Lost in a digital world

  Billyoh 12:05 05 Sep 2007

Lost in a digital world

I have recently purchased a new sony TV and Sony DVD recorder, RDR-HXD870.
It is all set up and the TV is great. I can play prerecorded DVD discs but am lost when it comes to recording from the TV onto the hard disc of the recorder, I can't eve see how to get programs listed on the EPG screen only BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4 are listed as available, no ITV. Still there are no individual programs listed.
Is there some sort of book "Idiots Guide" or somesuch that could help me to learn to use the recording facility?
You could make an elderly couple happy if you could help.

  holme 12:47 05 Sep 2007

" ...when it comes to recording from the TV... "

I'm rather confused by that, can you expand?

The DVD recorder has it's own inbuilt digital TV tuner, and recordings can be made directly from that. So I'm usure why you would wish to record from the TV instead. Or am I mis-reading something?

"I can't eve see how to get programs listed on the EPG screen"

If you are referring to the DVD recorder's EPG, then the usual reason for digital TV channels not appearing is that the signal strength from the terrestrial TV aerial is inadequate. Are you not getting any of the other Freeview channels such as BBC4, CBBC, News 24, etc?

If you're getting only BBC1/BBC2/Chan 4, that suggests you're seriously short of signal strength. In the first place, can I suggest you attempt to re-run the auto-tuning facility and see if anything else comes up.

Let us know how you get on and we'll try to assist further. HTH.

  Billyoh 13:29 05 Sep 2007

Thanks for the response. I do have Sky Freesat, and watch most programs via that as the terrestrial signal where I live is notoriously poor. I was hoping we could watch one programme on satellite TV whilst recording another. Is that not possible?

  holme 13:56 05 Sep 2007

Ah, a significantly different situation...

So presumably you rarely watch /terrestrial/ TV programmes on the TV, only Sky satellite progs?

If that's the case, as I'm sure you know, you cannot record one Sky programme while watching another Sky programme 'live' (i.e. as it's being broadcast).

However, you could record one Sky programme whilst, simutaneously, watching another Sky programme which you had previously recorded. Does that do it for you?

Which EPG are you talking about - the Sky box or the DVD recorder EPG?

If you have terrestrial TV signal strength probs, then recording digital channels using the DVD recorder's internal digital tuner is unlikely to be a rewarding experience. But even if it were OK, watching Sky while recording from the internal tuner significantly affects the cabling/switching arrangements. It's certainly possible, but rather more complex.

Does that assist? If not, please give as much info as you can as it's a devil to sort out complex needs without knowing the full 'picture'.

  Billyoh 14:30 05 Sep 2007

Thank you for your patience, I was under the impression that satellite broadcasts couldn't be recorded.
I have tried to record terestrial broadcasts while watching Satellite without success.
On looking again at the recorder EPG I see that "Last Channel" whatever that is, is grey and blank, BBC1 is green but no titles listed BBC" and channel four are green with programs listed. Does that indicate that there are reception problems?

  holme 15:42 05 Sep 2007

"I was under the impression that satellite broadcasts couldn't be recorded."

Any Sky satellite programme can be recorded. They are not protected in any way. :-)

"I have tried ...(SNIP) Does that indicate that there are reception problems?"

Absolutely. These are classic symptoms of inadequate signal strength from your terrestrial TV aerial.

A few words of explanation may assist. If you have an /analogue/ tuner (say, in your TV), and when you go through the set-up routine, it will store a programme even if the signal-to-noise ratio is lousy. And when you view it, the picture will (probably) be 'snowy' and the sound 'hissy'.

However, if the signal-to-noise ratio is poor, a digital TV picture will appear either very badly 'blocky' or, it it's really bad, no image at all. There are no half-measures. So if the tuner doesn't see a reasonable signal strength during the setup process, it will /not/ store that programme. This is why you are getting a few programmes; the others are simply not good enough to be even stored in the first place. Even the ones which are stored may still appear badly 'blocky' (and the sound may be interrupted) and/or, as you report, will probably not show up sensibly in the recorder's EPG.

If local reception conditions are that bad, you /may/ be able to improve the situation by having your terrestrial TV aerial upgraded for digital, but there is no guarantee of a significant improvement.

However, as you have satisfactory Sky reception, simply select the programme on the Sky box which you wish to record, and then set the DVD recorder to record it, either manually or by using the recorder's timer. The DVD recorder channel selector needs to be set to whichever is the IN SCART socket from the Sky box (I think this is usually A3 on a Sony recorder, but you need to check that with the user-guide).

You can of course watch the programme being recorded, at the same time. Or (as I said before), play back and watch another Sky programme you recorded earlier.

There are many other options and things you might try on a 'suck it and see' basis, but is that OK to be going on with? If you wish to progress with this in more detail, please do let us know. (If you don't feel it's for general consumption in the forum, please feel free to email us with more details via the yellow envelope.) HTH.

  Billyoh 16:39 05 Sep 2007

I have used the PC Advisor forum for PC queries with satisfactory results, but this is the first time for TV/recorder queries.
I never cease to wonder at the knowledge and willingness to impart that knowlege, that is out there.
May I thank you very much indeed for your efforts, I'll see how things go and I may indeed get back to you, but for now thank you a million times.

  holme 16:51 05 Sep 2007

Many thanks for your kind comments! Greatly appreciated.

  oresome 18:37 05 Sep 2007

The RDR-HXD870 has two tuners, an analogue and a digital with two separate aerial inputs.

Ensure you have the aerial plugged into the correct input which will be marked as "digital aerial in".

If you are not receiving many broadcasts, it may be worth rescanning to see if more are picked up. See page 27 of the handbook.

If you can't receive digtal channels you may have to resort to analogue which requires the aerial to be plugged into the other input. See page 18.

  holme 19:01 05 Sep 2007

Interesting info, but why does it have separate aerial sockets for the two tuners? I've never met that before and am having trouble understanding the point of it.

Does it require some sort of aerial splitter from the terrestrial TV aerial? TIA.

  oresome 19:37 05 Sep 2007

Presumably if you can receive digital broadcasts you have no need of the analogue tuner, so only require one or the other of the inputs.

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