DSO boosts confidence in new technology
From Colin Mann in London

An unexpected benefit of the digital switchover in the UK is that viewers are gaining confidence in new technology. One-in-three older viewers say that getting ready for digital TV switchover has boosted their confidence with new technology.

Research published by Digital UK – the body leading the implementation of digital switchover - found that 31 per cent of over-65s in areas where analogue TV has been switched off, felt more tech-savvy as a result of converting to digital. Among all ages, 26 per cent said they felt more confident.

Most late converters to digital TV (64 per cent) said they now want to try other gadgets, from the latest TV recorders to surfing the web. The full list of devices and proportions of people keen to give them a try was:

- Digital TV recorder: 36 per cent
- Digital camera: 29 per cent
- Internet: 28 per cent
- Mobile phone: 28 per cent
- Red button service: 25 per cent
- MP3 player: 21 per cent
- Computer games: 13 per cent
- Sat-nav: 12 per cent

Nearly eight out of ten (78 per cent) said they were confident making the switch to digital TV and ninety per cent said that digital TV was better or as good as analogue. One-in-three said they wished they had made the switch sooner. Most people (53 per cent) said the main benefit of digital TV is having additional channels. Other benefits include improved reception, with nearly two thirds (60 per cent) saying that they have noticed this, and nearly one in three (30 per cent) saying that they were enjoying improved picture and sound quality.

When asked to rate the importance of digital TV as a source of entertainment, most said that if forced to choose, they would rather give up going to the cinema, listening to the radio or having a mobile phone than lose digital television.

Digital UK revealed that the switchover has now reached around five million homes. By the time the project is completed in 2012, a further 20 million households will have been through switchover.

David Scott, Chief Executive of Digital UK, said that although it was still early days for TV switchover but there was clear evidence that the benefits of digital TV were welcomed by the vast majority of those who have upgraded, with most having found it a straightforward process. "It’s also pleasing to see evidence that switchover leaves a positive legacy with significant numbers of viewers gaining the confidence to try other technologies," he noted.