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Connect your Direct TV to the Ant. In connection on your VCR. When you want to watch TV, just tune the TV to channel 3 (or whatever channel the Receiver is set for). When you wish to record, set your VCR to that same channel and set your TV to the channel that your VCR outputs to. For simplicity sake, I would suggest setting both systems to channel 3 and just watching your program through the VCR. If you are still using an "off air" antenna, then connect that antenna to the ANT. IN connection on your Direct TV receiver and when you turn off the dish, it will pass the signal through just like the VCR would.
I had the same problem when I got the TV from someone and I didnt have a remote. I went out and got a ONE FOR ALL remote and once I got it set up I had it in VCR mode and hit the AV button and now I can get to the channels. Hope it works for you.