UK tops digital TV, HD and DVR league

Ofcom’s third International Communications Market Report into the £876 billion (E1,100bn) global digital communications market finds that UK consumers are getting a good deal for their money when buying communications services compared with people in other countries.

Of the larger countries surveyed, the UK has more households with digital TV on their main set, at 86 per cent, up 9 per cent on the previous year as switchover gets underway here. This compares with the US where 70 per cent of households have a digital TV, up 15 per cent over the past 12 months. France was next at 66 per cent of households with digital TV, and it had the highest growth during the period – an increase of 25 per cent.

Consumers across the seven main countries surveyed are also making more sophisticated choices. High Definition (HD) services were relatively new in 2006 but now take-up of HD subscriptions has been huge, especially in the UK, US and Canada. Take-up doubled during 2007 to around 9 million subscribers across the 7 larger countries surveyed.

Although the US has the highest number of households with HD subscriptions at 6 million (6.2 per cent) the number of HD households in Canada is nearly 2 million, representing 17.6 per cent of households. The UK leads Europe with 700,000 HD households (6 per cent), higher than the combined number of HD households in France, Germany and Italy (500,000).

More households are also choosing to pause, record, store and fast-forward TV programmes with a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). Ofcom’s report shows that the UK leads the way with 30 per cent of people saying they own a DVR. The recorders are also popular in Italy (21 per cent), Canada and the US (20 per cent) and least popular in Japan (7 per cent). Across the seven largest countries, around 28 million pay-TV homes had a DVR in 2007, up from 14 million on the previous year.

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