The inclusion of two SCARTs makes it possible to link to unit to a TV and video recorder simultaneously, giving you a choice of RGB, S-video (Y/C) and composite (CVBS) from the ‘TV’ SCART, and S-video or composite from the ‘VCR’ SCART, all of which is selectable from the main setup menu. Getting S-video from the ‘VCR’ SCART is surprisingly unusual and allows you make recordings in slightly better quality than composite (though you can always switch the cables round if you want to record in RGB).
There’s a 7-day onscreen Electronic Programme Guide, which is fairly cluttered but still easy to get the hang of. At the top of the screen is a channel timeline (showing only five channels at a time) with details of the highlighted programme listed below in a large yellow box that makes it easy to read. At the bottom, it lists the options that correspond with the coloured keys on the remote, enabling you to skip forward/back 24 hours or jump back to the current time. If you want to narrow your search, hit EPG again and the layout switches to a list of all the programmes on a selected channel.
Alternatively, you can view programme details while watching TV by hitting Info on the remote. This superimposes a banner on top of the TV picture, which is legible and quick to respond but it’s a shame that you can’t search the entire range of channels using this method – it’s limited to ‘now and next’ info.
Otherwise, the DTR220 does everything you’d expect from a Freeview receiver. It’s compatible with MHEG services and digital text and provides a timer feature that cranks up the power at the start of a scheduled programme and triggers the ‘slave mode’ of any recorder connected via the SCART output. Also on board is a Pulse Killer Chip, which isn’t the name of Tarantino’s latest ”Grindhouse” flick but a feature that snuffs out electrical interference to prevent picture break-up, freezing or other nasties, resulting in smoother and more stable digital TV reception in problematic areas. And when new channels are added to the Freeview roster, the unit automatically finds them when it’s in standby and adds them to the list.