Why Doesn't My VCR Recognize Channels Above 13?

I cannot record any channel higher than number 13 on my VCR because, for some crazy reason, my VCR interprets them as static. On my cable system, this means VH1, TLC, the Discovery Channel, and a host of others are out.

Any ideas?

The only thing I can think of is that your VCR has a setting in one of its menues that allows you to select between different inputs, such as cable, or using an antennah. (Why does that spelling look wrong??)

Check your menues and see if you can find something like that.

Either you have a cable-ready VCR and you have UHF input or vice versa.

If it’s an old (1980’s era) VCR, it probably isn’t cable-ready.

Select…On-screen MENU:
Select…INPUT/channel Settings = CABLE.

Most VCRs use the same micro-chip, and the default setting is usually “Antenna”, which can tune 2-13. The menu is usually similar, so go to VCR settings/Channel Setup and select CABLE as the input. :slight_smile:

The cable input might be called CATV.

There may also be a setting to select one of two types of cable tuning; one is called something like “harmonic” and the other one isn’t. (My video-systems book is at home, and I, uh, am not.) Try one, then the other.

My VCR also has an “auto channel find” function; this looks at each channel in turn, starting from 1. If it finds a channel, it adds the channel number to an internal “available shannels” list. When I flip between channels, the VCR lets me look at only the available channels.

When I got my VCR, I used the channel-find function to find all the active channels on the cable system. If your VCR has this function, once the tuning is set correctly, try letting it find all available channels and see how many it finds.

When the cable company rearranged the channels recently I had to re-find them all so that all available channels would show up again.

      • Or it could just be a cheap VCR that doesn’t record channels placed higher than 13. Has it ever been able to? I know someone who bought a low-priced one like this once. They returned it, and if that’s your case, I’d say that you should too. (Cheap VCR’s don’t have all those fancy select switches and modes that the expensive ones do, so if yours doesn’t have any of the switches and modes others have mentioned, then it just won’t do it.) ~ These are advertised as “cable ready” because it does have a coaxial input and can receive any channels up to 13 that are present, but it’s approaching fraud IMO. - MC

As has been said, the broadcast channel frequencies and the cable frequencies are different above channel 13. Broadcast channels jump to an entirely different band whereas cable channes are all contiguous.

I once had a VCR that had the Air/CATV switch hidden behind a small, easy-to-miss removeable plastic panel.