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Panasonic DMR EX88 how to connect to home cinema set up help please

macrosse

Standard Member
I hope I am in the right forum, is there a connections forum? :confused:
I have just bought a Panasonic EX88 DVD/HD recorder to replace my old Denon DVD player and would really appreciate help connecting it to my set up the best possible way. I have a normal sky satellite box for UK tv, a cable box for French tv (where I live), an old plasma and a Denon av receiver. I have reviewed the site in detail and can find no similar set up.
To give you details of my connection options I have attached a simplified diagram of my present system and future system, which I have tried, probably unsuccesfully, to make clear.
I would like to:
watch satellite and record cable and vice versa;
watch cable and record different cable channel;
watch satellite and record different satellite channel;
watch dvd and record either satellite or cable (I imagine recording both is probably impossible, but as the 88 also has a tuner you never know).
Having read lots but understood very little.......

Cheers, and congratulations to whoever runs the site it is excellent
 

Attachments

  • Present set up.pdf
    27.6 KB · Views: 218
Last edited:

Gavtech

Administrator
Can you explain further details of the audio links? - which on the diagram have the cable box , satellite, and Denon all linked together with the output[ optical?] from the denon to your 5.1 system
 

macrosse

Standard Member
Knew I'd miss something. :oops: I'll check tonight, but from memory they are all standard white & red to white & red on the Denon AV, as the cable and sat do not have anything other than bog standard audio connections.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
I would like to:
1 - watch satellite and record cable and vice versa;
2 - watch cable and record different cable channel;
3- watch satellite and record different satellite channel;
4 -watch dvd and record either satellite or cable (I imagine recording both is probably impossible, but as the 88 also has a tuner you never know).

Regarding your desirables list above.... 2 and 3 will only be possible if each platform has dual channnel capability. If they are conventional sat and cable boxes , each will only allow one channel to be viewed or recorded at the time.
Can you clarify what you have please.

Also I assume this EX88 is a correctly equipped French version?
Do you have an aerial for this and can you receive digital broadcasts in the locality?


Finally - just a small point - You refer above to the 'EX88 DVD/HD' . To avoid confusion with HD -[ High definition], we encourage the use of the abbreviation HDD for hard disc drive.
 

macrosse

Standard Member
Dear Gavtech,

Thanks for your reply. The ex 88 is an English version & I don't have an aerial for it, (though maybe I should think about getting one) so I presume what they call here TNT (digital tv) reception will be non-existant.
The cable and sky boxes are normal i.e. 1 tuner each. Thanks for pointing out what I had missed completely, I can't watch and record different channels using the same box. Presumably if I were to get an aerial for the EX 88 I could use the inbuilt tuner to record French tv whilst watching another French tv channel through the cable box? Obviously this would always be impossible with the sky box as only 1 tuner & no alternative source. Anyway, I have revised the diagram with all inputs that exist on all machines, with the exception of the speaker wire connections. It all looks horribly complicated to me, I hope it makes sense to someone.
Cheers
 

Attachments

  • Revised Present set up.pdf
    25 KB · Views: 169

Gavtech

Administrator
Can you tell me the suffix of the TV Model number please.

TH-42PWD7?? There are a number of variants.
 

macrosse

Standard Member
Just realised its not 42, I bought the 37 inch version way back in 2005. It is the Panasonic TH-37PW7B (Silver) according to the reference from AV sales email when I got it.
Sorry I didn't give you all the info you needed...I think there is a rs232 connection on the back of the plasma which i didn't signal as well, at least it looks the same as the vga input and is right next to it but i think its actually an rs 232, I have no idea what it is for but I think it is irrelevant for the setup........
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Just realised its not 42, I bought the 37 inch version way back in 2005. It is the Panasonic TH-37PW7B (Silver) according to the reference from AV sales email when I got it.
Sorry I didn't give you all the info you needed...I think there is a rs232 connection on the back of the plasma which i didn't signal as well, at least it looks the same as the vga input and is right next to it but i think its actually an rs 232, I have no idea what it is for but I think it is irrelevant for the setup........

I'm trying to gather exactly what connections are available on the TV.

I gather with these sets that the actual connections available depend on optional retrofits.

For example, you show a scart on the TV... but as yet I have not found a variant of your TV that includes a scart ... which is why I was asking for the suffix... Was it bought in France or UK?

There is also another anomaly on your diagram which may be a limiting factor also: You show the EX88 as having RGB output... which it does not have. It is a component output which is not compatible with an RGB input scart.

Despite that, I think I may have a plan coming together ...which is rather intractably difficult given your specified requirements... and it will involve some compromises which I'll explain later.

