UK 'ready for digital'



Nearly four out of five households are ready to go digital voluntarily before 2010, according to significant new research.

New independent research, released today by the DTI and DCMS, suggests that the vast majority of UK households (70-80 per cent) will voluntarily equip themselves to receive television signals via digital means by 2010. Millions are becoming accustomed to the increased channel choice, sharper pictures and better sound enabled by digital signals.

This research is consistent with high street trends as the buoyant sales of digital 'Freeview' receivers continue to be a welcome surprise for retailers, subscribers to pay TV services offered on cable and satellite platforms continue to increase and the range of receiving products available continues to expand. More homes now have digital TV than do not.

Such a healthy attitude to digital is however all the more surprising given that the research also indicates ignorance and confusion over government plans to switch off existing analogue signals. The report authors suggest that if the government clearly sets out the rationale for switchover and publishes a firm timetable for withdrawing existing analogue signals then all but 5 per cent of households would convert.

Commenting on the research, Marcus Coleman, Director General of the Digital Television Group, said:

"Digital switchover is largely considered to be a technological inevitability as television follows in the footsteps of telephony, video and photography. Maintaining the current analogue system is not only costly but is a technical barrier to the introduction of new services such as high definition and mobile television, these are already being enjoyed by consumers in other parts of the world."