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Re: tv only has select channels
If you have a good cable signal connected to the TV and it receives channel 50 nice and clear but all lower channels have nothing but snow, then the tuner is defective and needs to be replaced. This is quite an easy thing to correct. Sometimes resoldering all connections inside the tuner will bring it back to life, but in either case the set should be serviced by a qualified tech.
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I would start with the DirecTV unit first and set the resolution back to 480i. This can be done in the menu or with a button on the front of the receiver, all modes are shown on the front of the unit. It's not uncommon to get that message when using the DTV input on MITS tv's, it's just a formatting glitch...but a bit annoying. Your set may not decode 720p resolution so I suspect those channels that broadcast that format may be your problem.
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.
Tis is an ongoing problem I seen increase alot over the past few months. From what I can gather, all the channels being broadcast over going from the analog to digital, there's no big suprise to anyone. However, the change from analog to digital is changing at a faster rate, so when you look at the TV some channels will be fine and others will have grey lines, fuzzy picture. The only solution-you need a TV with some kind of digital tuner. On the TV itself if the (TV has one) it will say "SD" or "ED" which stands for standard digital or enhanced digital.