I believe that your TV does not support stereo audio, hence the one audio (white) input. You can still get sound without the red plug being plugged in.
As to the setup, it should go like this: yellow/red/white (yrw) outputted from cable box inputted into dvd recorder (or just a coax from here to there), then yrw outputted from dvd recorder to yw input on tv.
I know you said your tv has yellow and white rca inputs on the front, what about the back?
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