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Panasonic DMR-EH75 connection help  

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
First of all a big thanks to everyone here ... this is my first DVR and I've been watching this forum for about 6 months. I've just bought the EH75 as it seemed the best for my needs. Mainly, I wanted to get to a HDD recorder, as I was sick of recording shows to the VCR. Very clumsy. I don't do heavy recording - mainly to record something (football game, TV show, etc.) that I know I won't have time to watch all the way through when it's originally broadcast.

Being able to do it to an HDD, plus potentially do chase play (very good for when I know I'll miss the beginning of the game but can start watching partway through), and then with the EH75 to be able to easily transfer old video tapes to DVD made it a good choice for me. The TVGOS was not critical, but I like the idea, so I want to use it if I can.

I spent several hours connecting everything up, and I have to say I'm not too comfortable with the 'logistics' of using it. Pardon the long post, but here's what I'm struggling with:

My system has an AV receiver, with 5.1 surround. Before the EH75 was installed, my setup had the cable box, a VCR, and a DVD player. Basically, the AV receiver did all the switching, and the TV literally had one wire going into it: an S-video cable from the AV receiver. So, I would press TV on the remote, and it would show whatever the set-top-box channel was showing. If I switched to DVD, it would show whatever DVD was playing. Ditto for VCR.

Everything was independent of everything else. I could be watching a DVD, switch over to TV while it continued to play, and switch back. I could be recording something on the VCR, and switch to TV and watch whatever I liked, since I had split the cable from the wall to go directly into the VCR and directly into the STB.

Now it seems that the 'design point' of the EH75 is that it sits in the middle of the STB and the TV and it controls everything. In my simple mind, I had assumed that by and large, it would just take the place of the VCR in the overall scheme of things, and that everything else would remain the same. My plan was that I would remove the VCR and the prior DVD player from the whole setup, and let the EH75 replace those two components. I presumed I would still be able to watch a DVD or a VHS tape if it were recording to the HDD. I presumed I would be able to watch anything on TV I wished without disturbing any recording to the HDD.

One thing I can tell that I hate already is changing channels on the STB via the EH75. It pulses the signal through the IR blaster to change the STB. Much too slow for me. The way I watch TV is to set the channel to whatever, then scroll the on-screen channel info using the STB capability (small banner across the bottom of the screen with pgm info, scroll fwd/backward in time on each channel, get short or extended program information), and then if desired, tune to the channel that is currently displayed on the bottom of the screen. So I really don't want to manipulate the channels using the EH75.

I also see that it seems that, to be able to have independence of the EH75 recording one thing and then watching anything else, the idea is to jump the TV itself to 'Input 2' and watch TV channels via a separate cable feed. I can't do that as the sound/video all route through my AV receiver - so the image would not match the sound... not a good solution for me.

Hopefully I've missed something fundamental, and I can recover all the independent functionality I once had. I 'get' the idea of having the IR blaster control the STB so that the EH75 can download the TVGOS info, so I am okay with leaving the STB on so the EH75 can do what it needs to when in standby. I also understand that I need to have the EH75 on when watching TV so that it doesn't start to change the channel on the STB. It does seem a little odd to me, though- my old VCR could automatically set the time and automatically record any channel off the STB without any IR blaster, and all with my still having the ability to change channels and watch whatever I liked without impacting the recording. The EH75 seems to be a more brute force method and less technically advanced than my 5+ year old VCR in that regard.

Apologies again for the long post. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

Scott
post #2 of 28
If you think about it, the DVD Recorder replacing the VCR part of your thinking was right. But not the DVD Player.

When you were recording something on the VCR, you had the same problems, I'm assuming the output of the STB went into the VCR, you couldn't watch something else from the STB. The VCR never controlled the STB (again I'm assuming), so if you take that part out of your new setup, you will be back to that kind of situation. Only the fact that the DVD Player is now integral to the DVD Recorder, and therefore is not as independant as it was when it was separate, causes you to not be able to switch between STB and DVD Player when the DVD Recorder is in use. Put the DVD Player back into the setup and that shortcoming will have also been reversed.