But it may help if you can find out the actual TV variant or know of exactly what terminal fittings it has. I take it that it only has one scart?
 

macrosse

Standard Member
The panasonic had no terminal boards as standard, but you could add them on with a choice of 3 maximum. I bought it in the uk (av sales) and they fitted one scart and one component at least that is what i believe they are. The exact references for the terminal boards are TY-42M6A labelled BNC Component Video and the TY42TM6T which is a scart. There is also the VGA and what I think is a rs232 as I don't think I have 2 VGA connections which came with the plasma.
I will upload a new diagram once I get back to work to access the doc but I have realised that I am lying about the camcorder connection it doesn't exist, but I think it is irrelevant anyway as I can connect it to the DVD/HDD recorder eventually.
Sorry about the RGB reference, I got confused thinking RGB and component are the same...:rolleyes:
Whilst I don't have one yet I was thinking of buying a Denon 2309 av to replace the present one if it would alow me to have more connection/recording options but I am not sure it would help, and it won't be for months yet anyway. Maybe what I should do is see about aerial connecting the dvd/HDD but I am not sure reception is any good where I am.....
It's comforting to know that it is complicated and that I am not just being stupid for the setup. Your efforts are really appreciated thanks.
 

macrosse

Standard Member
Updated diagram, hope it opens......
the camcorder actually went through the scart with the scart adapter plug
 

Attachments

  • Revised Present set up v2.pdf
    25.2 KB · Views: 140

Gavtech

Administrator
Yes thanks. This pdf opens ok.

I'll report back later. Hopefully today.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
As mentioned earlier, your requirements make this rather a difficult system to configure.... largely dominated by the problem of having independent access and control of two external signal sources relative to the EX88.

Any configuration is ideally done without using switches, but in this case it would be impossible. The next problem is that any switch for this task requires two outputs.

Not many do, and I have not been able to find any that have two RGB outputs.
Also, any sophisticated electronic switches, for convenience purposes often use auto switching, which would be no good for the purposes here.
You need to be able to reliably route signals and know that the outputs will hold.
Therefore I am proposing a mechanical switch unit.

The switch unit I am proposing was designed, as so many seem to be, for VCR configurations... which means their recording output is composite only, as that is all that VCR's can cope with.

However, that would be no good for this application so I am proposing that this switch unit is configured and used NOT in the way it was designed to be used, so that advantage can be taken of its ability to provide an RGB output.

I also mentioned earlier that a compromise was inevitable at some point.
In this case you will have to compromise on quality on those occasions when you are recording from one of the boxes and want to watch the other. Under those circumstances you will be limited to feeding from the box in composite quality only.
The upside is that your recording from the other box will be in good RGB quality.

The switch box is a fairly commonly available unit comprising of four scart sockets. Ostensibly comprising three input scarts [A, B and C ] with a single output scart.
Inevitably the output scart is meant for the TV, and one of the input scarts [A] is designed to be two way in and out for a recording device.

The unit has two switch banks. The first bank is marked A. B and C respectively, and in conventional use which ever of these you press, you get that source outputted onto the TV screen.

However. in my suggested configuration the [RGB] output of the switch unit [ i.e.from the TV scart socket of the switch] is fed to the EX88 instead of the TV... so the ABC switches act instead as selection of the recording source.
In your case only B or C would be used for cable or sky respectively.
The B and C scarts are capable of passing through RGB through to the TV scart [ In this case EX88 scart]

The secondary switch bank has another 3 switches. One is an RGB switch which is depressed when handling RGB signals [ and should therefore be permanently depressed. ] The other two switches are alternate latching types and will switch either the B source to A ... or the C source to A.

You would use those two switches to select which source you wish to watch [ Via the TV's scart input ] when the other source is tied up recording ... but this is the circumstance when it would be limited to composite quality.

You also have the option of watching whatever is being recorded via a high quality route through the EX88 output...which in the configuration shown on the pdf diagram attached is via your scart/vga adaptor in Config 1 and via Component in config 2.


Attached is a two page pdf with two configurations shown.... varying only by the output method used to connect the EX88 to the TV.
You can choose whichever suits your purposes.


The switching unit is widely available. HERE is one example.
More examples are below. The last two appear to be the same kind of generic switch but in a plastic case which is presumably poorer at screening.

I would also treat as suspect the claim from one of them that it has RGB connections on all three scart inputs. Connections? Probably yes - but routing probably no.

HERE

HERE

HERE

HERE

HERE


Also attached is a pdf with detailed spec of the switch.


