Bell ExpressVu 9200: No S-VHS output and only one set of RCA outputs

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Bell Satellite
September 6th, 2005 • 3:07 pm

One of the disappointments of the new HD-ready PVR 9200 receiver from Bell ExpressVu is a limitation that cannot be circumvented. The (non-HD) PVR 5800 receiver that I had before this one came with more connections for non-HD video than this one!

The 5800 came with a S-VHS (also known as S-Video) output, and with two sets of RCA outputs (yellow, red, and white).

The new 9200, on the other hand, only comes with one set of yellow, red, and white RCA outputs, which is intended for the “TV2” output. The “TV1” output only provides a HDMI (HDTV) output, and then a set of red and white RCA outputs for sound, coupled with a YPbPr connection for high-quality video. There is no yellow output for composite video, and no S-VHS output at all.

I understand that this receiver is intended for people with a HD TV set, and that HD TV set owners can use either the HDMI or the YPbPr coupled with the RCA audio connections to connect the receiver to the HD TV set.

But what about people who want to use the 9200 receiver with a standard (non-HD) TV set? Well, they don’t get S-VHS (which the 5800 did provide), and they only get one set of RCA connections, which limits their options in terms of which devices they can connect the receiver to.

I, for one, would like to be able to connect the 9200 both directly to my standard TV set and to my DVD recorder. But I cannot do that, but both my TV and my DVD recorder require a RCA connection. (The DVD recorder would also take a S-VHS connection, but the 9200 doesn’t have one.)

This means that I have to choose between the two. The reason I want to be able to connect to both, and not just to the DVD recorder and watch the signal from the receiver through the DVD recorder at all times is that, for this, the DVD recorder would have to be on all the time and, well, it’s a DVD recorder and it makes a certain amount of fan noise. It’s not hugely annoying, but I’d rather avoid it (and avoid the extra power consumption) if I can.

Right now, this means that I have to switch my RCA cables coming from the 9200 between the TV and the DVD recorder, depending on whether I need to use the DVD recorder or not. Fortunately, both my TV and my DVD recorder have front input jacks, so I don’t actually have to switch cables on the back all the time — but it’s still annoying, and RCA cables dangling from the front of my TV equipment is rather unsightly.

Eventually, of course, I will get a HD TV set with a HDMI connection, and it will solve the problem. But I am not quite ready for this. (My ideal HD TV set, which would be a 50″ plasma TV with a 1920×1080 native resolution, doesn’t seem to exist yet, although there are indications that it could happen soon.)

So for now I am forced to live with this constant cable switching, which is decidedly user-hostile and takes us back to the prehistory of audio/video equipment. All this, because Bell ExpressVu decided not to include as many connections as they did on the 5800 receiver. It’s disappointing.

Unless, that is, there is such a thing as a YPbPr to RCA Composite converter — but I don’t want to spend too much money on such a thing, if it exists. (I am going to have to do some research on this, I guess.)

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