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First, make sure your connections are right. The rabbit ears need to be disconnected from the TV and reconnected to the converter box. Then the output cable from the converter box connects to the TV. Then try turning the rabbit ears or re-locating them near a window if the wire is long enough. You should be able to get some signal. A newer indoor antenna may help you pull in some of the weaker stations.
You don't need a digital antenna; any indoor UHF/VHF antenna will work. The antenna and the TV both connect to the converter box, not to each other.
rabbit ears (UHF/VHF) antenna with flat wire (300 ohm) connections can be hooked up to the coaxial cable that goes to the Antenna (RF in) jack on the converter box by using a balun (Radio Shack catalog # 15-1297, about $8). If you have an antenna with coaxial cable already attached, you don't need the balun.
To connect the TV to the converter box, you need an adapter that has an F jack on one end and a
1/8" plug on the other (Radio Shack catalog # 278-257, about $5). The
1/8" plug on the adapter goes in the external antenna jack on the TV, and
the other end connects to the coaxial cable that goes to the TV (RF out) jack
on the converter box.
Here is how you should have it connected. 1- Antenna (rabbit ears or whatever) 2- Converter box 3- Television
When you turn on the TV and the converter box, go to channel 3 on the TV. You should see the converter box signal there. If you do not see it try channel 4. Bring up the convert box menu and go through the AUTO SEARCH, not manual search. Now your box will search all the frequencies and add any stations that are in your area. Make sure you change channels with the converter box, not the tv. An antenna on the roof will still provide somewhat better range, but even rabbit ears will likely pick up something. If you still get no channels you could be too far away, digital signals have a shorter range than analog signals. You can check your local TV stations website or call to see if they are broadcasting digital yet.
Connect your rabbit ears to the Insignia. Connect the Insignia to the antenna input on the "cvd/vcr combo". Now turn on the television to show the "cvd/vcr combo".
The Insignia simply goes between your antenna and your television. In your case you also have a vcr so if you want the VCR to be able to play and record digital stations you will need the Insignia between the vcr and the antenna.
You can hook it up through the antennae system. Keep your dvr connected to the tv the way you had it. Hook up your TV rabbit ears antennae to the converter box in the connection on the left side of the box. Then hook up the antennae lead from the converter box to your TV on the right side connector. The only thing I'm wondering is, do you get stereo sound this way and does anyone know how to get it without hooking up the separate audio and video plugs? There aren't enough connections on the tv to hook up both sets.
Your TV is old enough to have not only screw terminals for the antenna, but it sounds like it has separate UHF and VHF terminals as well. Pick up a 75-ohm to 300-ohm adapter (available at Radio Shack and probably most other places that sell TV's and antennas). This is a small cylinder-shaped part with a threaded antenna connector on one end, and a flat wire with two terminals on the other end. Connect the cable from the converter box to the round connector, hook the two terminals to the VHF antenna screws on your TV, put the TV on channel 3 and you'll be set.
You should also pick up a new antenna designed to work with digital broadcasting. If you use the old rabbit ears you were using before, you will probably not pick up all the channels available in your area.
Currently, your switch box likely has several inputs, which as you said are occupied by your DVD Player, XBOX, and your television source. The output of the switch is then fed to your TV.
What you will need to do is insert the DTV converter box BEFORE the switch box. If you have an analog antenna on your TV (rabbit ears) you will need to put the converter box between your antenna and the switch box (the cables, not the box itself) so that your wiring goes like this:
Antenna ---- converter box ---- Switch box XBOX ---------------------------------switch box DVD -----------------------------------switch box
And the switch box still goes to the TV. However, you do not NEED to use the converter box until February of 2009.