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I'm not sure what you mean by "cable box is on or off". Do you mean connected? If the cable box is connected to the TV through a 300-ohm antenna input, you are probably getting a lot of interference from the workings of the cable box. Try moving the cable box away from the TV.
If the TV is connected to the cable box with a 75-ohm cable, it may not be properly grounded - try another cable.
Also try manually tuning the channel on which the cable signal comes in, usually 3 or 4. Try an alternate channel.
If the DVD player is built into the set, the signal is less subject to outside interference. If the DVD player connects to RCA jacks on the set, it is also less subject to interference.
Vertical hold problems can be caused by aging capacitors in the "sweep" circuits but usually one sees that as loss of vertical hold on the DVD signal, as well.
My dear friend you need to connect the signal source direct to the dvd and then to the tv.If you got cable you need to connect it to the input of the dvd and then connect the output of the dvd to the tv set.
And when you go to record put the channel on the dvd
This sound like a problem with the Closed Caption, on many sets if the C.C. is set to text a black box apears, and since it only happens on DVD you might look at the DVD menu and see if it has this Text featcher in the Closed Caption menu and turn it off