Digital revolution sweeps UK but viewers appear unwilling to pay for limited range of HD channels
UK households with digital televisions as their main set now account for 87.2 per cent of the total, according to a study by Ofcom.
The survey by the independent communications industry regulator revealed how the digital TV market is divided up between the three main forms – digital terrestrial television (DTT), satellite and cable television.
Unsurprisingly, DTT’s freeview is the most popular, with 9.6 million homes using a digital tuner to receive an expanded range of terrestrial channels – up 1.3 million in the last 12 months.
Sky has signed up 332,000 new subscribers to its satellite services over the past twelve months and now hase 8.3 million customers, while Sky+ received an additional 262,000 subscribers.
However, the figures for SkyHD are only up by 43,000 to 465,000 subscribers.
With the HD market still developing in much of Europe, programming choices are much more limited than in the US, where competition is leading to a rapid expansion of channels.
The narrower choice of HD channels in the UK is seen as contributing to viewers’ hesitance to pay for HD services currently on offer.
Ofcom’s Digital Progress Report also shows that Virgin Media cable subscribers now amount to over 3.5 million, up by 36,800 in the first quarter of this year.
Cable viewers subscribing to Virgin’s digital video recorder service known as V+ -which can also be used to watch HD services – now amount to 364,200..
Almost half of Virgin Media customers (48 per cent) were using its video on demand service, with viewing up 10 per cent on the previous quarter.