Finally the EX88 is linked by an optical lead to your sound system.


One final point. If you are stacking all this equipment I strongly recommend you apply spacers if you can to assist ventilation.
Otherwise heat build up will severely reduce the reliability of your equipment.

[Short sections of plastic drainpipe cut up to uniform short lengths make excellent spacer feet ]
 

Attachments

  • Scart Switcher.pdf
    9.3 KB · Views: 145
  • Macrosse Scart Plan January 2009.pdf
    134.8 KB · Views: 130

macrosse

Standard Member
Wow serious research. It will take me a while to absorb your email, but it sounds like a lot of lateral thinking was required, but your diagrams look amazingly simple to follow and a damn sight clearer than my initial ppt. I can't thank you enough for taking the effort to work this out :clap:
I'll try and hook this up next weekend & let you know how I get on. What's funny is that my dad's old system which he put in place about 15 years ago has a similar mechanical switch unit to the one you mention, looks like I can no longer mock him for having old fashioned manual switches.....
One question, which connection theoretically gives the better picture, using the scart vga converter to the plasma or the component connection? I always understood the vga gave better picture quality but I may well have misunderstood this from some old thread back in 2004 on this forum

Cheers
 

Gavtech

Administrator
One question, which connection theoretically gives the better picture, using the scart vga converter to the plasma or the component connection? I always understood the vga gave better picture quality but I may well have misunderstood this from some old thread back in 2004 on this forum

There is next to nothing in it and there are bound to be circumstantial variables that may make one seem subjectively better than the other, so it is really just a case of using the one you think looks best.

However, there are a couple of operational factors which may make a difference. I had actually written these points as text on Plan No. 2 in the PDF but for some reason I cannot figure the text has not gone in the version I uploaded... even though the file time predates my posting time by 6 minutes.

I am attaching it again here - renamed as V2.
 

Attachments

  • V2 Macrosse Scart Plan January 2009 .pdf
    151.8 KB · Views: 95

macrosse

Standard Member
Gavtech,
Just had another look & I'm not sure I understand the phono bank connections....what is physically connected to the 2 banks? I presume I connect my audio from the cable & sky to the Denon AV as before?
Also just wondering, if the children want to plug in their Wii (your mention of games console made me think of it) what's the easiest way without without disturbing your configuration setup. I don't mind unplugging things manually each time as they don't usually play in the lounge so it wouldn't be very often, maybe it's possible to plug it to the dvd/HDD recorder?
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Gavtech,
Just had another look & I'm not sure I understand the phono bank connections....what is physically connected to the 2 banks? I presume I connect my audio from the cable & sky to the Denon AV as before?
Also just wondering, if the children want to plug in their Wii (your mention of games console made me think of it) what's the easiest way without without disturbing your configuration setup. I don't mind unplugging things manually each time as they don't usually play in the lounge so it wouldn't be very often, maybe it's possible to plug it to the dvd/HDD recorder?

I don't think there will be any need to use the phono's at all.

All sound will be delivered through the scart routes from the skybox and cablebox into the EX88 which then passes it on via optical to the Denon.

I made no mention of a games console ?? :)

What kind of output connection does a Wii games console have?
 

macrosse

Standard Member
Games console was mentioned on your scart switching schematic, in the same text box as the Bank 1&2 description. I know nothing about Wii's so I'll have alook tonight, I think it has USB port (irrelevant for this?) and a scart cable?
Ashamed to admit it, but I didn't realise scart carried the sound as well, I thought it was video only :rolleyes:....I think my present system set up (pre EX 88 install) has all the audio red and whites connected to my Denon as well as the scarts......
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Games console was mentioned on your scart switching schematic, in the same text box as the Bank 1&2 description. I know nothing about Wii's so I'll have alook tonight, I think it has USB port (irrelevant for this?) and a scart cable?
Ashamed to admit it, but I didn't realise scart carried the sound as well, I thought it was video only :rolleyes:....I think my present system set up (pre EX 88 install) has all the audio red and whites connected to my Denon as well as the scarts......

Assuming the Wii connection is scart, then connect it to either the VCR socket of the cable or skybox.
With the box switched off, the signal should be passed straight through to the other scart [ the 'TV Scart' ] of the relevant box and can be routed accordingly.

Yes - USB is irrelevant here.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
I realised you are being misled by the information in the scart switcher tech sheet.

That sheet shows the functioning as it is supposed to be when used in its originally designed sense and not as it is intended to be used in this configuration. I included it only so you could understand the switch's functioning.

To avoid any further confusion here is a PDF showing how the switch is intended to function in your set up.
 

