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I read the user's manual again. I misunderstood and held both on/off button and vcr1 button at the same time. I should only have been holding one of the buttons for ten seconds or untill the vcr responded=-=-=-=-=-DUH !
Try this..Run cable line into VCR in, cable from VCR out to box, then cable from box to TV..this might work...I have done this for YEARS and it is never failed. You can then watch and record 2 things at once.
I just had the same problem and found a solution on the internet that worked. Hopefully you still have the VCR's remote control. Press and hold either the on/off, VCR1 or VCR2 button on the remote. I pressed the VCR1 button and held it for about 5-7 seconds. It released the lock and worked fine afterwards. The lock is some kind of childlock devise.
Sounds like it's wired up wrong...try this: take cable line to VCR in, VCR out to cable/receiver box(if you have one) then box to TV...it sounds like the vcr is getting the channels from the box and not the vcr...you will need to have the vcr scan the channels (round in the settings menu) You will also be able to watch and record 2 different things.