Connecting Magnavox HDD/DVR, Vizio HD TV AV Receiver - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-20-2010, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Please help me to properly connect these components as I'm having a devil of a time with Magnavox support. Here are my components:
1. Onkyo 7.1 HTS5300 AV Receiver
2. Vizio LCD HDTV with 2 HDMI ports
3. Magnavox MDR-513H HDD/DVD Recorder
4. Time Warner internet - NOT HD and do not have set top box so its only a coax cable coming from the wall.

This was how I originally had it connected:
1. Time Warner coax cable connected directly to the TV.
2. AV receiver connected to Vizio TV with HDMI cable in TV's HDMI port 1 (note: a digital optical cable also connects AV receiver and TV)
3. AV receiver connected to Magnavox HDD/DVR Recorder with HDMI cable
4. Composite yellow video cable from AV receiver to back of TV (Onkyo diagram said this was necessary to watch videos played back on TV?)

My problem was that when I recorded a TV show to the HDD, only "snow" displayed on playback. I called Magnavox and they told me I had to change 2 things:

1. connect the Time Warner coax cable directly from the wall to the HDD/DVR rather than to the TV
2. Instead of connecting the HDD/DVR directly to the AV receiver via HDMI cable, they said to connect it to the HDMI 2 port on the TV.

I was told things had to be connected this way as this is the only way the HDD/DVR would know what channel to record. Using this configuration, I was able to record and playback a TV show taped to the HDD.

Here is the problem. When the Time Warner cable was connected directly into the TV and watched analog/digital channels, my picture was exceptionally clear. Now that I have the Time Warner coax cable directly connected to the HDD/DVR, the TV shows displaying on my TV screen as a result of first running through the HDD/DVR are not the same high quality even though I have an HDMI cable from the HDD/DVR to the HDMI 2 port on the TV. I have no idea why this is happening as I should have the same quality due to the HDMI connection.

Is there a better way to hook up these three components? I want to be able to:
1. be able to record one show while watching another
2. want to be able to take advantage of the great sound system the Onkyo provides including DTS and Dolby surround sound.

Any insight you can give would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-20-2010, 04:01 PM
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Put a coax splitter before everything else and let one half go from the wall to the TV and the other half go from the wall to the Magnavox recorder.

The recorder's lesser picture quality is probably because it's downscaling the signal to 480i resolution (which a DVD recorder is using) and then upscaling it back to your TV's resolution. Unfortunately, that's the way it goes with a DVD recorder.

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post #3 of 5 Old 12-20-2010, 05:27 PM
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Yes, unfortunately you have to fiddle with all this gear until you find a compromise that works for you most of the time. Large screen LCD displays and DVD recorders go together like pickles and ice cream: the result is generally "blecch" .

The problem lies in DVD recorders being tied to the standard-def 480i spec, so the minute you patch one into your system you blow the High Def all to hell. I found this to be the single most annoying consequence of the move from CRT televisions to LCD: in the old days, you just patched your cable or antenna thru your VCR or DVD recorder, and nothing changed on the TV quality-wise. For years, my preferred hookup was to monitor everything on my Trinitron thru the recorder, so I could freely alternate between watching a recording or a live signal. With a flat screen, you can't do that: they stink on ice at displaying standard def passed thru a recorder. You end up having to screw with switches and splitters, as Tulpa said, so that you can flip the TV feed over to the HD source (antenna or cable) when you aren't specifically intent on watching a recording.

I agree this is really irritating. One would think by now the recorder mfrs could have figured out how to put an automatic relay on the output connections, that would sense when the recorder was simply stopped. It should switch to full HD passthru signal when nothing is happening, but drop back to 480i when you start the recorder doing anything (display a menu, play a recording, etc.). Admittedly this would be tough to engineer with any reliability: our new TVs have a hard enough time locking onto a primary signal, never mind one that switches resolutions on the fly. Still, it would make DVD recorders much more attractive and compatible...

Anyway Tulpa's splitter suggestion is the way to go if you are getting hi-def cable service off the bare wire without a decoder box. One line goes directly to the TV as before, while the other goes to the Magnavox. The Magnavox HDMI should connect to whatever your setup requires: usually to the TV, but some setups loop the HDMI thru the a/v receiver to the TV. When you want to watch live TV in HD, switch the TV input to RF. When you want to watch a recording, switch it to HDMI. Sooner or later, your cable company will pull the plug on your "boxless" service and force a box on you. When that happens, you get to rewire everything again. Oh, joy.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-20-2010, 06:56 PM
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The only splitter you need is between the cable modem and the 515. From the 515 go coax to the TV. The TV should have a digital RCA out and the 515 has one also. Hook both of these up to the respective digital hookups on the Onkyo. This will be all the sound hookup you need.

Hook up the HDMI out from the 515 to the Vizio. Your TV will have it's own tuner and to watch the 515, you just choose the HDMI input that it is hooked to. You may have to play around with the scanning for the channels, but the 515 should scan everything that your TV currently does.

Using the HDMI through the Onkyo is only if you have more Units with HDMI out than your TV can handle. Your TV has two HDMI in, so you are set in that area. You should always go from any unit straight to the TV if at all possible. The digital RCA (sound) out from your tv to the Onkyo will always allow you to hear what you are watching on the tv.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-21-2010, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
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First and foremost, thanks to all that responded. Definitely makes sense. I do have another connection question though and will start a new thread.
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