LONDON: Freeview, the UK's no-fee digital television platform offering over forty channels, notched its best-ever performance in the last quarter of 2007 with retail sales of digital-enabled devices passing the 3.8 million mark.

For the year as a whole 9.7m Freeview-compatible TVs, set-top boxes and personal video recorders were sold, a new record 64% up year-on-year.

Sponsored by five shareholders (BBC, BSkyB Channel 4, ITV and National Grid Wireless) and launched in October 2002, Freeview provides free-to-air digital TV channels, radio stations and interactive services through an antenna.

"Every year Freeview confounds our expectations," said the platform's general manager Ilse Howling. "I think it is a tribute to the outstanding quality of the Freeview channels and the simplicity of how to get Freeview. You pay once and the rest of the offer is entirely free."

There could, of course, be another reason for the recent surge in uptake.

The analogue switch-off process began in October last year, with the small town of Whitehaven losing its BBC2 signal – a process that will accelerate across the whole of the UK over the next four years, culminating in the final switch-off in 2012.

The horrendous prospect of darkened screens has seemingly concentrated the minds - or perhaps the fears - of the Great British Public.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff