How to Record off a TV Using a Camcorder

You can use your camcorder to record television programs simply by connecting the camcorder to an audio / video source such as the television, cable box or satellite receiver. You use the corresponding jacks on the back of the camcorder and each unit to complete the hook up.

Making the Connection

A digital camcorder typically features a DVI (Digital Video Interface) jack. Models that are compatible with high definition television will have an additional HDMI (High Definition Media Interface). These connections will allow for optimal video and audio signals that are recorded to the camcorder's hard drive or memory stick.

The following steps will instruct you on the proper method of connection to record off of your TV. You will need the following:

  • Digital camcorder
  • DVI or HDMI cable, appropriate to your camcorder model
  • Television or HDTV with a cable or satellite box

Step 1 - Connect the Camcorder

Make sure the camcorder is turned off. The port for connecting the appropriate cable is located on the rear of the camcorder. Most camcorders will have a port for a DVI cable; however for an HDMI connection they will have a port that accommodates a six sided plug for transmitting HD video.

DVI and HDMI plugs will only plug in one way - straight into the port on the camcorder. If you force the plug it can become damaged and will not transmit signals properly.

Step 2 - Connect to the Audio / Visual Source

On the back of the television, cable box or satellite receiver you will find the corresponding jack to connect the DVI or HDMI cable.

Step 3 - Tune the Television or Receiver

Tune the TV or receiver to the proper channel for recording. On most televisions it is channel 2, 3 or 4. Most receivers work in tandem with the television however you may need to tune your cable box or satellite receiver into a particular channel if necessary.

Step 4 - Check Camcorder Memory

Make sure that your camcorder has enough storage capacity to record from television. Camcorders that have built in hard drives typically hold 60 to 120 gigabytes of data depending on the model. A camcorder that has 60 GB will be able to hold about 12 hours of digital audio and video.

Step 5 - Set and Record

Turn on the camcorder. On the control panel or interface of the digital camcorder choose the external recording setting. Once set, press the "Record" button to begin recording the television program.

Step 6 - Review Your Recording

You can review your recording after it has completed by keeping the DVI or HDMI cable is connected to the television. Change the setting on the camcorder by pressing the "Playback" button.

Television Recording Tips

Make sure your camcorder is turned off to safely connect and disconnect the device and the audio / visual source.

Ports and cables can vary slightly from model to model. Make sure to consult your owner's manual to ensure that connection is done correctly. You may also want to consult the manuals for your television, cable box or satellite receiver.

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