Freeview in 60 million households
By Julian Clover
Published: October 7, 2010 10.51 Europe/London

Sales of Freeview boxes and IDTVs capable of receiving the DTT platform have reached 60 million, a figure equivalent to the population of the United Kingdom.

Freeview has also announced sales of Freeview HD equipment currently stands at 230,000 and is expected to reach a quarter of a million before the end of the month. Sales are weighted towards Freeview HD TVs, which with 100 models now available, accounted for 15% of all TVs sold during the summer.

Freeview HD sales are on a par with the number of Sky+ HD boxes sold in the same period following the launch of the satellite service in 2006.

The terrestrial platform currently carries HD channels from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, with a dedicated BBC One HD scheduled to launch later in the autumn. Clear blue water has emerged between the free and pay-TV platforms, with around 50 channels available to Sky satellite subscribers and 16 on Virgin Media’s cable platform. ITV has said it will launch HD versions of its multichannel services ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 exclusively on the Sky platform, while Channel Five opted out of terrestrial HD altogether.

Just under a third of Freeview household, representing 3 million homes, have the Freeview+ personal video recorder. In total 10.2 million homes have Freeview on their main set with 18.7 million homes having access to DTT either on the main or secondary TV sets.

Of the 6 million homes in regions that have switched from analogue to digital, 75% have opted for Freeview, a figure largely anticipated given that later switchers have effectively opted out of pay-TV.

Separately, Digital UK has announced that viewers who participate in the Switchover Help Scheme will be able to opt for a new “Smart Talk” box. The device, designed for the blind or partially sighted, utilises text to speech technology to dictate on screen information from the EPG and set-up menus.