Digital Television Update - 2009 Q1

29 June 2009


Survey results for the three months to the end of March 2009 show that take-up of multichannel television on main sets in UK households increased over the quarter to 89.6%, up by 0.7 percentage points (pp) from 88.9% in Q4 2008, and up by 2.4 pp year-on-year.

With a majority of main sets now able to receive digital TV, many consumers are now converting additional sets in the home; just over 61% of all secondary TV sets had been converted to multichannel by the end of Q1, up by around 8 percentage points in a year.

Taking these figures together, 73% of all TV sets had converted to multichannel television by the end of Q1 2009 (up 5.7 percentage points on a year ago and up by 0.8pp quarter-on-quarter). The remaining 27% of sets continue to receive analogue terrestrial broadcasts.

Other findings

Other findings in the first quarter of 2009 include:

  • Sales of DTT enabled equipment in Q1 reached almost 3.4 million units, up by 7% on Q1 2008. IDTVs accounted for almost 73% of sales in the quarter (2.5 million units), with around 93% of TV sets sold now being digital.
  • Freeview set-top boxes accounted for over 900,000 sales in the quarter, down 28% on last year as integrated TVs have become increasingly popular. Over the past year around 12.7 million DTT units have been sold, compared to around 11.7 million in the previous year, an increase of 8.5%.
  • DTT-only households (free and pay) rose by around 15,000 in Q1, with over 9.8 million homes now relying solely on DTT for multichannel viewing.
  • Q1 sales data for BBC/ITV freesat show that unit sales had reached around 350,000 by the end of March, up from 233,000 units in Q4. Around three quarters of freesat sales are HD compatible. According to consumer research results for Q1, around 500,000 homes claimed to be using some form of free-to-view digital satellite.
  • The Q1 survey also indicated that 9.4 million or almost 37% of homes received satellite TV services (either pay or free-to-view). Pay satellite homes accounted for almost 8.9 million with free-to-view adding a further 0.5m.
  • Almost 40% of households (around 10.2 million) now receive free-to-view digital television on their main set, 37.7% have non-pay DTT and 2.0% have free-to-view satellite.
  • Research results for Q1 show that cable television was in 13.2% of homes up from 12.8% the previous quarter. Separately, Virgin Media reported net additions of almost 30,600 new subscribers, taking its total TV customer base to over 3.65 million. Digital cable added over 41,400 subscribers in the quarter (including conversions from analogue cable) and now accounts for just over 96% of all cable television customers.

We have made the following assumptions in this report:

  • In calculating platform totals, DTT-only homes are defined as those where DTT is the only multichannel television platform in the home (figures for homes which have DTT as well as another platform are included in Sections 2 and 3 of the report).
  • A household with either a satellite or cable subscription in addition to DTT equipment is counted primarily as a satellite or cable home.

Full Report 

Digital Television Update - 2009 Q1 (PDF, 169.2 KB)