Digital TV in over 80% of UK Homes, Freeview Overtakes Sky

June 27, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment | Technology | Television

More than 80% of UK homes now have digital television on the main set, according to Ofcom’s Digital Television Progress Report for the first quarter of 2007. That level of household digital TV adoption (80.5%, or 20.4 million homes) is up from 77.2% the previous quarter.

The report also finds that Freeview is on the main set in 8.4 million homes (up from 7.7 million in the previous quarter), and has now overtaken the number of Sky UK subscribers (8.0 million in Q1).

During the quarter a further 869,000 UK homes acquired digital television for the first time, following over a million additions in the previous quarter.


Key trends for the first quarter of 2007 include the following:

  • Digital Terrestrial Television – Freeview services
    • In total, 1.96 million Freeview devices (set-top boxes plus integrated digital televisions) were sold during the quarter, up from 1.2 million in the first quarter of 2006 (61% rise year-on-year). This was the highest first quarter for Freeview sales ever.
    • Digital terrestrial television accounted for 81% (670,000) of the growth in the digital television market during the quarter.
    • Some 11.7 million homes (46%) are now viewing television on at least one Freeview device – 1.1 million more than at the end of the previous quarter.
  • Digital Satellite Television – Sky subscribers and free-to-view satellite services
    • Sky grew its customer base by 32,020 during the quarter, taking its total number of UK subscribers to just over 8 million.
    • Free-to-view satellite added 70,000 homes during the quarter, taking the total number of homes on this platform to 885,000.
    • Some 2.17 million Sky customers (27% of all customers) now subscribe to Sky’s personal video recorder service, up from 1.96 million in Q4 2006.
  • Cable Television – Virgin Media services plus others
    • With 3.4 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, cable rose to its highest level of adoption in almost five years (13.4% of UK homes).
    • Cable gained an additional 36,100 new homes during the quarter, outperforming growth in subscription satellite (32,020 new homes) for the first time since the third quarter of 2001.
    • Virgin Media added 71,000 subscribers to its personal video recorder service during the quarter, up 90% from 79,000 in Q4 2006 to 150,000.
  • Television over Broadband (Tiscali TV)
    • An additional 19,000 homes took a broadband television service during the quarter, an increase of 44.2% on the previous quarter.
    • The total number of homes now receiving television over broadband stands at 62,000.

The full report is available at the Ofcom website.


1. The term “digital television household” is defined by the kind of digital service viewed on the household’s primary television set. Therefore, a household with satellite or cable on the primary television set but digital terrestrial television (DTT) on a second set would be defined as a satellite or cable digital household. A household with DTT services on the primary television set and other analogue sets in the home would be counted as a DTT household.

2. Figures for Sky television refer only to active Sky subscriptions in the UK and do not include former subscribers who may have churned and who continue to receive the free-to-air channels.

3. BT Vision customers are not counted within the television over broadband figure. This is because whilst downloading is available over broadband, live scheduled television via BT Vision is delivered via DTT.

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