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Recording Digital TV - The Options:

Looking to record digital TV? Chances are you either have a VHS video recorder, a DVD recorder, or a hard-disk recorder (known as a PVR).

 

PVRs: These are set-top boxes that have a built-in hard disk. They record onto the disk, not onto tape. Most PVRs are digital-ready. Satellite viewers can use the Sky+ box or a Freesat PVR, and Cable viewers can use the Virgin V+ box. Otherwise, there are PVRs with built-in Freeview receivers.

 

Video recorders: Videotape is slowly being phased out. Most VHS video recorders don't have Freeview, so will only be able to record after the switchover if they're connected to a digital set-top box (Freeview, Sky, Virgin, BT Vision, etc) via a SCART lead. Help on using a Video recorder.

 

DVD recorders: These will have either an analogue or a digital tuner built-in. Ones with a digital receiver can record Freeview when connected to a TV aerial (provided you're in a Freeview coverage area). Regardless of whether your recorder has analogue or digital built-in, it will still be able to record from a connected digital set-top box (e.g. Freeview, Sky, Cable or BT Vision) via a SCART lead.

Recording from a set-top box

To record digital TV onto a video cassette recorder or DVD recorder, you can connect a Freeview, Sky, BT Vision , Freesat or Virgin Media digibox to your recorder. Here's how you do it:

  • SCART socketUse a SCART lead (pictured) to connect from the output of the digital TV set-top box to the input SCART socket on your recorder.
  • Set the recorder to record from the SCART socket - normally you set the recorder to the 'Line in', 'Aux' or 'AV' channel. Refer to your recorder's manual if you're not sure on how to do this

Need a Freeview box? Available from Currys and Argos
No spare socket on your video recorder? Help is here

Need a SCART lead? We recommend Maplin and tvcables

Connecting in this way can limit you to only being able to record whatever you're watching - not record one digital channel whilst watching another.

One other problem is timed recording. You have to make sure the set-top box is tuned to the right channel, so that when the recorder starts recording, it gets the right show.

One option is to get a separate set-top box to connect to your recorder - so you can record a different channel to the one you're watching. A better option may be to get yourself a PVR (hard-disk recorder) - see below.

Recording from a Digital TV set:

Some Digital TV sets with a built-in Freeview tuner support sending the TV's Freeview output via SCART socket to a connected DVD or VHS recorder. You should check your digital TV's manual to see how to get the Freeview output connected to a recorder.

Assuming your Digital TV supports sending Freeview via SCART, here's how to record:

  • SCART socketUse a SCART lead (pictured) to connect from the output of the digital TV to the input SCART socket on your recorder.
  • Set the recorder to record from the SCART socket - normally you set the recorder to the 'Line in', 'Aux' or 'AV' channel. Refer to your recorder's manual if you're not sure on how to do this.

Need a Freeview box? Available from Currys and Argos
No spare socket on your video recorder? Help is here

Need a SCART lead? We recommend Maplin and TVcables

There is a limitation with this option - you'll only be able to record whatever TV channel the TV is set to. To record one channel to VHS/DVD while watching another, you may want to consider getting a Freeview set-top box for connection to your recorder.

In the event that your TV doesn't support outputting Freeview to a SCART socket, the other option is to get a Freeview box just for use with your recorder.

Get yourself a PVR:

Sky+ PVRThe most flexible option for recording digital TV is to get yourself a PVR.

Hard-disk recorders (PVRs) are great, and with video tape now being phased out - they offer a great way of recording and watching telly.

For more on PVRs, see the FrequencyCast PVR page , or listen to Show 6 of FrequencyCast, the online radio show, for a audio rundown of what to look for.

Freeview DVD Recorder:

Another option is to consider getting a DVD recorder with a built-in Freeview receiver at some point before the analogue service gets switched off, or to look at a hard-disk recorder that allows you to record one channel while watching another.

For help on choosing a DVD Recorder suitable for the Digital Switch, see the FrequencyCast DVD Recorder page.

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