In regards to using the VCR, it's up to you. What *I* did was split the cable before the box. So cable from the wall goes into a splitter and from there, one cable into the box and one cable into the VCR. The box is hooked to the receiver -- both audio and video. The VCR is hooked to the receiver -- both audio and video. And video from receiver goes to the TV. There are a few advantages/disadvantages to this.
The disadvantage is that I can't record channels that are higher than 125. Not a big deal for me, since all the channels I want to record are lower than 126 anyway. And if I missed a show that was on a channel higher than
125, there's always timeshifting.
Would I get higher picture quality if the cable went from the box to the VCR? I don't know. I doubt it. And the VCR would just downmix the 5.1 to
One advantage is that I switch everything at the receiver. I don't have to bother with switching at the TV at all. I just don't want to make things complicated for myself. Another advantage is that when I want to set the VCR to record something, I set only the VCR. I don't have to set the box to have certain channels on at certain times so that the VCR gets the right recording.
Now, bear in mind, I'm a novice at this stuff. I'm discovering new things about Home Theatre all the time. So don't necessarily go by my word. Best to get as many opinions as you can, and also try out as many things as you can and then decide which works best for you.
Tony, I just assumed he had a video upconverting receiver. I guess I gotta stop making that assumption. I've come across a surprising number of people who have a receiver that doesn't upconvert. Oh well. I *tried* to help. : )