A second output from the STB might also alleviate some of the shortcomings you perceive, that second output could feed straight to your A/V Receiver (assuming you have leftover inputs) and allow watching the STB output directly, in case the DVD Recorder is busy dubbing something (for example), and you would change channels just like you used to. To do this with no second output from the STB means you will need a Distribution Amplifier to split the one output into two, won't be cheap ($100 or so for a decent one).

I think the biggest source of problem is the DVD Recorder changing channels on the STB. This is probably needed for unattended recording of channels only the STB can tune (digital/premium). But how did you do it before you had the DVD Recorder? Your VCR didn't control the STB did it? So it may be a case of "something lost but something gained" unless I am not understanding your setup completely.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkart
A second output from the STB might also alleviate some of the shortcomings you perceive, that second output could feed straight to your A/V Receiver (assuming you have leftover inputs) and allow watching the STB output directly, in case the DVD Recorder is busy dubbing something (for example), and you would change channels just like you used to. To do this with no second output from the STB means you will need a Distribution Amplifier to split the one output into two, won't be cheap ($100 or so for a decent one).


Bob, thanks ... you've given me more to think about. In addition, I called Panasonic today, and asked them specifically how to configure the connections when using an AV receiver. I was told some things that make me think differently about how I've connected everything. One thing that is different is that I thought I HAD to have the IR blaster there to allow the TVGOS to work. I was told that was not the case. I was also told to take the cable out of the wall to the STB and then to the EH75. That is contrary to the wiring diagrams that came with the unit, which has the cable out of the wall going to the EH75, then to the STB, then out of the STB and back to the EH75. By simplifying that connection, I can go back to taking the cable out of the STB to the EH75, as well as a separate feed out of the STB to the TV inputs on my AV Receiver. I think that will address that aspect of things quite well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkart
I think the biggest source of problem is the DVD Recorder changing channels on the STB. This is probably needed for unattended recording of channels only the STB can tune (digital/premium). But how did you do it before you had the DVD Recorder? Your VCR didn't control the STB did it? So it may be a case of "something lost but something gained" unless I am not understanding your setup completely.
With the 'old' way, the VCR would go through a configuration process of setting up all the channels it could sense off the feed from the STB. Then I could just choose that channel to record and it would 'listen' to that channel. So I'm a bit puzzled on this piece, but I think I can experiment a little to see what I find. I am going to remove the IR Blaster and see what limitations, if any, I have.

In addition, Panasonic confirmed for me that I use the STB to change the channels being watched on TV - which makes me wonder even further just exactly WHY the IR blaster is needed at all. I had presumed it was required for TVGOS (the manual seems to say that) but that's not the case according to the call I made today. And if it's not needed for that, then perhaps only as a 'usability' item, to allow you to just command the EH75 and allow it to do the work - but again not the case according to the call. More experimentation is definitely in order ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkart
If you think about it, the DVD Recorder replacing the VCR part of your thinking was right. But not the DVD Player.

When you were recording something on the VCR, you had the same problems, I'm assuming the output of the STB went into the VCR, you couldn't watch something else from the STB. The VCR never controlled the STB (again I'm assuming), so if you take that part out of your new setup, you will be back to that kind of situation. Only the fact that the DVD Player is now integral to the DVD Recorder, and therefore is not as independant as it was when it was separate, causes you to not be able to switch between STB and DVD Player when the DVD Recorder is in use. Put the DVD Player back into the setup and that shortcoming will have also been reversed.
I seem to think I could change the STB and watch whatever I wished on TV even while the VCR was recording from a different channel. But your logic makes sense. I can't say for certain at the moment. And also a fair point about the 'independence' of the DVD Player. I was conceptually thinking of it as 3 separate items, bundled into one, but still logically independent. So I was hoping to be able to record to the HDD while simultaneously watching a DVD. Perhaps I do need to add back in the original DVD player ...

