Most flatscreen TVs have built-in Freeview reception, but if yours is an exception you'll need to add your own upgrade option in time for switchover.

The Freecom DVB-T offers a discreet solution, as it slots directly into a spare Scart socket on your set and frees valuable shelf space.

As in many homes the TV is against a wall, the adapter (about the size of two cigarette packs) hinges at the Scart end, enabling you to fold it over to conserve space.

It takes a 230V power supply and comes fitted with a UHF aerial input. A small portable aerial is supplied, but we wouldn't recommend using it over a fixed aerial.

Its being out of sight raises control issues, so Freecom has included a remote eye sensor that plugs into the adapter and sits under your TV, relaying remote commands to the adapter. The remote itself is a cheap affair with a button arrangement familiar from previous adapters we've tested but it works well enough in conjunction with the eye.

Simple to set-up

First-time installation prompts you to select your country, giving you the option of turning on a 5V power supply for an external aerial if required.

Among the display settings you can also choose 4:3 pan and scan, 4:3 letterbox or 16:9 aspect ratios, select RGB or composite Scart output.

The main channel list can be sorted by name, service and channel number and toggled to show TV only or radio channels only. You can also select a favourites list.

The programme info banner features now-and-next info, but can't be expanded to show a synopses of the current show, only technical data.

The EPG offers a full-screen grid view and supports up to seven days of information with programme information accessible for each.

There's a 10-event manual timer with once-daily and weekly repeat settings, and a mosaic option that displays still images of what's on nine channels at a time. Teletext support and a PIN lock feature are available.

Decent Pictures

The supplied portable antenna failed to pull in channels in our test location, but when plugging in a feed from a fixed rooftop aerial we found the tuner to be reasonably sensitive, although the software is prone to displaying weird messages such as 'HDTV not support' when reception proved tricky on some channels.

Picture-wise it's on a par with the average Freeview adapter; it's stable and relatively block-free owing to its quality tuner. Audio quality is also average, although those looking for hi fi connectors will be disappointed.

When Freeview adapters can be had in supermarkets for the price of a new DVD, £40 seems a lot to ask for the DVB-T Scart. But if you have a flatscreen TV that needs to go digital, this will suffice.