Digital TV connected to nearly 22 million UK main sets, while consumers continue to convert second TVs

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 
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The number of UK households with digital television on their main set has risen to 21.7 million homes according to research published today by Ofcom.

Its Digital Television Progress Report for the third quarter of 2007 (July-September), also shows that multichannel television take-up has risen to 86.1 per cent of households, an increase in take-up of 1.1 percentage points.

The growth was mainly driven by digital terrestrial television (Freeview) which saw its second-ever largest quarterly increase, with almost 2.4 million purchases of Freeview equipment during the quarter.

The report also shows that many consumers – having already converted their primary television sets to digital – are now upgrading their secondary television sets in increasing numbers. The total number of second television sets converted to digital now stands at nearly 12 million, up by 1.3 million during the quarter and up by 50 percent over the past year.

Key trends for the third quarter of 2007 include:

DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION – Freeview services

  • 2.4 million Freeview devices (which includes set-top-boxes plus integrated digital televisions) were sold during the quarter, up from 1.4 million in the third quarter of 2006 (a 70 per cent rise year-on-year). This was the second highest quarterly sales so far for Freeview and also means that 8.6 million units have been sold over the past year compared to 5.8 million in the preceding year.
  • During the quarter a further 200,000 analogue terrestrial homes converted to digital television through Freeview. This meant that the number of homes using Freeview as their only digital platform reached 9.3 million by the end of the quarter.
  • 14 million homes now have a Freeview device connected to at least one television, an increase of around 1.1 million on the previous quarter.

DIGITAL SATELLITE TELEVISION – Sky subscribers and free-to-view satellite services

  • Sky increased its customer base by 67,000 during the quarter to over 8.1 million with 335,000 additions year-on-year. When combined with free-to-view satellite homes, total satellite households were over 9.1 million at the end of the quarter.
  • More than 1.4 million Sky subscribers now take the ‘Multiroom’ service, up by 68,000 during the quarter. This means that 17 per cent of Sky customers now have at least one additional set converted to satellite viewing.
  • Sky’s high-definition service added 66,000 subscribers taking the total number to over 350,000.
  • Almost 2.7 million homes (33 per cent) of Sky customers now subscribe to Sky+ its personal video recorder service.

CABLE TELEVISION – Virgin Media services and other cable operators

  • The total number of homes with cable television continued to rise with over 3.4 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, up by over a 100,000 homes year on year.
  • Cable penetration reached its highest level in over five years accounting for 13.4 per cent of all TV homes.
  • By the end of the quarter 190,000 Virgin Media subscribers were using V+ its personal video recorder and high-definition services.

1. The term ‘digital television household’ is defined by the kind of digital service viewed on the household’s primary television set. Therefore, a household with satellite or cable on the primary television set but digital terrestrial television (DTT) on a second set would be defined as a satellite or cable digital household. A household with DTT services on the primary television set and other analogue sets in the home would be counted as a DTT household.
2. BT Vision customers are not counted within the television over broadband figure. This is because whilst downloading is available over broadband, live scheduled television via BT Vision is delivered via digital terrestrial television.