British media and telecoms regulator Ofcom on Wednesday published its latest quarterly Communications Market: Digital Progress Report, covering the first three months of 2006.

Britons are taking to digital TV bigtime, it seems, with dTV now viewed by 72.5% (18.2m) UK TV households - up from 69.5% at the end of 2005.

Take-up is growing faster than expected. Ofcom's last Digital Progress Report forecast that an extra 1.7 million homes would embrace dTV in 2006. By the end of March almost 800,000 extra households had already done so.

The number of free-to-view digital households (Freeview plus free-to-view satellite) is estimated to have grown by 9.7% from January to March to over 7.7 million.

Key trends for the first quarter of 2006 include:

    Digital Terrestrial Television (Freeview)
  • Freeview has for the first time overtaken traditional analogue television on primary sets in the home. Almost 7.1 million households have Freeview on the primary television set compared to around 6.4 million who are yet to take-up digital television.

  • Freeview sales for January to March were up 40% on the same period in 2005 at over 1.2 million, making this the third successive quarter in which sales have exceeded the 1 million mark. [

  • Estimates suggest that 38% of Freeview sales are intended for secondary television sets in the home. [SOURCE GfK]

    Digital Satellite Television
  • Digital satellite is the UK's most popular digital television platform viewed by 8.3 million, or 30% of homes of which almost 7.7 million subscribe to BSkyB pay services and 645,000 receive free-to-view satellite services. [

    Just under one million BSkyB households view pay television on more than one television set through BSkyB's Multiroom subscription service.

    Cable Television
  • The number of cable television households increased slightly over the quarter and is currently just over 3.3 million.

  • Over 70,000 digital cable subscribers were added during the quarter, mainly as a result of analogue subscribers transferring to digital services.
The report in full can be accessed by clicking here.

Data sourced from Ofcom (UK); additional content by WARC staff