Digital Television Update - 2006 Q3

20 December 2006


The three months to the end of September 2006 (Q3) saw 800,000 net conversions to digital television (DTV). Q3 was also a strong quarter for sales of digital terrestrial television (DTT) equipment, with total sales approaching 1.4 million.

The proportion of households in the UK which received digital television services on their primary TV set increased by 3.1 percentage points during the three months to September 2006 to reach 73.3%.

With a further 1.6% of households subscribing to analogue cable at the end of Q3 2006, the total number of homes receiving some form of multi-channel television stood at 74.8%.

Key findings

Key developments in the third quarter of 2006 included:

  • DTT units sold during the quarter approached 1.4 million, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of sales in excess of one million. Year on year, Q3 2006 sales were 36% higher, assisted by growing sales of integrated digital televisions (IDTVs), which accounted for 40% of all DTT units sold in the quarter.
  • The number of households with digital TV equipment connected to their main television set rose by almost 814,000 to reach over 18.5 million.
  • 74% of that growth was explained by new DTT-only households, which increased by 602,000 to 7,004,000 over the quarter. This was a strong quarter of growth for new DTT homes following a slower first half of 2006.
  • Latest Ofcom estimates suggest there were also around 750,000 free-to-view digital satellite homes. Meaning that in total there are now around 7.8 million free-to-view digital households (DTT and free-to-view satellite).
  • The number of BSkyB UK subscribers rose by 68,000 to over 7.8 million. When free-to-view satellite viewers are included, the total number of satellite homes was approaching 8.6 million.
  • The number of net cable subscribers increased by 22,000 during the quarter and now stands at over 3.3 million. Analogue cable subscriptions fell by 63,500 while digital cable increased by almost 85,800. Digital cable subscribers now account for over 2.9 million, or 88%, of all cable.

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. Satellite and cable subscriber figures are already shown net of second receivers (e.g. a household with two Sky boxes is only recorded once).

Full Report 

Digital Progress Report - Digital TV, Q3 2006 (PDF, 193.4 KB)