The DR19DT is the DVD recorder version of the RD99DT hard-disk combi we reviewed earlier this month. Without the HDD, this version is best suited to those with more occasional recording habits, or perhaps those who already own a separate PVR but want to archive recordings on disc. Whatever the reason, the DR19DT is making a play for your pocketbook with a decent range of functions at an affordable price, although we're keen to find out if the frustrating operational issues we found on the RD99DT are present on this non-hard disk version.
The DR19DT comes with a single Freeview tuner and an eight-day EPG. Although it's not classed as a Freeview+ recorder, it does boast the essential Series Link, Split Recording and Alternate Instance features. And although we know it was never going to happen, two tuners would have provided a lot more flexibility, but as it stands you can only record the channel you're watching.
The list of supported disc formats reveals more limitations. You can record onto DVD-RW and DVD+RW, as well as write-once DVD-R and DVD+R discs, but dual layer recording isn't supported. That means the most you can fit onto a single disc is eight hours as opposed to a possible 14, and to achieve that you have to use the lowest-quality recording mode (SLP), which we wouldn't recommend. That space will soon fill up after you've series linked a few programmes, so you'll need to keep a big stack of discs handy. If any of this sounds problematic, then we really would recommend getting your hands on a model with a built-in hard disk.
The unit itself shares the same styling as the RD99DT, with an all black finish and a silver stripe running along the centre of the fascia. It's far from spectacular but it is perfectly tasteful and slim. The display panel is small and basic, however, and only shows the channel number when watching TV, not the name.
The lower half of the fascia drops down to reveal a few playback keys and DV, S-video, composite and analogue stereo inputs. Sadly you won't find a USB port on the front panel, which makes this deck's multimedia functionality even more limited than the RD99DT. To play DivX, MP3 and JPEG files you need to burn them onto a DVD or CD first.