My home theater is not what you’d call impressive or up-to-date. In fact, the TV is more than 20 years old, I bought the stereo 10 years ago and the CD reading laser has long since burnt out (but the speakers still work) and the DVD player is made by Daewoo (you know, the same company who makes cars with a logo that looks like a pair of underpants). So, even though it’s not all that impressive, I enjoy watching movies.
I have a decent grasp of entertainment systems and knowing how things work generally, but a while ago, when we bought the underpants-logo DVD player, I ran into a problem that had me stumped. In case anyone else runs into the same issue, here’s what I learned.
The TV is the same one my in-laws used when my wife was a little girl and it’s so old it only has input for a coax cable. My VCR has audio/video RCA ports and coax ports, and the DVD player only has RCA ports. The stereo has auxiliary audio RCA ports.
My first try was to run the DVD player through the VCR, but when I played a DVD the screen looked like someone was holding a magnet up to it every few seconds. The picture would go from great, to awful every 10 seconds or so. It wasn’t satisfactory. I later learned that this is done to keep people from recording DVDs and the only solution is to buy an RF modulator. I picked one up along with a video cable at a nearby Radio Shack for about $20.
The RF modulator now receives the DVD and VCR video outputs and then sends the signal to the TV through the coax cable. The signal from the cable provider goes into the VCR as well. My only problem now is that the RF modulator only has one audio input, so I either have to switch audio cables between the VCR and DVD player in order to get the audio through my stereo, or just leave them and use the TV when we use the VCR (which is what we do now). I could also buy an audio splitter but I’m not that concerned about it.
Here’s an article explaining the details of why you need an RF modulator and since this is a prime example of a picture being worth 1,000 words, here’s a diagram I made that illustrates my setup.