How to Connect a DVD Recorder to a Digital TV

Updated February 21, 2017

When it comes to hooking them up, DVD recorders resemble VCRs more than they do DVD players. DVD players only need to send their signals out to the television set (either directly or through a cable/satellite receiver). Recorders, on the other hand, also need to receive signals from your cable or satellite box in order to record the shows you'd like. In the case of digital TVs, you have a number of options to choose from. It's simply a matter of determining which one is best for you.

Understand the variables. If you have cable or satellite service, hook up the DVD recorder to your cable or satellite box, and the box to the digital TV. If you don't have cable or satellite, hook up the DVD recorder directly to your TV.

Check the back of your satellite or cable box to find the output jacks. There should be four different types of jacks available, all of which you can use. RCA jacks are grouped in threes and colour-coded with a yellow outlet, a red outlet and a white outlet; component video jacks are similar, but colour-coded in blue, green and red instead; S-video jacks are larger and have a series of small holes in them; and finally, HDMI jacks are narrow and rectangular. You need to link one of these jacks to the TV and the other to the DVD recorder. The HDMI is preferable, since it provides the clearest image. RCA jacks are the worst as far as quality goes (although they still provide a good picture). S-video and component video jacks are better than RCA cables, but not as good as HDMI.

Check the back of the digital TV for the same series of jacks. Select the one that corresponds to the best jack on the cable or satellite box. If you don't have a cable or satellite box, select the best one available (in descending order: HDMI, S-video, component video, RCA).

Connect the TV to the satellite box using the outlet you selected in Step 3. The cable should fit into the jack labelled "Input" on your TV and "Output" on your cable or satellite box. If you don't have cable or satellite, skip this step.

Check the back of the DVD recorder. You should see the same choice of outlets: HDMI, S-video, component video and RCA. Pick the best of them (HDMI is preferable to S-video and component video, which are both preferable to RCA) labelled with "In" or "Input." Connect those to the corresponding "Out" or "Output" cables on your satellite or cable box (if you have one) or your digital TV (if you don't receive satellite or cable programming).

Connect the "Output " jacks on your DVD player to the corresponding "Input" jacks on your television set. Again, you can select whichever of the four types of cable works best and has outlets available.

If you're using an S-video or component video connection, connect the audio "Output" jacks on your DVD recorder to the corresponding "Input" jacks on your TV or cable/satellite box. Use the red and white RCA cables for this. They send audio signals (S-video and component video cables only carry video signals).

Set your DVD recorder to receive signals from the "In" jacks plugged into the TV or cable/satellite box. Set the TV to receive signals from the jacks plugged into the antenna or the cable/satellite box if you want to watch regular television, or the jacks plugged in to the DVD recorder if you want to watch a DVD. Then watch as normal.


The specifics of connecting your recorder will vary wildly depending on the exact type of system you have. Consult your owner's manual to confirm which input and output jacks you have on your TV, satellite/cable box and DVD recorder before proceeding.


Turn off all components while connecting your DVD recorder. Otherwise, you may short out your equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Satellite or cable box
  • RCA cables, component video cables, S-video cables or HDMI cables
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author