Thanks a bunch - I have to say at least I feel a lot more like I have some options now .... I wasn't feeling that great after all that work to do the connections with my new toy because it seemed like I was losing a lot. Time to do some more testing!

Scott
post #4 of 28
Sounds like the VCR received a cable feed, and there were some channels it could tune without needing the STB (analog/nonpremium, typically channels below 100). So you could record them withut tying up the STB, although since the STB's output went through the VCR, you still couldn't watch the STB's output while recording something else on the VCR. The DVD Recorder will do that also, send it cable and it will be able to tune analog channels, and you can record them independant of the STB. Then with a second STB output you can watch the STB while the DVD Recorder is recording something else. That cable feed to the DVD Recorder will also (most likely) eliminate the need to use the STB for it's TVGOS information, as long as one of the channels it can tune contain the TVGOS information (typically a PBS station).
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Definitely a breakthrough in viewing the EH75 as a replacement for the VCR ... I re-cabled everything and the setup makes much more sense to me. I ditched the IR blaster completely. You're right, the VCR previously received a direct cable feed and was able to get all the analog/nonpremium channels. That covers about 99.9% of the things I ever would want to record off the TV, so that works fine. One thing I am pretty sure I had also done (although I didn't pay close enough attention when I unhooked the VCR) was to also feed a video output from the STB to another input on the VCR and also take the L/R audio feed out of the AV receiver back to the VCR on the same input as the STB video out. That way I would have both the analog cable feed which would be completely independent of the STB, AND a STB feed that WAS dependent on what channel the STB was tuned to.

As I recall (I used the capability so infrequently) I would have to tell the VCR at the time of setting up the recording schedule to record from the 'other' input to get the STB data. But as I said, 99.9% of the time, the analog feed was sufficient for what I wanted to record.
I haven't tried this yet with the EH75 but I may experiment. This to me is a more elegant solution than the IR blaster approach.

Also, I am pretty sure that the new setup is correctly getting info from the TVGOS. I will need to let it sit a little longer to confirm that, as well as also experimenting with scheduled recordings to see that it performs properly. Presuming it does, there are two key learnings here: contrary to the documentation with the EH75, 1) you do not need the IR blaster, but the tradeoff is ability to receive "clear" channels versus "scrambled", and 2) the cable feed to the EH75 does not need to go through the STB first.
post #6 of 28
You've made good progress.

Next thing you know, you'll be advising other people how to set up their equipment!
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
I can only dream ....

I'd be nowhere if you hadn't re-shaped my thinking. Thanks for the help.
post #8 of 28
Glad I could help.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by InVinoVeritas
Also, I am pretty sure that the new setup is correctly getting info from the TVGOS. I will need to let it sit a little longer to confirm that, as well as also experimenting with scheduled recordings to see that it performs properly. Presuming it does, there are two key learnings here: contrary to the documentation with the EH75, 1) you do not need the IR blaster, but the tradeoff is ability to receive "clear" channels versus "scrambled", and 2) the cable feed to the EH75 does not need to go through the STB first.

For the record, in case this is helpful to save others the learning curve .... the TVGOS is working just fine. Scheduled recording works fine. Listings are being added okay. All the channels look like they are in the right order. I've seen reports by lots of others having trouble with this kind of thing.
post #10 of 28
InVinoVeritas, I wonder if you could answer this for me as i have just bought the EH75 myself. Without the IR blaster does the EH75 change the channels on your STB or do you have to leave it on the channel to be recorded? Seems to me the blaster would be needed for that but im wondering if that works for you without the IR blaster. Thanks
post #11 of 28
Without the IR blaster, you have to manually set your STB to the channel you want to record. This is the way I normally use it.

I have the IR blaster moved out of the way, because it resets my STB whenever it looks for the TVGOS update or whenever I turn on the EH75. If I'm not at home, I move the IR blaster back into position, so the EH75 can control the STB.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by efjay
InVinoVeritas, I wonder if you could answer this for me as i have just bought the EH75 myself. Without the IR blaster does the EH75 change the channels on your STB or do you have to leave it on the channel to be recorded? Seems to me the blaster would be needed for that but im wondering if that works for you without the IR blaster. Thanks
Depends on how you set up the connections.

If you connect it according to the manual, the STB has to be on the channel being recorded. The IR Blaster will change the STB to the channel you've set it to record, or you can manually change the channel on the STB. As noted in another post, the EH75 will also use the IR blaster to change the channel on the STB to find the station where it can download the TVGOS data. That's why the STB also needs to be powered on all the time, even when not watching TV.

However, I have set mine up so that the cable from the wall is split, and one cable goes into the EH75 and one goes to the STB. My EH75 and STB both separately connect to my AV receiver. The upside of this is that I don't use the IR blaster at all, the EH75 can record whatever channel it wants off the direct cable feed, and it also finds the TVGOS data for its regular channel listing update. The downside is that I can only record 'clear' channels - analog channels lower than channel 100. So far, this is not a limitation for me as I have not had an interest in recording anything above channel 100 yet.
post #13 of 28
Thanks for the replies. It seems the IR blaster would be useful but the constant channel changing is annoying. If I am able to download the TVGOS information i will likely look into splitting the signal between the STB and the EH75 cables.

Somehow i thought the TVGOS was supposed to make things easier, not so far for me.
post #14 of 28
Just leave the EH75 on and it won't be constantly changing the channels trying to find the station with the TVGOS data.

Turn it off at night and it will start looking for the correct channel using the IR Blaster and download the TVGOS data.

Use the TVGOS to record, and the EH75 will use the IR Blaster to change the channel on your cable box or whatever before it starts recording.

All pretty simple.

Unless your channel is not on TVGOS - e.g. TOON on Rogers Digital :mad:
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by riffer
Just leave the EH75 on and it won't be constantly changing the channels trying to find the station with the TVGOS data.

Turn it off at night and it will start looking for the correct channel using the IR Blaster and download the TVGOS data.

Use the TVGOS to record, and the EH75 will use the IR Blaster to change the channel on your cable box or whatever before it starts recording.

All pretty simple.

Unless your channel is not on TVGOS - e.g. TOON on Rogers Digital :mad:

I have already left the EH75 off for 24hrs and it has failed so far to download any TVGOS info and i know when its turned on it doesnt change channels as it searches for TVGOS info. My post was simply looking for confirmation on the IR blaster's role as i try to solve my TVGOS download issue.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by efjay
I have already left the EH75 off for 24hrs and it has failed so far to download any TVGOS info and i know when its turned on it doesnt change channels as it searches for TVGOS info. My post was simply looking for confirmation on the IR blaster's role as i try to solve my TVGOS download issue.
Sorry if I missed it,

Did you leave the STB on and the EH75 off overnight?

What service are you using?

TVGOS sure leaves a lot to be desired. My Brother-in-law in Chicago uses a multimedia computer and some online guide and never has these problems.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by riffer
Sorry if I missed it,

Did you leave the STB on and the EH75 off overnight?

What service are you using?

TVGOS sure leaves a lot to be desired. My Brother-in-law in Chicago uses a multimedia computer and some online guide and never has these problems.
Yes, ive left the STB on and recorder on overnight. I'm using a Directv (Non HD) receiver.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by efjay
Yes, ive left the STB on and recorder on overnight. I'm using a Directv (Non HD) receiver.
I think you meant to say you left the recorder "off" overnight (I hope)?
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by InVinoVeritas
However, I have set mine up so that the cable from the wall is split, and one cable goes into the EH75 and one goes to the STB. My EH75 and STB both separately connect to my AV receiver. The upside of this is that I don't use the IR blaster at all, the EH75 can record whatever channel it wants off the direct cable feed, and it also finds the TVGOS data for its regular channel listing update. The downside is that I can only record 'clear' channels - analog channels lower than channel 100. So far, this is not a limitation for me as I have not had an interest in recording anything above channel 100 yet.
Don't you have S-Vid and line audio outs from your A/V receiver going to your EH75? If so, you can record any higher channel from your STB, by selecting the STB on the receiver, and selecting the line inputs on your EH75. I record that way all the time. Just be sure and leave your receiver switched on, if it's a timer recording. If you have an extra set of line outputs on the EH75, and line ins on your TV, you can connect them directly, and use your PIP to compare source, and recorder, while recording.
post #20 of 28
Sorry again, if I missed it, but did anyone mention that the TVGOS signal has to come in through IN3?

Learning mine a little at a time too - just found out yesterday that the RF Out doesn't output the signal from the unit. I guess it just acts as some sort of pass through for the RF in? Too bad, I used the RF out from my old system to use the TV sound if I didn't want to run my amp and speakers. I suppose I will have to rustle around for a long RCA pair.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by wabjxo
I think you meant to say you left the recorder "off" overnight (I hope)?
Yes, you're right. The recorder is off; its been 24 hours and I checked my TV this morning (but didnt turn on the recorder) and the STB is still cycling through the channels controlled by the IR blaster. Looks to me like it still hasnt found the TVGOS broadcast channel on Directv. When I get home today it will have been downloading for about 36 hours, if it still hasnt worked I guess the conclusion will be it cant find the info via the STB (at least in my case).

@riffer: you're right about the RF output, I wasnt expecting that either and its actually stated in the manual but easily overlooked. As you said it looks like its simply a pass-through for RF signals coming in via the RF input. The manual also stated that you can select RF input if you have the STB connected to this input.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by efjay
...The manual also stated that you can select RF input if you have the STB connected to this input.
Ya, your right.

I was answering someones question about turntables on another forum and couldn't change gears to "Video" when I posted that :confused:
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbawc
Don't you have S-Vid and line audio outs from your A/V receiver going to your EH75? If so, you can record any higher channel from your STB, by selecting the STB on the receiver, and selecting the line inputs on your EH75. I record that way all the time. Just be sure and leave your receiver switched on, if it's a timer recording. If you have an extra set of line outputs on the EH75, and line ins on your TV, you can connect them directly, and use your PIP to compare source, and recorder, while recording.

I need to play with this more ... I believe I had things set up something like this before when I had my VCR set up - I would switch it to Line and then set the STB to the channel I wanted. But I haven't yet replicated this with the EH75. I am not sure a) what I had done before that worked and b) what I'm doing wrong now. And I really haven't invested enough time to really think it through... one of these days! You're giving me the challenge....
post #24 of 28
I too have the same DVD recorder and I am trying to figuure out the optimal setup. I have a Charter HD STB the DVD recorder and the Panny 37" plasma...2006 model.

When I had the non HD box, I ran composite cables from the box to the dvd recorder and it worked fine, but I want to make sure I am getting the best signal possible and in reviewing the back of the DVD recorder, you can only bring ina s-video connection fromn the STB...My question is will this limit the HD content when it comes back through? Should I go through the box first and then the dvd recorder.

I will be doing some experimenting, but if anyone has any ideas, please pass them along.

Thanks!
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by FenderBender711
My question is will this limit the HD content when it comes back through?
You will only be able to send SD signals (480i) from your STB to the DVD Recorder.
post #26 of 28
Thanks Bob. I went ahead and split the signal as did InVinoVeritas. I think this wil end up working for me. I am still experimenting on whether to accept the feed from the STB back in the DVD recorder or to just stay with the split, but it appears one of these two scenarios will work best.
post #27 of 28
Correct me if im wrong but a splitter will only work with a Cable TV feed and not Directv as D* only transmits their digital signal, right? At this point I dont think the TVGOS will work for me without either a) a Directv receiver upgrade and another 1-2 year contract or b) having an OTA antenna installed, none of which im inclined to do at this time.

At least I should have my HDMI cable today from Monoprice to see what the upconverted picture looks like. :)
post #28 of 28
I got lost in all of the quoting here. I have a HD STB, the DMR-EH75, and a Hitachi 51F510 television.

Is there a way to hook this up so I can record from Comcast On Demand?
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