Why did vhs/dvd recorders need a tuner anyway? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-19-2013, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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This is a question about old tech, something I never did understand.

Back in the day vhs and dvd recorders included a tuner. The OTA antenna cable connected to the vhs/dvd recorder, then an output from
the recorder went to the tv. To change channels, you used the recorder's remote to do the channel changing.

Why was this necessary? Why couldn't the broadcast signal be picked up from the tv - displayed on the tv - then sent to the recorder?

Can anyone explain?
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-19-2013, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben2000 View Post

This is a question about old tech, something I never did understand.

Back in the day vhs and dvd recorders included a tuner. The OTA antenna cable connected to the vhs/dvd recorder, then an output from
the recorder went to the tv. To change channels, you used the recorder's remote to do the channel changing.

Why was this necessary? Why couldn't the broadcast signal be picked up from the tv - displayed on the tv - then sent to the recorder?

Can anyone explain?

Very few TVs had "monitor out" connections that could feed a recordable video signal to a recorder.

We have two such TVs in our household, circa 2003/2005 CRT models.

The first photo shows a portion of the rear panel of a 2005 Sony. Notice the "monitor out" connections at the top center in the photo. I could never get a recordable video signal from the Sony.



The second photo shows the rear panel of a circa 2003 Samsung. Notice the "monitor out" connections are found in the top row. Once in a while I recorded from those connections. The Samsung had to be powered on and tuned to the desired channel (or input) during recording.


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post #3 of 7 Old 02-20-2013, 12:20 AM
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Another reason for the tuner in the VCR is that you could record one program with its tuner, and tune in a different channel to watch on your TV, with the TV tuner. That was SOP for me, back then.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-20-2013, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben2000 View Post

This is a question about old tech, something I never did understand.

Back in the day vhs and dvd recorders included a tuner. The OTA antenna cable connected to the vhs/dvd recorder, then an output from
the recorder went to the tv. To change channels, you used the recorder's remote to do the channel changing.
Why was this necessary?
That's only if you had the Rf modulator in the VCR turned on which would then broadcast its output on channel 3 or 4 to your TV (you know that TV/Video button on the VCR remote) -- there was no reason to watch live TV through the VCR and use the VCR's tuner. The RF connection to the TV was necessary because VCR's originated in the days before TV's had composite inputs. The only way to hook the VCR up was to run the Rf output into the antenna input of the TV. Technology advanced; TV's came with composite inputs and VCR's were made with composite outputs. But VCR's always included the legacy RF modulator because it was expected in the product and many people still used that method to hook up their units. Pure DVD recorders by and large dispensed with the Rf modulator.
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Why couldn't the broadcast signal be picked up from the tv - displayed on the tv - then sent to the recorder?
As DigaDo noted, few TV's came with monitor out jacks. But even so, why would you want to do that. Such a connection means you could only record what was playing on the TV -- while the TV was on -- making your TV into an expensive STB. You could not independently schedule the VCR to make unattended recording(s) and you could not watch one channel on the TV while the VCR was recording another.

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post #5 of 7 Old 02-20-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post


The first photo shows a portion of the rear panel of a 2005 Sony. Notice the "monitor out" connections at the top center in the photo. I could never get a recordable video signal from the Sony.

Neither do I.
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

As DigaDo noted, few TV's came with monitor out jacks. But even so, why would you want to do that. Such a connection means you could only record what was playing on the TV -- while the TV was on -- making your TV into an expensive STB. You could not independently schedule the VCR to make unattended recording(s) and you could not watch one channel on the TV while the VCR was recording another.

I agree, maybe he was thinking in use his TV tuner to feed the VCR, since these were more reliable with weak analog signals.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-25-2013, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, your answers make sense, and I learned something today. Thanks for the help.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-26-2013, 07:53 AM
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Yeah, back in the day, people either wanted to record while they were out (and leave the TV off) or record a channel while they watched another. Comparatively few watched the channel while they were recording it (usually sports events or significant historical broadcasts), and even then they were content to let the VCR tune.

There were a few cheapo VCRs that didn't have tuners; I briefly owned one. DVD recorders without tuners were somewhat more common. Those were primarily intended for use with a cable or satellite box, or a dubbing project, rather than a TV with monitor out. Though there's no reason why you couldn't have a TV tuning setup with those, if it's what you wanted.

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