Long day's journey into night for the UK's analog television signal has been brightened by reports that consumers are snapping-up digital equipment.

Broadcasting Minister James Purnell told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that nearly 800,000 digital set-top boxes and TV sets were sold during the November 26-December 24 holiday season.

That figure is a 25% increase on the same period in 2004 - proof says Purnell that the Blair administration's policies for the analog switchoff in 2012 are working.

He also told the committee that poorer and more vulnerable viewers who cannot afford - or lack the knowhow - to install their own equipment will be offered help.

However, Purnell offered no compensation comfort to viewers who will lose access to TV stations when the analog signal is switched off. He said the government had not yet decided whether to offer assistance in upgrading to satellite services.

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff