Digital television progressing steadily in the UK : Ofcom

MUMBAI: Britain‘s media regulatory body Ofcom has published its Communications Market: Digital Television Progress Report for the second quarter of 2006 (April-June).

The report shows that by the end of June 2006 70.2 per cent of UK television households (17.7 million) were watching digital television on at least one set in the home - up from 69.7 per cent at the end March this year.


The report also reveals that the large majority of digital television receivers are now being bought for use on additional television sets within the home to complement digital viewing on the household’s primary television. The number of secondary television sets (for example, those used in a spare room or a child’s bedroom) viewed using digital receivers has more than doubled in the year to June 2006, from just under 3.5 million to over seven million.

In total, more than 40 per cent of television sets in the UK are either connected to a digital set-top-box or have an integrated digital tuner demonstrating that a substantial number of households are now going fully digital.

Key trends for the second quarter of 2006 include:

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) – Freeview services

The three months to the end of June 2006 was the fourth consecutive quarter in which sales of DTT equipment (either set-top-boxes or televisions with built-in DTT tuners) exceeded the million mark. DTT sales, at 1.2 million for the quarter, were up more than 70 per cent on the same period in 2005.

DTT services are now viewed on 19.4 per cent of the UK’s 60 million television sets, compared to 17.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

The number of households viewing DTT services on their primary television set now stands at 6.4 million up 0.2 per cent since the first qyarter of 2006. The number of secondary sets used to watch DTT services has more than doubled in the past year and now stands at more than five million.


Digital satellite television remains the most popular digital television platform on primary television sets in UK households. In total 33.4 per cent of UK television homes either subscribe to BSkyB’s television services or receive free-to-view satellite services.

In the year to June 2006 satellite television accounted for around one quarter of net digital household additions. In the second quarter of 2006, of the 168,000 homes viewing digital services for the first time on their primary television sets, 64 per cent chose to do so via digital satellite television.

The total number of Sky Multiroom subscribers (a subscription service which allows viewing on multiple sets in the home) broke through the one million mark in the second quarter of 2006 and the number of Sky+ subscribers stood at more than 1.5 million.

Cable Television– NTL:Telewest services plus others

An additional 50,000 households began subscribing to digital cable television in Q2 2006; the majority of those switched from legacy analogue cable television services. There are now over 2.8m digital cable television subscribers, representing 11.3% of all television households compared to 10.4% a year previously.

Around 86 per cent of all cable television subscribers now view digital television services (with 14 per cent remaining on legacy analogue systems), up from 84 per cent in the previous quarter. When analogue cable subscribers are also taken into account, the total number of cable television subscribers stood at 3.3 million (13.1 per cent of all television homes) in the second quarter of 2006.

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