A Record 2007 for Freeview

Freeview, the no-cost terrestrial digital TV platform that competes with British Sky Broadcasting and Virgin Media in the U.K. video marketplace, said sales of its service hit an all-time high last year.

The service said it saw 9.7 million Freeview branded products sold last year, up 64 percent on a year-over-year basis. Christmas sales alone amounted to 3.8 million purchases, which Freeview said helped it achieve its best quarterly figures to date.

Digital TV sales totaled 2.1 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 133 percent based on previous figures. Sales of Freeview set-top boxes, which convert signals for second sets, grew by 27 percent year-over-year, the service said.

In addition, the number of Freeview Playback products, which offer digital recording capabilities, stood at more than a quarter of a million at the end of 2007, which the service said "reflects the appeal of the brand's no subscription offer as consumers look to adopt more advanced digital recording technology for both first and second sets in the home."

Said lse Howling, Freeview's general manager, "Freeview continues to be a truly compelling offer and the latest sales figures further cement our position as the most popular digital platform in the U.K. More than half the homes in the country now have Freeview and the value of Freeview Playback is set to grow further for these homes and the millions of others with additional sets still to convert."

Freeview offers 20-plus channels of digital TV for no cost to U.K. consumers. Shareholders in the platform are BBC, Channel 4, ITV, National Grid Wireless and even BSkyB, despite the competitive implications between the services