I should begin by saying I am slightly better than a novice technically. I have tried to search, read manuals, etc. and it is all confusing. So I thought I would just put out my particular situation to see if anyone can help. We have a Panasonic DMR-ES35V DVD/VCR recorder. We have a Charter Cable DVR/set top box. We just bought an HDTV - Samsung PN51F5500. We are now using the DVR for almost all recording, but we do have DVDs and some Videotapes we would like to be able to watch. My question is, how to do the hook-ups. Of course, the DVD/VCR does not come with HDMI connections. I am assuming I don't want to run the video from the cable input through the DVD/VCR and then to the TV (the usual connection) since it is an HDTV. I am assuming something would be lost. How do I do the connections?
Also, I want to add an older receiver (Panasonic SA-HE100) to the system as well. Should I ask about that in a different forum?
You'll want to run your DVRs HDMI output direct to your HDTV, this is how you'll be watching your DVR in HD. You'll also want to run your DVRs composite(or better yet S-video output if it has it) and L&R audio to your ES-35v's line input. This is how you'll be able to archive things off your DVR to DVD. You probably won't be using the RF input or tuner on your ES-35v, everything will be recorded from it's line input. As far as watching DVDs or VHS, you'll want to run the component output of your Panasonic to your TVs component input. Also note when setting up a recording you want to initially view through the Panasonic, that way you'll know exactly what your Panasonic is recording, after this you could view from your DVRs HDMI output for better quality.
AFA your receiver, if it has the ability to decode Dolby surround you'll want to run the digital audio output of your Panasonic to your receiver, this will be for when playing your Panasonic to be able to hear them in 5.1 surround, you may also want to run the digital audio output of your DVR to your receiver, this will be for surround when playing your DVR.
jjeff - I thank you for your very helpful response including presenting the info in a way I could follow! What you are describing makes sense to me. I need to get an S-video cable. Right now I have the less effective composite cables. I have also not used the digital audio cables before. I do have questions there. The receiver has three spots - Digital Optical 1, (CD in), 2 (TV in) and 3 (DVD in). I assume I connect the ES35V to the DVD in and the DVR to the TV in? Also, are there varieties in digital optical audio cables or if the cable has that as the description will it work? Is there a particular brand or model you would recommend? Ellen
It doesn't really matter what input you use on your receiver, they will either be a optical input or coax(looks like yellow video cable but usually better quality). Generally devices will only output one type or the other, they are similar in quality. AFA where to get cables, I'd suggest Monoprice.com who are a forum sponsor, generally have good quality cables and most importantly are very reasonably priced. I've ordered many cables from them(including coax and optical audio cables) and they work very well. I'm assuming your receiver doesn't have a HDMI input, like mine as it's a older unit.
Before you order a S-video cable you might want to verify your DVR has a S-video output, S-video is getting pretty rare and I'd be surprised if a newer model has it, most only have the slightly inferior composite for a SD output.