Novice: Connection recommendation

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by terrypin, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. terrypin

    terrypin
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    First post here, not a proper 'home cinema' user, and don't have a solid grasp of some of the basics. But hope someone here can advise on what connectons I will need to make for my planned upgrade from Sky box to Sky+ box please.

    My present setup looks like this:

    Scarts:
    SKY TV SCART - TV AV1
    SKY VCR SCART - COMBO AV2

    RF:
    DISH - SKY IN
    AERIAL - COMBO IN
    COMBO OUT - TV IN

    If I replace the Sky box with a Sky+ box, and the combo with a DVD/HDD
    Recorder, what cabling configuration should I use please?

    Happy to provide any other info needed.

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
     
  2. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Hi Terry. Welcome to the forum.

    The convention is to try to make the best of the available outputs in order to give the best watching and copying quality from both sky+ and your DVDR.

    This is normally achieved by using the TV output scart of Sky+ [ as it is the only scart that outputs RGB] and then having a DVDR capable of RGB pass through. [ Most ,except the cheapest or lowest models in the range are capable of this. ]

    Thus normal connections are:
    Sky+ TV scart to AV2 scart of the DVDR , [configured for RGB input]
    AV1 scart of the DVDR [configured for RGB output] to an RGB capable socket of your TV [ Conventionally AV1 ]

    The RF connections would be a simple daisy chain as they are now.
     
  3. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    One further thing to note about Sky+ : Because it is a recorder in its own right, it cannot be scheduled like a conventional sky box to output a signal for recording elsewhere - such as onto your DVDR.

    When scheduled recordings are made , the box gives no output.
    So if you wish to get recordings from sky onto disc, they have to be recorded onto sky+ first .. . and copied later ...in real time.
     
  4. terrypin

    terrypin
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    Many thanks, appreciate the fast reply, Gavtech, that's very helpful - exactly what I needed. Could you amplify on a few points please?

    1) I assume that "configured for RGB input/output" means that's done in the settings menu of the DVD/HDD Recorder?

    2) Does the recording to DVD from Sky+ actually take 'real time', i.e. a 2 hour programme takes 2 hours to burn? I had assumed it would be much faster, like burning movies (typically MPEG) from my PC HD to DVD?

    3) Presumably I would not have to re-configure the Scarts for that subsequent copying stage?

    4) Is it an easy procedure? Handled by the Sky+ or the DVDR menus? (I'm a bit apprehensive, because after the Sky engineer fitted the existing basic Sky box last summer and set up the cables, I was unable to record Sky channels to my VCR combo. The present configuration took me many days of exasperating trial/error until I found workable combination!)

    5) I'm beginning to wonder whether I actually need a DVD with HDD. What advantage would that deliver, given that the Sky+ box records to its own HDD anyway? Note also that I am in a no-Freeview zone, which rules out 'non-Sky' approaches I'd been considering.

    6) This needs a bit of background first. Probably 80% of our viewing is Ch 1-4, with relatively little time in the Sky freesat channels. So our recording to VHS is similar, and (unless the extra Sky channels to which I gather I must subscribe in order to get Sky+ change the mix), I assume my recordings to DVD would be roughly the same. At present I can record Ch 1-4 (can't get 5) from the aerial, rather than via the Sky box, so I can watch a Sky channel while recording say BBC1. (But not the reverse.) Will that remain possible with the DVDR?

    7) Finally (!), I use VideoPlus at present to simplify my VCR recordings. Do most DVD/HDD recorders have that too?

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
     
  5. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Yes.
    It has to be real time I'm afraid.
    If however you get a DVD recorder that incorporates a Hard disc drive [ and I VERY strongly recommend it ] it is possible to transfer recordings you make from the hard disk to DVD at high speed copy rates. You could do this either with recordings you had made off-air via the units internal tuner, or recordings that had been transferred from sky+.
    No. Not necessary. That is the purpose of this configuration. It allows you to watch either sky or the DVD recorders output - or copy from sky to the DVD ALL at the best possible quality. No reconfiguring necessary.
    It is if you follow a few basic rules. To an extent it will depend on what equipment you finally get... But there is always plenty help here to straighten you out if you come unstuck.
    Once it is configured and you've done it once... You should find it easy.
    Even in a non Freeview zone, it probably will not be too long before you will have freeview. Certainly it is to be expected within the lifetime of any machines you buy now. Reach is expected to achieve 98% eventually.
    But that aside, having a hard disc adds great flexibility, and permits editing.
    Hard disk recording is much more reliable than removable disc recording.
    Yes. just as you describe. Note that conventionally, pass-through of the sky signal occurs when the DVDR unit is in standby modes not when the DVDR is on... so if you want to record, say BBC1, whilst watching sky you must use timer recording to do so, because otherwise manual recording is equivalent to an 'ON' mode, and pass-though would not occur under such circumstances
    I don't know if most do. Note that videoplus is an analogue only system. Note also that many DVDR's are now Digital tuner only.
    I recommend that you get one with both an analogue and digital tuner... unless you know for sure that you are always going to be one of that 2% who will never get freeview.
     
  6. Kevo

    Kevo
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    HDD/DVD recorders do allow pass thru whilst ON whilst set to the correct AV input.

    Another option would be to use the spare 'VCR SCART' or s-video socket (if it has one) on the Sky+ box to a spare Scart /s-video socket on the TV and use this as a secondary option if pass thru via the recorder wasn't available (due to recording or dubbing taking place etc). Although the signal would be in composite and therefore not as good as RGB, but better than nothing at all.
     
  7. terrypin

    terrypin
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    Thanks, Kevo. This distinction about RGB v Composite is yet another factor in the mix! It's becoming clear to me that, once I have the Sky+ box and the DVD/HDD, I'm going to have to seek more practical help here to get it working optimally.

    Please also see the further follow-up queries I've raised, prompted by Gavtech's detailed response.

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
     
  8. terrypin

    terrypin
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    Great! Very kind of you to take the trouble to reply so thoroughly, thank you.

    It's gradually becoming clearer, although I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet, install the kit, and work with it before the I truly follow some of the issues. I learn best by doing!

    Studying your last post, have I understood the scope and sequence of operations correctly, as follows:

    1) I can watch any digital channel via my Sky+ box while recording that channel and any other to the Sky+ HD simultaneously. (Sky+ brochure "Record two programmes at once.")

    2) Then I can copy those recordings from the Sky+ box to either:
    - a DVD (slow, real time)
    or
    - the HDD of the DVDR (fast), followed by burning DVD from there (also fast), the combined time being significantly shorter than the first option.

    BTW, I was surprised to learn today when getting quotes on the Sky+ box that I must have it connected to my phone. That's an issue, as getting a phone extension close to the TV won't be a trivial task. Requires several holes drilling, including exterior wall. Is this connection absolutely unavoidable? Could I perhaps use my phone reel extension for installation to satisfy the engineer, but then unplug it, re-connecting occasionally to get any software updates?

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
     
  9. Kevo

    Kevo
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    Yes. The optimum is record two different channels at once and watch a third programme from your planner that you have recorded previously.
    Although this doesn't work too well if you are watching and recording two HD programmes at the same time. The picture tends to stutter.

    Best to copy to the DVD recorder's HDD first (which is also in 'real time' and NOT 'fast') where you can edit out ant excess, ads etc and then fast dub to DVD. There is NO 'fast speed' playback option on the Sky+ stb, regardless of where you are copying it too.
    N.B, DON'T use the Sky+ 'COPY' feature as it currently has a bug where it reverts to 4:3 letterbox rather than 16:9. Best just to play the item direct from your sky planner and copy from there. Shame really, as the 'COPY' feature is useful for 'stacking' multiple progs and copying them all in one go.
    Hopefull Sky will fix this bug soon.

    Best to keep it connected it as it periodically contacts Sky to show it's still connected. If it isn't then Sky will warn you and may start charging you the 'full price'. This is all in the Sky Terms & Conditions.
    Others may tell you different, but it's best to be safe than sorry.
     
  10. terrypin

    terrypin
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    Thanks a lot, Kevo, that's extremely helpful.

    Looks like I'd better get another phone extension then...

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
     

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