Digital Dissenters Threaten UK Analogue TV Switch-Off

09 January 2004

A significant number of "digital refuseniks" threaten to derail government plans to switch off Britain's analogue TV signal.

According to a new report from the Department of Trade and Industry, 13% of all householders oppose switching to digital TV under any circumstances, with 6% insisting they would not purchase the necessary equipment even if this meant abjuring television altogether. A further 30% could be persuaded to convert but currently have no intention to do so.

The adoption of digital services in the UK has so far been relatively rapid. At present, around 50% of homes watch digital TV through the BSkyB satellite service, cable or the Freeview free-to-air platform.

But the report's findings cast doubt on the government's target of an analogue switch-off by 2010. Ministers have promised to wait until 90% of the nation's homes have access to digital signals before pulling the plug on the old service.

The research identified a high degree of "latent opposition" to a forced changeover and urged the government to address people's concerns or risk rebellion.

It proposed that digital services be promoted as "better television", as opposed to the current focus on technology, convenience and cost. Refuseniks, it appears, are yet to be convinced that there is anything worth watching on the countless stations available on multichannel platforms.

"For these people," the report continued, "digital TV simply does not represent better television, even if they acknowledge digital TV as better technology."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff