat(which of course uses HDMI). VCR's are now obsolete, and I would generally advise people to think 5 years ahead, not 5 years behind. You can get switchers, convertors, etc, but they are often a pain, and the cost is often not much less than a cheap Blu-Ray player, etc.
I have the Humax PVR-9300T conncected to an old analogue tv via a scartcable and am about to purchase a new Samsung digital freeview tv with an hdmi connector.
My questions are, once connected to the Samsung via hdmi should I include a splitter into my aerial cable to feed both the tv and the pvr to get freeview on both independently, and enable me to still record programmes via both tuners on the pvr whilst watching a third programme via the tv freeview tuner?
Norrie: You should be able to daisy-chain the PVR; that is, put the incoming aerial lead into the PVR and then connect the PVR aerial out to the Samsung TV. Or, of course, you may be able to use a splitter and turn off the RF passthrough on the PVR which means that the PVR no longer supplies a signal from the aerial out (because you're not using it).
Norrie - I hate to disagree with Dave, but thats exactly how I have my system set up, and frankly, it makes life a lot easier.
My Sony recorder has never taken well to being passed through to my freeviewbox/CRT TV, and a decent spliiter (my original was free from the ariel guy, but £5.99 from Maplin should be fine, the same is even less online) and a second ariel lead is all you should need, and set them up as you suggested - simply put the splitter into the wall and attach the two leads to the TV and the recorder.
In fact one of the Samsung reps made up one for me from F connectors (he was a former TV engineer and said that F connectors are far better than normal leads anyway), and it works very well. The power of the Freeview signal went up tenfold following switchover, and splitting makes no difference to the quality of my signal, but does help in solving any reception issues, because you can isolate a possible problem very quickly, and I can use two seperate tuners.
The Humax is very good (simply pop in the HDMI cable and take away the scart), as are the current Samsungs, but I suspect that now you are able to watch HD, recording will be your next target, and the Humax YouView had proved to be very popular. That said, if you bought a 5 series Samsung upwards, the TV smart functions now allow catchup from all four channels.
I admit this method might not be 'offical', but it seems to work.
Norrie: And just to add to that said, success when using a non-powered splitter is totally dependant on whether or not you reside in a good signal area as splitters of that nature always have a slight attenuating effect on the signal, and should this happen resulting in picture glitching etc, then a powered type has to be used as they provide each of the output sockets with exactly the same level of signal.
Norrie I'd go with Dave first. A short aerial lead is all you need to daisy chain and then you can see if it works with the PVR switched on and watching an HD channel on the TV at the same time. If everything works problem solved. If not then a simple splitter may well not work either and you may need an amplifier as well. In the days before analogue switch off I found that a daisy chained DVD recorder and HD ready TV worked fine on a single output from my aerial amplifier but when I bought a TV with an HD tuner I had to run a separate cable for the TV to be able to watch HD progs on the TV at the same time as the DVD recorder was switched on. Of course the digitalsignal is now stronger so you may well find daisy chaining works.
In theory, passing a freeviewsignal through another bit of equipment basically does much the same thing as using a seperate splitter. Either way, provided you've got a decent signal, you should be OK, but looping through is recommended by the manual and is a little neater. My splitter has a 4Db loss.
However, curious as to what the reality would be I actually did a test in the name of science. I looked at the strength of the signal on my cheap Goodmans digibox with my present setup - around 70% on strength and excellent quality, so fine. I then unplugged the Digibox from the splitter, and connected it into the digitaloutput from the Sony PVR. Admittedly the lead I used was a decent but cheapish flylead rather than the high rated coax its usually connected to, but the picture seemed no different.
When I looked at the signal strength on the Digibox, I was surprised that the strength had fallen to about 60-65% - still OK but the bar was now a slightly sickly green/brown rather than the full green before. This is hardly conclusive (might try with proper coax), but I did put the original setup back!
My best suggestion would be 'whatever works' - but use the best connections you can from the ariel to your equipment - spend slightly more on good coax and you'll get a better signal.
If you go to 7 Day Shop, you can get very decent 1.4 HDMI cables for £3.99 or less each (cheaper still with a multi-deal),and that should be fine. Instead of spending a fortune on HDMI's, spending £3-12 on a decent flylead (and any other analouge connects) will be money well spent.
MikeB: Regarding the issue of signal level differences being seen on a TV between when its aerial has been connected directly into it compared to that after having passed via a loop through facility such as on a PVR or HDD recorder, because although obviously some of these thin lower cost jumper leads can lead to odd problems being experienced, however in most cases these differences in levels are not being caused by this but by the circuitry associated with the loop through sockets, and with the reason being as follows.
In most PVR or HDD recorders or indeed any device with a loop through socket facility, the signal path from the aerial input socket does not pass in an electrical fashion directly over to the output socket but goes through a transistor buffer stage located between the input and output sockets, this being the reason why that any device that is being looped through has always to be kept powered (a few exceptions exist) because if it isn't then the signal to the TV or anything else on the end of the loop through will either drop or vanish altogether when the buffer stage transistor loses its power supply, although in real life situations a really strong signal might still partially break through resulting in a somewhat glitchy picture being seen, whereas when feeding an analogue TV all it usually resulted in was to witness the picture fading into a grainy background and not vanishing altogether due to the fact that analogue reception is not subject to minimum threshold cut off levels.
Obviously this loop through problem was thought about in the design of more recent boxes incorporating "power management" or "power save" options, this being the reason for allowing the user the choice of switching the system off, the latter being advisable so as not to miss any software updates that might be in the offering.
By the way, the reason for the buffer stage was basically for purposes of isolating the box or whatever from being interfered with by anything connected into its output socket, such as a lead containing a short circuit.
Alan - it does not matter if the TV or the Humax is connected to the internet.
I suspect that as long as you put the HDMI from the Humax into an HDMI input on the TV and have the PVR switched on, you can select that input (the TV will automatcially select the internal tuner first) by using the 'source' button on the Samsung remote. Check the manual first, and then check the HDMI cable/inputs are working.
Lisa Vanderstreaten Thursday 11 April 2013 10:36AM
Hi, Im trying to connect my freeview tv to my dvd-vcr but it wont tape anything from freeview. It plays both videos and dvds if I switch the input on the tv to half scary av2, but how can I record from freeview? Please help!
Lisa Vanderstreaten: When your DVD-VCR recording set menu is being viewed on the TV make sure that AV1 is selected as the "source input" otherwise it will try to record from its own internal tuner, this being the default setting.
By the way you may have to do this each time you want to record, because when the recorder is turned off it will revert back to its internal tuner.
Linda Vanderstreaten In addition to JB38's advice you may also need to set something on your TV to tell it to output from one of the AV SCART sockets. I know I have done this on my Sony KDL32EX503 TV but I'm not at home at the moment and the TV has a stupid cut down instruction manual - you have to click on "I manual" on the remote to read the instructions on the screen - & I can't remember the details! Its not very practical in use because you have to have the TV switched on on the channel you want to record for it to work
MikeB, jb38 and Neil Bell, thank you all for replying, Ive been at my wits end trying to make this work.
Mike- the vcr has a tuner in it. Do I still have to reattach it and the tv to the freeviewbox or will the coaxial cable be enough? And which SCART socket do I use?
Jb38 I tried all the input channels, the only one the picture from the video and dvds showed up on was half_scart av2.
Neil Bell I have no idea how to do that, I dont have the manual.
Sorry if I sound really stupid!
Lisa Vanderstreaten: Well its not really selecting an input "channel" as such but telling the DVD - VCR to use the AV2 "input socket" for recording.
However if your recorder also has a "Freeview" tuner and not analogue (which was assumed applied) then there is not really any point in trying to record from your TV as the programmes are the same, and so you will require the aerial to be connected into recorder as well as the TV.
As far as the scart is concerned, you now only require one scart connection between the AV1 on the recorder and likewise on the TV.
Lisa Vanderstreaten: By the way as your location is not known its not possible to assess the signal level you are liable to be receiving, but if you find that by the aerial being used to feed the TV and the recorder results in the picture glitching when it didnt before, then you will have to purchase a powered two way splitter to overcome this problem, the aerial going into the common input and with each of the two outputs being fed into the TV and DVD-VCR respectively.
Lisa Vanderstreaten: Thanks for the update, the service manual for same indicating that your DVD-VCR does NOT have a Freeview tuner and so please ignore that said in my last posting.
The situation is now as I had first mentioned (5.09PM posting) insomuch that to make sure when you intend to record a programme via the TV that AV1 is selected on the recorder using the "input sel" button on the remote control (second down under 9) as that will make sure that the recording is made from the TV and not the recorders internal tuner, this now being completely redundant as analogue no longer exists.
Needless to say you do not require an aerial to be connected into the recorder, only the TV.
You do though require a fully connected (thick type) of scartcable to be used between the TV's AV1 and the recorders AV1 so that the signal can pass from the TV to the recorder, should it allow it! (once again model number would confirm)
That said though, I am inclined to agree with MikeB insomuch that you would be far better purchasing a Freeview PVR of the brand(s) suggested by MikeB, although my preference is towards Humax for PVR's, Panasonic for TV's.
Jb38 hi its a Bush DV3 not sure which is the model number, either DTV 20070917 or IDLCD26TV16HD. If I put the scart lead in the av1 socket theres no freeviewpicture so do I have to retune it again? Or just forget about taping things at all?
Lisa I think your TV is switching to the input from the DVD recorder automatically when you plug the SCARTcable in. You need to switch the TV back to "TV" whilst leaving the DVD recorder switched on then follow JB38's advice.
Lisa Vanderstreaten: The Freeviewpicture vanishing when you insert the scart into the TV's AV1 is normal "if" the recorder is switched on whilst you do it, as you recover the Freeview picture by pressing the DTV or maybe "D" button on the TV's remote control.
Although its whilst it has cut out the TV's picture that you select AVI on the recorder "input select" button referred to, because should you be using a fully connected scart cable and your TV is able to output its video signal via its AV1 scart socket, then you should be able to see the Freeview picture via the recorder by having done that, i.e: as the signal would loop through it.
Havent as yet managed to check the manual though, as your TV might NOT have that
joyce: You simply connect the two devices together using a scart lead from the VHS machines AV1 to the DVD recorders AV2 input ensuring that AV2 is selected as the input using the DVD recorders "input select" (or "source") button on the remote control, although if neither is seen on the control it will likely be accessed via the DVD's recording menu, it having been of somewhat assistance if you had provided the model number of the DVD recorder in question.
All said being on the assumption that your DVD recorders AV1 socket is connected into the TV's AV1.
Ray123: Either cable will do as they are identical. You only need to run a new (third) cable from the dish LNB to your tv if you wish to continue using the Sky+box, as the Sky box requires two feeds (and a current Sky subscription) to maintain full functionality.
Ray123: The TV only requires one input because its not capable of recording, any satellite (and only satellite) device that enables you to record one channel whilst viewing another is always fitted with twin tuners hence the requirement for two inputs.
By the way the LNB2 input on a Skybox is mainly used for recording purposes, normal viewing being via the LNB1 input.