UK digital TV users regard catch-up TV as most important tech development in last decade

Joseph O'Halloran | 31-10-2012

Examining the digital TV market as it celebrates its tenth birthday, UK DTT service Freeview has revealed that catch-up is regarded as the most important technological development in the last decade.

The survey from the UK’s DTT network provider found that just over a third (36%) of viewers chose the catch-up services as the most important technological TV development, more than twice the number who opted for the availability of digital TV recorders such as the Freeview+ DVR (14%).

The UK is hugely well served with free catch-up services from both the public and private sectors, most notably through the world-leading BBC iPlayer—now available on arch rival BSkyB’s pay-TV Sky+ on demand service— but also through the three independent broadcasters, namely Channel 4’s 4oD, Channel 5’s Demand 5 and the recently enhanced ITV Player form the UK’s leading independent commercial broadcaster.

The Freeview survey also found that digital switchover was cited by one in ten of the survey as the most important development of the period while, not entirely surprisingly, the failure of 3DTV to take off was highlighted by the fact that 3D was ranked eighth of the ten options (5%). More surprisingly given the huge uptake of smartphones and tablets that increasingly see use as second screens, mobile TV finished in ninth place, cited by only 4% of the sample.

Commenting on the trends and results revealed in the survey, Freeview MD Ilse Howling said: "The rapid pace of technological change has offered viewers greater choice in how and when they choose to watch their favourite programmes, and dramatically improved the viewing experience. Our focus for the next decade will be to continue to bring people vibrant, and high quality TV for free, in the format they want by making technology accessible."