Getting your home ready for the digital switchover isn't quite the scary, expensive project that many people assume. If you own an analogue TV, for instance, you don't necessarily need to fork out hundreds of pounds to replace it with a brand new flat-panel set (though it's always nice). And although the benefits of Freeview PVRs and HDD/DVD recorders are well documented, they're not essential to the Freeview experience - you can quite easily hang on to your trusty old VCR if you want to. All you need to do is pick up a cheap, easy to use Freeview receiver, hook it up to your existing system and you're good to go.
But despite their low price you can't just throw any old receiver into your shopping trolley - it's worth taking your time to find one that has all the right features for your needs. More often than not, that means choosing one from a well-known brand, and they don't get more well-known than Philips.
The DTR220/05 is one of two Freeview receivers in the company's current range and at just 200 x 33 x 95mm, it's one of the most compact models we've ever encountered. It's an all-black affair, with absolutely no buttons or other distinguishing features on the front, which isn't great for up-close control but it should go down well among those who like their kit to be discreet and minimal. It's also incredibly light, and if we're being honest it feels rather plasticky, which is slightly surprising given Philips' usual high build quality.
The back panel boasts few surprises, with the bread and butter sockets like RF input/output and twin SCART outputs joined by the less common sight of a coaxial digital audio output for piping stereo sound to your amp digitally. If Dolby Digital broadcasts ever come to the Freeview platform then the unit will also be able to send the raw bitstream to your receiver (a la Sky+). It doesn't feature an RF modulator, which means you can't watch digital TV pictures through your TV's RF input, but this will only bother those TVs from the dark ages.