LONDON:  There are now 22.2 million UK homes in which there is at least one digital television set, reports communications regulator Ofcom.

The watchdog's quarterly Digital Television Progress Report, covering the October-December 2007 period, shows multichannel TV is now installed in  87.6% of all households, up from 86.1% in the preceding quarter.

As previously, the growth is led by the Freeview platform – available without subscription via digitally-enabled TV receivers or analogue sets connected to a digital coverter.

Cable TV also enjoyed a strong quarter adding over 61,000 customers to reach almost 3.5m subscribers, its highest level of take-up since 2002.

Among the key trends for the fourth quarter are ...

    Digital Terrestrial Television
  • Over 4m Freeview devices were sold during the quarter, up from 2.4m in the previous quarter. This is the highest quarterly sale figure so far, with growth fuelled by an increase in sales of IDTVs (Integrated Digital Televisions) and set-top boxes.
  • IDTVs saw an increase of 132% year on year and means that almost 70% of all TVs sold during the quarter were digital. Set-top box sales reached almost 1.8m in the quarter, up by 25% on last year's figure and the highest quarterly sales to date.
  • Over 15m homes now have a Freeview device connected to at least one television, an increase of 1.3m on the previous quarter. 
  • More secondary TV sets in people's homes are being converted to digital, with many consumers having already converted their main sets. Of the 19.4m DTT enabled sets, 10.1m are now second sets.

    Digital Satellite Television (BSkyB) 

  • The News Corporation-controlled service increased its subscriber base by 145,000 during the quarter to reach 8.3m with over 321,000 additions year-on year. When combined with free-to-view satellite households, total satellite households reached almost 9.4m. 
  • The number of Sky subscribers taking the Multiroom service reached over 1.5m, an increase of 305,000 during 2007, this means that 17% of Sky customers now have at least one extra set connected to satellite TV. 
  • Sky's high definition service, Sky HD, added 64,000 subscribers taking the total number to over 420,000.
  • The number of customers using Sky+ service increased by 434,000 to reach over 3m for the first time

    Cable Television (Virgin Media)

  • Cable, with 13.6% share of the television market, has now overtaken analogue terrestrial viewing to become the third largest platform for the first time. Analogue terrestrial viewing  fell by nine percentage points from 21.4% to 12.4% over the past twelve months. 
  • There were over 260,000 subscribers to Virgin Media's digital video recorder service (Virgin+) by the end of the quarter, up by 72,000 on the previous quarter. 
  • Nearly half of all Virgin subscribers (1.5m) were using its video on demand service per month, with viewing up by 45% on the previous quarter.
The complete Digital Television Progress Report can be downloaded by clicking here.

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