Half of UK digital homes choosing pay TV

Almost half of digital television households in the UK are now choosing to pay for access to additional television channels, with satellite and cable services driving growth of digital TV according to research from Ofcom.

Its Digital Progress Report for the fourth quarter of 2008 reveals that 49.5 per cent of households have a pay satellite or cable service on their main television set, up from 48.6 per cent on the previous quarter. This compares to nearly forty per cent (39.3 per cent) of households which had free television services through digital satellite or digital terrestrial television (DTT).

In total, 88.8 per cent of households in the UK had a digital TV service connected to their main set at the end of 2008, up by 2.4 percentage points since the end of 2007.

Homes with access to a HD service rose to an all time high with over 1.5 million in total. BSkyB’s HD service saw the highest ever number of new homes added during the quarter bringing the total to almost 780,000 subscribers, up 188,000. There were a further 521,000 cable customers subscribing to Virgin Media’s V+ service which allows viewers to watch programmes in HD, while sales of BBC/ITV freesat HD receivers had reached 172,000 by the end of 2008. HD will also begin to become available on DTT from late 2009, with nationwide coverage by the end of digital switchover.

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