Attachments

  • Macrosse Scart Switch Functioning.pdf
    91.7 KB · Views: 107

macrosse

Standard Member
Thanks,
I guessed as much after looking again at it & saw the reference to "aerial coaxial socket of the tv".
I thought I could use the spare component input on the plasma for the Wii if I get the right Wii component lead for it, and use the proposal 1 set up which doesn't use component.
What is the exact drawback if the RGB pass-through facility of the EX88 cannot be used? does it mean I would be watching in composite?
I hate to think how I would go about programming any of this to my Harmony....
 

Gavtech

Administrator
What is the exact drawback if the RGB pass-through facility of the EX88 cannot be used? does it mean I would be watching in composite?

It remains to be seen whether it will be relevant ... but supposing you were able to use a UHF aerial and could receive the local DVB signals OK...
You may wish to record from those channels on some occasions.

Under those circumstances, you could programme a timer for the recording and then put the EX88 into standby.
In that status, the RGB passthrough would act transparently, as if the EX88 were not there , and you would be able to use your cable or sky box for normal viewing, whilst the EX88 got on with recording internally.

One point of note about this is that the scart/ optical routing of sound would not be available, so you would have to fall back to one of your existing phono routes for sound.


If the above scenario does not arise, then whether or not pass-through occurs is not really relevant as presumably you would tend to have the EX88 ON at all times you would be using the equipment.... so in that sense you could use component if you wished.

So RGB passthrough will only have any relevance if you end up configuring the system to record from the EX88's own tuner... otherwise just ignore the issue.
 
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macrosse

Standard Member
Quick update, though I haven't had time to go into the intricacies of the EX 88 menu completely.
There is a sound problem. I get no sound through the optical from either the Sky or cable box. Either when viewing or recording. I connected the old audio cables to each box and it worked.
I can't get into the settings to choose optical on the EX 88, (presuming that is what I need to do to correct the problem) as it is part of the HDMI menu and it detects there is no hdmi cable so grays out the menu.
The B to A and C to A buttons on the scart switch have no visible effect whatsoever, only the individual B and C buttons change what appears on the screen, I can flick to either Sky or cable, but I understood they were supposed to change the recording source not the viewing? Whatever is pressed B or C is what is recorded, I haven't managed to record anything different to that which is being watched. As a whole, operation is pretty complicated trying to work out which input is needed on the EX 88 and on the Plasma to view/record something. This may all be down to my ignorance or the scart switch I bought. It looks identical to one of those suggested, but what in your description is labelled RGB is marked OFF on mine and when I press it all it does is cut the A to B or A to C buttons, is this what it was supposed to do? I have a doubt.
I won't have time to look further into it for 2 weeks, but will try and be a little more accurate with what combinations of buttons do and don't work either for viewing or recording. My main concern is that the family won't be able to use the system at all. I can't help thinking that I may have to abandon trying to watch one channel whilst recording another, either from the same source or from different ones, as it is simply too complicated to be practical.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Quick update, though I haven't had time to go into the intricacies of the EX 88 menu completely.
There is a sound problem. I get no sound through the optical from either the Sky or cable box. Either when viewing or recording. I connected the old audio cables to each box and it worked.
I can't get into the settings to choose optical on the EX 88, (presuming that is what I need to do to correct the problem) as it is part of the HDMI menu and it detects there is no hdmi cable so grays out the menu.
The B to A and C to A buttons on the scart switch have no visible effect whatsoever, only the individual B and C buttons change what appears on the screen, I can flick to either Sky or cable, but I understood they were supposed to change the recording source not the viewing? Whatever is pressed B or C is what is recorded, I haven't managed to record anything different to that which is being watched. As a whole, operation is pretty complicated trying to work out which input is needed on the EX 88 and on the Plasma to view/record something. This may all be down to my ignorance or the scart switch I bought. It looks identical to one of those suggested, but what in your description is labelled RGB is marked OFF on mine and when I press it all it does is cut the A to B or A to C buttons, is this what it was supposed to do? I have a doubt.
I won't have time to look further into it for 2 weeks, but will try and be a little more accurate with what combinations of buttons do and don't work either for viewing or recording. My main concern is that the family won't be able to use the system at all. I can't help thinking that I may have to abandon trying to watch one channel whilst recording another, either from the same source or from different ones, as it is simply too complicated to be practical.

Indeed ... but it is clearly not working as it is supposed to and it may not be so bad if it did.

At first sight it, from your description, is seems as though the switch you have obtained is not an RGB capable version of the switch.

But I'll study all you have reported in detail and will report back later.
 

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