Technology

Take-up of digital TV in UK homes at 91.4%

MUMBAI: The take-up of digital television in UK households stands at 91.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009, up by 1.9 percentage points (pp) in the quarter and 2.6 per cent year on year.


According to a survey conducted by UK media watchdog Ofcom Consumer, consumers are continuing to convert additional sets in their homes. As a result almost 69 per cent of all secondary TV sets had been converted to digital by the end of Q4, up by around 8.5 percentage points in a year. 
 
Taking these figures together, 79 per cent of all TV sets had converted to digital television by the end of Q4 2009 (up 6.7 percentage points on a year ago). The remaining 21 per cent of sets continue to receive analogue terrestrial broadcasts.


The study also states that sales of digital terrestrial television (DTT) enabled equipment reached over 4.7 million units in Q4, the highest quarterly sales so far and up by 6 per cent on Q4 2008.


Integrated digital television sets (IDTVs) accounted for almost 74 per centof sales in the quarter (3.5 million units) with around 99 per cent of TV sets sold now, including an integrated digital decoder.


Meanwhile, freeview set-top boxes accounted for almost 1.2 million sales in the quarter, down seven per cent on the previous Q4. In 2009 almost 13.7 million DTT units (IDTVs and set-top-boxes) were sold, compared to 12.5 million in 2008, an increase of nine per cent.


The number of homes relying on DTT as their sole means of digital TV reception reached around 10.1 million according to the survey results in Q4 2009. This was equivalent to almost 40 per cent of all homes and up by around 1.6 percentage points on Q3 2009. Separately, freeview also reported in December 2009 that it was the main digital TV service in 10 million homes. 
 
In total, around 42 per cent of households (10.8 million) received a free-to-view digital television service on their main set at the end of December; 39.6 per cent had a non-pay DTT service and 2.5 per cent had free-to-view satellite.


The Q4 survey also indicated that approaching 9.2 million or almost 36 per cent of homes, received satellite pay TV services, up 1.1 percentage points year on year. BSkyB reported that it added 172,000 subscribers to its pay television service in the UK and Republic of Ireland during the fourth quarter; we estimate that around 150,000 of these were UK additions.


Research results for Q4 show that 12.4 per cent of homes took cable television. Separately, Virgin Media reported net additions of over 34,000 TV subscribers, with its total TV customer base now over 3.7 million. Digital cable added around 57,000 subscribers in the quarter (when including conversions from analogue cable) and accounted for 98 per cent of all cable television customers.

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