LONDON: Twenty-one million (85% of) British households are now hooked up to digital television with all three major platforms - Freeview, BSkyB and Virgin Media - recording increases in usage, according to communications regulator Ofcom.

The watchdog reported that the number of Freeview set-top boxes sold during the second quarter of 2007 rose year-on-year by 700,000 to 1.9 million.

A total of 12.9m households now use the Freeview platform, which was responsible for more than 80% of the growth in the market in the quarter.

News Corporation controlled Sky now boasts more than eight million subscribers after posting a year-on-year rise in registrations of 336,000.

Its High Definition service added nearly 50,000 users during the period, bringing the total to almost 300,000.

Cable is received by 13.4% of homes (or 3.4 million subscribers), and has reached its highest level of takeup since the same quarter in 2004.

Whitehaven, in north-west England, will be the first area of the UK to have its analogue signal switched off on 17 October, with digital transition rolling-out across the country until completion in 2012.

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