I'm facing analog switch-off in the next couple months and have a number of questions I'd like to consider before I make some bad decisions.
I have an old, but extremely capable Sony TV, but it has no SCART fitting. I know there are digi boxes out there (TVonics, etc) that I can use to set up Freeview or similar, but I'd also like to be able to record programmes after switchover. My current DVD recorder is a Liteon LVW 5006--can I connect this to the telly as I do now via the TVonics or similar?
If not, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced method of getting around my SCARTless TV so I can both view and record in future?
Unfortunately SCART enabled equipment is pretty much a necessity these days rather than a luxury.
Freeview boxes are mostly all SCART. Most DVD Recorders, Players and anything else is SCART capable. The Blu Ray and High Definition stuff uses HDMI which is an entirely different thing and just for DVD playback of Blu Ray discs it just connects straight into the back of the telly, no questions asked.
A standard aerial comes in via your RF In socket, which is the little round socket. So far as Freeview is concerned you use your existing aerial (in 95% of cases you don't
need a new aerial and if you're in a good coverage area and high enough up an indoor aerial is adequate) which goes into the back of the Freeview box and usually comes out SCART which goes into the back of the telly.
If you have other devices in the chain such as a video recorder or a DVD player the signal has to pass through all of these in order to record anything. Typically in days of old RF cables would do this and while some devices do still have them, this is being phased out in favour of SCART too.
Typically you'd have Aerial -> Freeview Box -> DVD Recorder -> TV. However the benefit of a SCART setup is that the TV switches directly to that source when you use it. So you switch your Freeview box on, TV goes to Freeview. Turn the Blu Ray on, TV goes to HDMI. Turn the recorder on and TV goes to DVD Recorder. Feeding the signal through multiple devices degrades it whereas with SCART you're getting better picture quality.
To solve your particular problem it's probably not going to be possible without SCART support. Ideally the best solution is a TV set with built-in Freeview on its own, then you can simply connect a £20 Freeview box from Tesco up from SCART to your DVD Recorder. Tune the box in to what you want to record and then you can watch another Freeview channel using the tuner on the Freeview set while it's recording. Otherwise it will be two separate boxes which would be a really clumsy way of doing it.
It might be a good telly you have now but the more modern TVs are more power efficient, have more connectors and have a much better picture. The TVonics MFR-200 which I presume you were looking at is nearly £40. Going on the basis you can replace the entire telly with one currently on offer at Argos for £60 and have a built-in DVD player as well as a SCART socket, I'd argue TVonics is a last-resort solution.