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Connect CECB DTV converter box, TV, and VCR

This connection involves a digital to analog TV converter, sometimes called a CECB or coupon eligible converter box, analog TV, and VCR. Your VCR or DVD recorder can be used to record digital TV shows because the CECB DTV box will convert the digital TV broadcasts to analog and output on VHF channel 3 or 4. By setting the TV to channel 3 or 4, the VCR will display content, either live or recorded, to the TV.

More information on converter boxes CECB converter boxes

A few differences exist from the old method of using a VCR with analog TV broadcasts. Since the VCR's TV tuner is also analog, it cannot be used to tune digital TV shows. So you need a second CECB DTV converter box if you want to record one show while watching another TV show. In addition, the timer recording and multiple event recordings change because the TV channels are selected on the DTV box and not the VCR. Therefore, the DTV converter box must have a feature whereby the scheduling of recordings can be setup. Otherwise you can only do a timed recording of a single event without manual intervention.

Currently there are only a few CECB DTV converter boxes with the event timer feature built in. One is the DTVpal by Dish Network The DTVPal allows the user to set event timers. This feature is useful when used with a VCR or a DVD recorder for recording programs in the future. An event timer will change the channel on the converter box at a predetermined time. Events can be created in different ways such as choosing a program from the program guide, browsing the channel banner, using an event search, or by time, date and channel. Events can be created, edited, or deleted by selecting them from a list of timers. Timers can be scheduled to occur daily, weekly or Mon-Fri and they can be set to repeat.

Another is the Zinwell ZAT-970A CECB. This unit has an on-screen menu with user defined attributes such as time of day, channel, mode and timer number so you can setup multiple timers with different channels and times. call 1-866-444-3739 or e-mail: to contact company.

It is important to point out that the current crop of converter boxes with event timers do not record. All the converter box does is power ON and switch to your preset channel at your predetermined time/date. Your VCR must be programmed in the standard way for an unattended recording so that the VCR and the converter box both power ON at the same time/date. The converter box just makes available a TV signal to the VCR. Make sure you insert a blank VHS tape into the VCR prior to the scheduled recording. When programming the VCR, set it to record channel 3 (or 4) if using a RF coaxial cable connection from converter box to VCR. If you use a RCA cable connection then set the VCR to record the LINE INPUT.


o Analog TV
o Digital to analog TV CECB converter box
o Audio/Video RCA cables (1-yellow, 1-red & 1-white audio).
o RF coaxial cables (RG-6).


• A/V inputs, including:
• composite video
• RF input for antenna/cable signals

DTV converter box

Outputs - composite audio/video, RF.
Input - RF.


• analog audio input x 2
• analog video input
• analog video output
• analog audio output x 2
• RF input and output

Hook up DIAGRAM - TV, VCR, CECB digital TV converter box

Audio Video Connections and cables

Cables Connections and explanation:

Over-the-air TV broadcasts are used to receive TV signals.

1. Connect VHF/UHF antenna to RF input on DTV converter box using an RF coaxial cable.

2. Connect "Out to TV" RF jack on converter box to Antenna RF input jack on VCR using RF coaxial cable.

3. Connect RF OUT jack on VCR to VHF input jack on TV .

Why would you want this configuration?

o To view digital TV shows on an analog TV set.
o To record TV shows on VCR.
o To playback recorded TV show to the TV set.

What can you do with this configuration?

o Watch TV, Record TV

What settings do you need for this configuration?

The TV will need to be set to the proper input depending on your source. Select proper input source on the TV. The input sources can be selected usually by using the remote control buttons for the respective devices. Buttons such as LINE or VIDEO or AUX or INPUT SELECT or an actual channel such as 93 or 00 or 99 depending on your brand. Consult owner's manual here.

TV Channels are selected on the DTV converter box using the remote control for the box. Set VCR on channel 3 or 4 when recording from DTV box.

For those people with a TV which has 300 ohm twin connections, you need to buy a transformer (sometimes called a balun) which will convert the single 75 ohm coaxial cable to a 300 ohm twin lead. These little devices cost less than one dollar and are connected between the coaxial cable and the TV as shown in the diagram.

These transformers or baluns are available online. has several vendors including "Parts Express" (1-800-338-0531) which sells these for $0.50 each.

Diagram for recording one show on VCR while viewing another show on TV.

If you want to record a TV show while watching a second TV show, you need a RF signal splitter and a second CECB DTV converter box. Select on the TV set the input you want to view. All CECB boxes have three output jacks for audio and video but your TV set must also have these jacks (yellow, white and red). Connect RCA phono cables as shown in the diagram for video and audio. If your TV set does not have Audio/Video inputs, you can still make this work by buying an A/B switch for RF coaxial cables and connecting the switch output to the TV VHF single input jack. Then just switch to the "A" side or the "B" side depending on what you want to view.


Some consumers report problems with the converter boxes which have been sold in 2008-2009. Poor build quality, unreliable and primitive features to name a few. Anyone willing to spend a few hundred dollars to get a better box might consider the DVD recorders being offered by Sony, Panasonic, LG, Toshiba and others. These recorders will have a built-in ATSC digital TV tuner, so you do not need a $50 converter box. With the built-in digital TV tuner, you just use the recorder in the same way as in the past when you had a VCR, only now you record on blank DVD (some even have a hard disk drive).

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