The future of ITV Digital, Britain's sole digital terrestrial TV network, now in the hands of administrator Deloitte & Touche, hangs in the balance as the various interested parties jockey for position.
Hoping to make hay while the sun shines is UK set-top box manufacturer Pace which over the Easter weekend launched its new digital terrestrial decoder priced at £99.99 ($144; €164). This will enable non-subscribers to ITVd and BSkyB to access the current crop of free-to-air digital channels – fourteen in all.
These are BBC1, BBC2, BBC Choice, BBC4, BBC News 24, BBC Parliament, CBBC and CBeebies (the latter pair aimed at children) plus ITV1, ITV2 including ITN News, Channel 4, Channel 5 and TV Travel Shop. There are also four regional channels: S4C, S4C2 (both Welsh), UT2 (covering Northern Ireland) and Gaelic-language channel Tele G.
These channels will continue to be available whether or not ITVd survives. But the Pace box, now available at high street retailers, lacks an interactive capability and cannot access pay-TV channels. According to the manufacturer, however, as of July both facilities can be downloaded for an additional fee.
Meantime, there is much media guesswork as to what the protagonists in the digital mêlée might or might not do. Behind the scenes, Football League member clubs and senior executives at Carlton Communications and Granada Media are all closeted in separate smoke-filled rooms and all that has emerged thus far are unattributable leaks and wild speculation.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff