Recording Digital TV – Help and Advice

Got a digital TV service like Freeview, Sky, Virgin, BT Vision or Freesat, and need help recording TV? Here, you’ll find help and advice on how record digital TV.

Freeview LogoRecording Freeview – The Options:

Sky Digital LogoRecording Sky – The Options:

  • Get aSky+ or Sky+HD recorder – record hours of Sky with no tape
  • Connect a Sky box to a DVD Recorder or Video recorder – How to do it
  • Record on a PC or Mac computer – Sky TV on a PC

Virgin Media LogoRecording Virgin Cable – The Options:

BT Vision LogoRecording BT Vision – The Options:

  • The BT Vision box is a hard disc recorder that lets you record hours of TV already
  • Connect your BT Vision box to a DVD Recorder or Video recorder – How to do it
  • Record onto a PC or Mac computer – BT Vision on a PC

Freesat LogoRecording Freesat – The Options:

  • Buy a PVR – A hard-disk recorder that records without tape – Freesat Boxes
  • Connect a Freesat receiver box to a DVD Recorder or Video recorder – How to do it
  • Connect a Freesat-enabled TV-set to a DVD Recorder or Video recorder – How to do it
  • Record on a PC or Mac computer – Satellite TV on a PC

 

Generic Set-top BoxConnecting a set-top box to a DVD / Video Recorder

How to record from your Freeview, Sky, Virgin, Freesat or BT Vision box:

You need to do two things:

  1. Make sure you have connected correctly (either using a SCART lead, or an aerial lead)
  2. Make sure the recorder is tuned in correctly to record from the box

A SCART plugConnecting via SCART

Connecting via SCART is the better of the two options. Here’s what to do:

  1. Connect a SCART lead from the output SCART socket on the set-top box to the input SCART socket on your DVD / Video recorder.
  2. Make sure you have a connection from the recorder to the TV (SCART if possible)
  3. Set your TV so that it can see the output of your DVD / Video recorder (as if you were watching a recorded programme
  4. Line In iconSet your video/DVD recorder to the SCART input using the recorder’s remote control – this may be labeled “Line In/AUX/AV” feed, and may have an icon like the one pictured to the right. Refer to your recorder’s manual if you’re not sure how to do this
  5. Once you’ve set the recorder to the SCART feed, you should see the output of your Freeview box on your TV via your recorder.

Co-ax plugConnecting via Co-ax / Aerial / RF Cable

If you want to record the output of your Freeview box onto your video/DVD not using a SCART lead, your set-top box must be capable of generating a “modulated output“. This means it creates a TV channel that you can tune your video into (just like a normal TV channel).

Note 1: The majority of basic Freeview and Freesat boxes don’t have the ability to modulate their signal. Sky and BT Vision boxes do modulate.

Note 2: Your recorder must be able to record an analogue signal via aerial – most VCRs will do this, but newer digital-only DVD recorders may not.

If your box definitely has a modulated output, do the following:

  1. Find out what RF channel number your uses. This will be a number between 21 and 68 UHF. Look through the on-screen menus for an RF Out option, or check the manual. See below for an example. (Sky RF Help , BT Vision RF Help).
    Panasonic TUCT20 tuning screen
  2. Connect a co-ax aerial lead from the set-top box RF aerial Out to the RF aerial In on the recorder
  3. Now, on the recorder, tune a spare TV channel to the box output number (21 to 68 UHF) – refer to your recorder manual if you’re not sure how to tune in a channel.
  • Can’t find the channel? If you’re trying to assign your Freeview set top box to an RF channel on your video/DVD recorder, and the video recorder can’t find the signal – it’s most likely that your Freeview box only has an “RF loopthrough” and not an “RF modulator“. In other words, the two aerial sockets provided on the box are to allow the TV aerial feed to pass through your set top box, so that your recorder and TV can see the five main TV channels. The box isn’t re-transmitting it’s output onto a TV channel that the video recorder can use.
    If this is the case, you’ll need to connect the STB to the recorder using the SCART socket, and pick up Freeview via the video/DVD recorder “Line In/AUX” feed. Alternatively, you can consider getting an RF modulator box that plugs between a Freeview box and a video recorder, providing a modulated signal.
  • If you definitely have a set-top box with a modulator (see our box guide) and still can’t tune your recorder into the output of the Freeview box, it could be that the RF modulator is turned off. Check your on-screen menu and find the RF Output setting. If it’s on, try changing the setting to a different channel number, as another TV channel or video recorder may be clashing. If in doubt, refer to your user manual for details of enabling and changing the RF output settings.

 

Digital TV SetRecording onto DVD / Video from a Digital TV

In some cases, it’s possible to record directly from a TV that has a built-in Freeview or Freesat receiver, but there are often complications:

  • Not all TV sets allow you to record via their SCART sockets, as the SCART sockets are used as Inputs, not Outputs. Check the manual to see if your TV set allows you to record from its built-in tuner
  • Most digital TV sets don’t let you record one channel while you watch a different channel, which can be limiting.
  • Many TV sets must be switched on (not in Standby) for you to record, which is not always practical.
  • Some TVs give you the option to record either analogue or digital, and you have to make a choice – there may be a menu option in one of the TV’s setup screens that lets you select whether the TV sends analogue or digital to the SCART socket(s)

Your best bet is to check the TV’s manual – it’s bound to have something about how to record onto video/DVD. If you still have no joy, try contacting the manufacturer of your TV to check whether it’s possible to record Freeview with your model.

If your TV does not support recording, or you find the limitations listed above, to be a problem. then the best option is consider buying a cheap set-top box (£30) just to connect to your recorder. This will allow you to record one digital channel while watching another.

If your TV does support recording via SCART, here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect a SCART lead from the output SCART socket on your TV to the input SCART socket on your DVD / Video recorder.
  2. Line In iconSet your video/DVD recorder to the SCART input using the recorder’s remote control – this may be labeled “Line In/AUX/AV” feed, and may have an icon like the one pictured to the right. Refer to your recorder’s manual if you’re not sure how to do this.

 

Other Links:

One comment

  • Neil Murgatroyd

    I have a freeview dvd recorder that has only one scart socket how do i link my tv sky hd box and dvd recorder any help would be appreciated with thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.