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Most VCRs need to be connected in a daisy chain or a splitter from your input source. (You may need a tuner with some VCRs these days; either a digital to analog converter for a VCR with an NTSC tuner or a different tuner source.)
If you have analog cable or a cable box with coax out and a VCR with an NTSC tuner, use the daisy chain method. Connect the incoming cable or the coax out from the cable box to the VCR's coax input. Then connect the VCR coax out to the TVs coax input.
For a VCR without a tuner, you'll probably find a RCA composite video line in option on the VCR. Connect your cable box or converter box composite output to the VCR composite in. For an OTA source, you'll need a splitter to send the signal to both the TV and the converter box.
I had the same problem. It appears to be due to a bad tv tuner. Turn on your computer and leave the coax unplugged. Leave it for a while (15-30 min). When you see "snow" on your screen, you will be able to use the source button to change to another input and see if you can get a signal. I am running my cable through a dvd recorder and using the AV input to watch tv. Also, my HDMI, component and RGB work fine. After thank don't try to access the TV source until you have had your tuner replaced.
Most TVs only have audio out and several audio/video in connections. Unless you have an unusual tv, there is no option for a coax connection from the TV to a recorder.
Since this DVD recorder only has an analog tuner, you need to connect it to a set top box to record signals unless you are looking only at analog channel sources. If you are getting OTA, then a OTA digital-to-analog tuner is needed for most channels. (Only low power stations are still broadcasting in analog.) The cheaper ones that were available with the government coupon were SD tuners. HD content will need a separate tuner. If you have cable or satellite, check the signal (QAM is digital cable).
Next connect the coax from your analog source to the DVD recorder coax in and another coax cable to the coax out and the TVs coax in (if you want to - the pass through doesn't work with a set-top box for non-analog signals). Set the channel to the appropriate one (3 or 4 for the OTA d-t-a boxes; desired channel to watch for analog OTA or cable). Set the TV to channel 2, 3 or 4. Alternatively, use composite A/V cables from the set top box to the A/V Input of the DVD recorder and set the recording channel to Input 1.
Next connect A/V cables (composite or S-video) to the recorder's matching out to the TV A/V or S-video In. Set the TV to A/V 1 or Video 1 depending on the Emerson TV. You can watch tapes or DVDs. For better video quality on DVD playback, also connect component video cables from the DVD recorder Out to the TV's component in (if it is available). Then set the TV to the appropriate component video input when watching DVDs.
Check where the F connector is soldered inside the tuner circuitry, it may have a loose solder joint there. Also check the inside of the connector where the coax is attach, sometimes the inside conductors spreads and do not make good electrical contacts.