UK digital TV universe passes 21 million mark

LONDON - The number of UK households with digital TV on their main set has risen to 21.7 million homes, according to research published today by Ofcom.

The communications regulator’s Digital Television Progress Report for the third quarter of 2007 shows that multichannel TV take-up has risen to 86.1% of households, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Digital terrestrial television service Freeview was the main driver of the growth, which posted its second-biggest quarterly increase, with almost 2.4 million Freeview set-top boxes and integrated digital TV sets sold during the period.

The growth means that 8.6 million Freeview receiving devices have been sold over the past year, up from 5.8 million in the 12 months to the end of September 2006.

The Ofcom report also shows that many consumers, having already converted their primary TV sets to digital, are now upgrading their secondary sets in increasing numbers. The total number of converted second sets now stands at nearly 12 million, up by 1.3 million during the quarter and up by 50 per cent over the past year. Fourteen million homes now have a Freeview device connected to at least one television, an increase of approximately 1.1 million on the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, Sky increased its customer base by 67,000 during the quarter to more than 8.1 million subscribers. The total number of homes with cable television continued to rise with more than 3.4 million subscribers by the end of the quarter, up by more than 100,000 homes from the end of September 2006.

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