For most viewers, the introduction of digital TV means no change to their current reception. Other viewers may experience some interference, which in some cases can be fixed by retuning their VCRs and/or Pay TV set-top boxes.
- Why there could be a problem
- Is my VCR or set-top box being affected
- Pay TV set-top boxes
- How do I fix the problem
- VCR Better Picture Guide
- Areas where interference may occur
- Alternative VCR channels
Why there could be a problem
VCRs and Pay TV set-top boxes receive a signal from an antenna and transfer it to a TV set on an 'unused' TV channel. This VCR channel is often preset by manufacturers to 36, 37 or 38, as these channels have not been used by TV stations in the past. But now, these channels are needed for digital TV.
In areas where channels 36, 37 or 38 will be used for digital TV, it is possible that VCRs and set-top boxes will suffer interference.
Many older VCRs will not be affected as they use channels 0, 1, 3 or 4 which are unsuitable for digital TV.
You can identify whether the interference you are experiencing is due to digital TV services or by some other source by the following:
- Interference from digital TV will make a normally acceptable analog TV reception appear to be very 'snowy'. The picture may resemble a very weak signal or the reception of a badly tuned channel.
- Interference from digital TV will happen whenever you are watching TV through the VCR (or using the set-top box). The interference will be the same on all TV stations and will also happen when you are playing video tapes.
- Check with your neighbours and see if they have the same problem, then contact your local broadcasters to see whether they have commenced broadcasting digital TV in your area.
- As a further check, disconnect the antenna from your VCR, then play a video tape. Or connect the antenna directly to the TV and try all the TV services you have normally . If the interference has gone, it is likely that a digital TV service is causing interference to your VCR channel. See below for information on how to remedy the problem.
- If the interference being experienced is not caused by digital TV, refer to the Analog TV & radio reception and interference page for assistance.
Pay TV set top boxes
If your pay TV service suffers interference you should contact your Pay TV provider. Pay TV set-top boxes should not be retuned by the subscriber unless so advised by the service provider.
How do I fix the problem
Warning: Do not open the case of the VCR or TV set, you may receive an electric shock. There is no reason to open the VCR in order to retune it. If you are unable to resolve the interference, contact a qualified person (i.e. a video repair technician). Only allow qualified personnel to repair or service your set.
If the interference is caused by a digital TV service, there are a number of steps you can take to fix the problem:
- Connect the TV set to the VCR through the audio and video (AV) connections found on most TV sets and VCRs.
Using AV connections will improve the picture quality irrespective of any interference issues. Refer to your VCR and TV manuals for details on connecting the equipment. AV cables are readily available from electrical equipment retailers. See the VCR Better Picture Guide for additional instructions on connecting your VCR. The existing RF cable between the VCR and the TV should be retained so that the TV is still connected to the antenna (via the VCR) enabling direct tuning of a service on the TV. This will allow the TV to be watched directly while the VCR is switched off or while recording another program on the VCR. The channel the TV currently utilises to see the VCR output should be 'skipped' so that the interference is not seen.
- If either your TV set or your VCR cannot use AV connections, you will need to retune the VCR output channel.
Newer VCRs with UHF output
The output for most of these VCRs can be tuned to a channel between 28 and 69 using an on-screen menu. Use the remote control and/or the VCR front panel. For instructions on how to retune your VCR check the manual and make sure to follow all safety guidelines. Contact the manufacturer of your VCR if you need a new manual.
Older VCRs with UHF output
The output for most of these VCRs can be tuned to a channel over a more limited range (often between 30 and 40) using a small tuning screw in the back of the VCR. For instructions on how to retune your VCR consult its manual, making sure to follow all safety guidelines. Contact the manufacturer of your VCR if you need a new manual.After changing your VCR's output channel, your TV will need to be tuned into the VCR again. Consult the manual for instructions, making sure to follow all safety guidelines.Note that as more and more digital TV services begin, you may need to repeat this process a number of times, unless you use the AV connectors.If you need help retuning your TV or VCR please contact a qualified technician.
- As a temporary solution try turning the VCR off when watching TV services and unplugging the antenna from the back of the VCR when playing video tapes.
- Do not under any circumstances open the case of your TV, VCR or set-top box.
Buying new TVs or VCRs
If you are planning to buy a new TV set or VCR, you may want to ask the following questions:
- Does this TV set or VCR come with AV connections? (You may wish to buy a TV with more than one AV input to cater for VCRs, Pay TV, DVD or digital TV set top boxes.)
- Does this VCR tune over a wide range of output channels, preferably 28 to 69
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