88% of UK has digital television

Wednesday, December 17 2008

Fewer than 12% of UK homes now rely on analogue terrestrial signals for receiving television, according to new digital TV take-up figures from Ofcom.
88.2% of UK homes now take some form of multichannel television: 48.8% have opted for a pay TV solution with 38.9% taking Freeview or a form of free-to-view satellite. Only 0.1% of UK homes now subscribe to a multichannel analogue cable service, a platform which is being switched off entirely next year.

In terms of growth over the last quarter, digital terrestrial's status as the main driver of multichannel take-up has dimmed in favour of pay satellite, which continues to dominate, and a resurgent cable offering from Virgin Media. Pay satellite had a 53.6% share of net digital TV additions in the quarter, with cable on 29.3% and digital terrestrial only - that is, those homes with no other multichannel platform in the home - on 17.1%.

Overall, digital terrestrial sales were up quarter-on-quarter because of continuing sales of set top boxes for secondary televisions and new HDTVs with built-in Freeview; during the third quarter, 2.46m DTT devices were sold and sales of DTT-compatible personal video recorders were 106,000.

Ofcom said that "sampling issues" impacted its survey of homes taking free-to-view satellite services - despite 108,000 Freesat sales between May and the end of September, the number of Ofcom-reported FTV satellite homes plummeted from 860,000 in the third quarter of 2007, and 840,000 in the second quarter of 2008, to only 617,000 during the third quarter of this year.