Ofcom, the UK super regulator, has just announced that as at 30 June 2004, Digital Television penetration had reached 55% of UK households, up 2% from the previous quarter. The total figure now stands at 13,704,459 households.
The Free To Air (FTA) service, Freeview, usage increased 12.1% to nearly 4m households. This percentage increase dwarfs the growth from the dominant digital TV delivery service, the satellite service Sky, which increased at around 1% over the same quarter adding 76,000 to reach 7,032,000. We note that Ofcom doesn’t give the Sky growth as a percentage, perhaps as it sounds small.
Ofcom estimate that the total number of free-to-view digital homes is now almost 4.2 million, an increase of 13.4% from the previous quarter. Taking the information from various sources, they say the figure comprises the number of viewers using Freeview, those using satellite ‘Solus’ cards and ex-Sky subscribers, who continue to use their satellite box for viewing free-to-view channels. Digital Cable accounts for nearly 2.47 million households.
While these figures will be encouraging to all, they measure households, not the number of TV related sets (TV, video, etc) in the UK. The biggest outstanding issue for household that need to change to digital receive will be replacing the non-primary TV (the UK has an average of 2.5 sets per households) and VCR. It is thought that the replacement of VCR’s could be the big boost for Personal Video Recorders (PVR) that would change the market.
These figures come in the same week that Ofcom annouced analogue switch off to occur in 2012.