1.1 The three months to the end of December 2006 (Q4) saw over 1,000,000 net household conversions to digital television (DTV) in the UK, following on from 800,000 additions in the previous Q3. Growth was driven by another strong quarter for digital terrestrial television (DTT), with total sales of DTT equipment reaching 2.4 million.
1.2 The digital cable and satellite platforms also added over 300,000 households between them during the quarter. This means that 77.2% of households now receive digital television services on their primary set, up 3.9 percentage points from the previous quarter.
1.3 With a further 1.4% of households subscribing to analogue cable, the total number of homes receiving multi-channel television at the end of Q4 2006 stood at 78.6%.
1.4 Key developments in the fourth quarter of 2006 included:
- The number of households with digital TV equipment connected to their main television set rose by around 1,002,000 to reach over 19.5 million.
- Over 2.4 million DTT units were sold during the quarter, meaning sales have now exceeded the million mark for each of the last six quarters. Year on year, Q4 2006 sales were 24% higher, assisted by growing sales of integrated digital televisions (IDTVs), with sales exceeding 1million in Q4.
- 70% of the growth in digital TV homes was accounted for by new DTT-only households, which increased by around 700,000 to 7,703,000 over the quarter.
- Latest Ofcom estimates suggest there were also around 815,000 free-to-view digital satellite homes. Bringing total free-to-view households to around 8.5 million (DTT and free-to-view satellite).
- The number of BSkyB UK subscribers rose by 158,980 and approached 8.0 million by the end of Q4. When free-to-view satellite viewers are included, the total number of satellite homes was almost 8.8 million.
- The number of net cable subscribers increased by 38,500 during the quarter with total subscribers of over 3.3 million. Digital cable subscribers increased by almost 84,000 and now account for over 3.0 million, or almost 90%, of all cable.
1.5 In calculating platform totals in the report, DTT-only homes are defined as those households where DTT is the only digital TV platform in the home. A household with satellite or cable on the main TV set and DTT on a second set, would be counted primarily as a satellite or cable home. Figures for all homes with DTT are included in section 3 of the report.
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