Tech: Recording from DVR to VHS

In recent times DVR’s have become the standard leaving many a VHS to collect dust.  However, there is one limitation on a standard DVR, eventually you will run out of space and you will need to either transfer the recordings to another media or device to save them or you will have to delete them.  I know keeping things is just so 90’s but I like many others still see a reason for keeping a VHS tape around for storage.

(Many people will say that VHS degrades and eventually the tape will snap or jam and everything will be lost.  Additionally, I’m sure someone reading this will say that you can get a DVD recorder (which is a VCR with CD’s for those who don’t know). However, in this posting I am taking into account that VHS can be copied from one tape to another, that a DVD recorder for a TV will still run at least a $200 or more investment and that virtually everyone has a VCR and if you don’t, stores still sell VCRs for as little as $25 and tapes for VCR’s cost $5 for a 5 pack of a major brand)

The only thing you need is a working VCR (that has a built-in channel for Aux or Input or Video or something of that nature).  Two pairs of RCA audio video cable (example below) which will cost between $8 and $12 dollars each normally (estimate the ones that say Gold Plated are more, but I don’t see much difference in my recordings with or without them)


and of course the DVR.

Step #1 – From behind the DVR you will find 6 round jacks (called RCA jacks), where 3 will say “Video In – Audio In Right ( R ) – Audio In Left ( L )” and 3 will say “Video Out – Audio Out Right ( R ) – Audio Out Left ( L )”.  Take one end of the RCA cables and connect them to the 3 RCA jacks that say OUT (Matching color to the plugs)


Step #2 – You will see the same type of RCA jacks on the back of the VCR you plug the other end of the cables to the RCA jacks that say IN (Again, Matching the color of the plugs with the color of the cables).


Step #3 – Take one end of the 2nd pair of RCA cables and plug them into the RCA jack connections on the VCR that say OUT (Again match the colors)

Step #4 – Take the other side of the 2nd pair and plug them into the back of your TV in the RCA jacks that say Input or Input 2 or AUX IN (I know you’ve heard me say it before but Just make sure you match the colors, matching colors is the most important part of the process).

Now for the recording part….

Step #1 – Turn on DVR

Step #2 – Turn on TV and put it on the channel that corresponds with the location you put the plugs on the TV (Aux, Input 1 or Input 2)

Step #3 – Turn on VCR and make sure that the TV/VCR button is selected or lit on the VCR (Depending on your model) and change the channel to Input or Aux on the VCR.

You should now see the signal for the DVR and with that start play on the DVR and hit record on the VCR.  Remember you are trying to use 21st century and 20th century technology together so you will need to play (watch) the show that you have on the DVR in order to record on VCR and if you forward stop pause or do anything to DVR while its playing the VCR will record those actions.

And with that you now have steps for recording to VHS from DVR. This post comes from a Neighbor who inspired me to write this, because when she had her major cable company (can’t say who but they are big and start with a C) come out to install they told her that she would not be able to use her VCR to do exactly what I just explained.


  • Michelle

    This was very helpful. All last night I was trying to figure out how to record. I look this up on the computer and now I am recording. Thanks

  • Liza

    THANK YOU. I, like the person who commented before me, had been spending so much time trying to figure it all out.. switching wires like crazy until I had had enough… and found myself searching online. I think your blog should be one of the first ones that shows up under “dvr to vhs” because it’s way more helpful than the other stuff I found and now I’m recording! 🙂

  • LynNo Gravatar

    This is very helpful but does it apply to HD DVRs? There are different plugs on those and what does the HD TV need to be tuned to? Also, how do you record on a VCR while watching a show live with a HD DVR for cable service and a HDTV? There is no “cable out” on the back of the HD DVR to connect to the VCR, so even with the RCA jacks connected, when I try to record I get a tape of “no signal”! If anyone knows, please help!!

  • mikeNo Gravatar

    My cable co. just switch to all digital signals which made my VCR recording impossible using the “old” way of recording. Will this method work with digital signals?

  • mikeNo Gravatar


  • mikeNo Gravatar

    up date with #5. I was able to skip #3 and #4 in the directions above on the connection part. My method replaces #3 and #4 by connecting a coaxial wire from the “out to TV” portal on the VCR to the back of the TV.

    • anoveloNo Gravatar

      Thank you Mike….
      There are a couple of ways to get to the end goal of using your VCR. If you have any tech questions or issues, please let TGM. We will do our best to help find you an answer.

      Head of TechGeekandMore

  • jmizNo Gravatar

    Thanks! Tons of help! Wish I would have found this hours ago!