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my experience says that the VCR/DVD recorder does NOT has a volume setting inside. Cables may be bad or connected to wrong input but most likely, the TV has a setting for the volume for any source and that is probably set to mid-range like on a PC sound control panel. Go the audio setup on the TV and see if you can adjust the level for each input.
ok on the back of the dvd player look for the yellow red and white plugs you should have gotten a cable with yellow white and red plugs match the colors from the dvd player to the colors on the back of the tv labeled VIDEO 1 then plug the power in and tune the tv to video 1
You trying to put the DVD/VCR combo between the cable box and the TV? OK, cable out goes to vcr in, vcr out goes to tv, I think you got that. Now there should be a tv/vcr button on the vcr/dvd, you need to press that when the unit is on. Also, make sure you are on the correct input on both the vcr and the tv, usually video 1 or AUX and choose line in or L1 on the vcr/dvd. If the tv/vcr button is toggled, itll completely bypass the vcr/dvd player.
Okay...sounds like you have a lot of signal splitting as well as devices that may also weaken your signal. With digital cable, you won't see snow or what would be a dead give-away to a weak signal. Only analog signals do that. Digital signals give you crisp clear picture or they drop out.
Try taking the cable directly from the wall to the DVD-Recorder. If you are able to watch channels and manipulate the device, then you can start from there as the source is good and the recorder is good.
Try to place the DVD-Recorder after the first splitter and see if you still receive stable signal. You'll probably need to leave the unit in this part of your A/V chain.
It really sounds like you need a signal amplifier for all the splitting you've done, or to re-work your A/V stack into something more manageable. It is entirely possible that the built-in tuner of the new DVD-Recorder is not as sensitive as the old unit.