I tackled the set top box this morning with a fresh mind. I took only a few minutes to plug it all together. I had some success with watching through r/f cabling, but very little through the a/v cables. It seemed to improve the picture and the sound when directly connected to the tv, but put through the vcr, no.
If it is not going to work well through the vcr, there is no real advantage to it. Also another remote to worry about, more to do than simply turning the tv on. Too hard for too little gain. We had carefully unpacked it and not even opened the battery packaging. So back it went to Dick Smiths who happily refunded the money, a not unual thing for set top boxes I expect.
Thanks for the tips too Bobby. PS Your new look blog looks great.