UK consumers lead world in take-up of latest TV technology

Joseph O'Halloran | 13-12-2012

The UK’s broadcasting and telecoms regulator Ofcom is claiming that the nation is leading the world in using the latest TV technology to enhance their TV viewing experience.
Ofcom’s seventh International Communications Market Report revealed that, overall, the average UK viewer watches over four hours (242 minutes) of TV every day, with only viewers in the USA (293 minutes) and Italy (253 minutes) watching more.

The survey found that, driven by the soaring usage of the BBC iPlayer, Sky Go and Channel 4’s 4OD, the UK is ahead of other countries such as Japan and even the USA in online catch-up TV and is setting the pace in terms of using new technology such as smart TVs and digital video recorders (DVRs). UK consumers are also the most likely to access TV content over the Internet. The findings showed that almost a quarter (23%) of UK Internet users used catch-up TV every week, compared with 17% in the USA and 16% in Spain.
Ofcom added that the UK also has one of the highest proportions of TV homes with high definition – at 41%, higher than France (18%), Germany (28%) and Japan (31%). However, in this regard the UK still lags behind the US where nearly half of the country’s households have HD. Over a third (35.4%) of TV sets sold in Q1 2012 in the UK were either sized 33-42” or larger than 43”, up from 6.8% in 2005. Connected TV is also a bright spot for the UK’s TV industry, with 15% of UK consumers claiming to own a smart TV. This is the same percentage as France, but compares well to the 10% usage in the USA.
Ofcom’s report also revealed that the UK has one of the highest penetrations of smartphones, at 58%, while just under one in five (19%) has a tablet. These mobile devices were increasingly seeing use connecting to the Internet, with, for the first time, UK consumers downloading more data, for applications including streaming video, on their mobiles and tablets than any other major nation.
Commenting on the findings, James Thickett, Ofcom’s director of research, said: “Our research shows that UK consumers continue to benefit from one of the most advanced markets for communications products and services. We have always been a nation of TV lovers, and our research shows that UK consumers are world leaders in using the latest TV technology. By catching up on programmes online or using smart TVs, the UK public is finding new ways to enhance their viewing experience.”