Demand for HD content has helped drive sales of Freesat devices past the 200,000 mark since the UK service was launched last May.

While the figure is impressive, it further highlights the gulf that has opened up between the US and Japan and the rest of the world.

An In-Stat report earlier this week showed that the bulk of households with an installed high-definition television is decidedly biased towards these two countries.

That said, steps are being taken in the UK to improve the amount of HD content available.

Freesat has quickly established itself as a leading provider of high def channels.

The BBC-ITV joint venture said that HD had become a key selling point, with 61 per cent of a "customer panel" choosing the availability of high definition content as their "primary reason" for purchasing.

Freesat offers its HD channel with no subscription.

BSkyB announced this week that 779,000 now have its HD receiver and it hopes to make further investment in HD programming.

Apple has also just announced that the first HD show is available for download from the iTunes store for AppleTV owners in the UK.
Other European nations are also making in-roads into the HD world.

A study from market researchers GfK states that the German market for Blu-ray players is in great shape, with strong sales in the final three months of 2008.

GfK said that with average prices approaching the €300 barrier, sales figures of Blu-ray Players finally reached the 100,000 mark in December when more than 30,000 units were sold.

Despite this positive development in the last quarter of 2008 the new format is not yet a resounding success.

In December, there were already more than 11 million HD-ready or Full HD TV sets on the market in Germany compared to only 110,000 Blu-ray Players.

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