Digital TV sales soar as Brits flock to Freeview
iDTVs outsell set-top boxes
What did you get the missus for Christmas? An iPhone? A Wii? Or perhaps like millions of other Brits, you got her a Freeview-enabled telly or set-top box? Sales of Freeview-branded hardware rose to 3.8m units during the Christmas quarter.
Freeview, the brand under which digital terrestrial TV operates in the UK, had its best quarter ever around Christmas, according to its own examination of figures from market watcher Gfk. However, 2007 as a whole wasn’t a bad year for Freeview either, because UK consumers bought 9.7m Freeview-branded products, an increase of 64 per cent year-on-year.
Sky, by contrast, took on 167,000 subscribers in the last three months of 2007. Virgin Media signed up 61,100 more subscribers in the same period. Currently 8.8m homes subscribe to Sky, 4.8m to Virgin's cable TV service.
Sales of tellies with integrated digital tuners shot up by 133 per cent during Q4 2007, with 2.1m sold. Some 1.7m set-top boxes were sold in the quarter. But for the year as a whole, sales of Freeview set-tops grew 27 per cent on 2006's total.
Gfk estimates that there’s still an estimated 19m analogue TVs without a digital feed - the analogue signal is to be culled completely by 2012. A recent National Audit Office survey found that almost one third of the UK population doesn’t understand that digital TV equipment will be needed to keep them up-to-date with Eastenders and Hollyoaks after that time.
However, a big chunk of Brits know how to record their favourite TV shows from a digital signal. Gfk found that sales of digital video recorders (DVRs) with Freeview Playback stickers on them rose by 78 per cent in December 2007, up from over 500,000 units in December 2006. Such units now account for 50 per cent of the UK’s total DVR market. For example, Sharp last year upgraded its Freeview DVR, now known as the TU-R160HA, to incorporate support for Freeview Playback, its brand for DVR functionality and series-spanning programme recording.
People living in Whitehaven, Cumbria have already had their analogue TV transmission cut, meaning anyone still with analogue TV reception isn't able to pick-up BBC 1, ITV 1 and Channel 4.
Sky was the obvious choice for me.
With only Analogue or Sky available at my house it was an easy choice.
I however see Sky TV as a value added bonus to my broadband package, therefore Sky TV costs me £2.01 on top of my 16Mbps broadband. (i.e 16Mbps from Ukonline costs £24.99 - total cost of Sky TV + Broadband at £27 = £2.01)
Sky+ means I don't have to watch all the c**p I just record and watch when I want and fast forward through the adverts.
Of course I knew when buying my HDTV that it was never going to be connected to freeview so I bought a cheaper model without the freeview tuner.
Clarification on Whitehaven
Given that i live there i'm in the best position to whinge :p
There is no analog signal whatsoever - BBC2 INCLUDED. We have *never* been able to recieve Channel 5 analog.
The switch over to digital, thank god did not require any new aerials - the one that's been in the loft for the last 25 years is perfectly adequate, simply a set top box for where we needed them and away we went...
Only... we only get 3 of the 6 channel muxes, with no plans to increase that. As such the *good* channels we don't really get - no E4, More4, Film4, Five US, Dave and others. BBC1-4, ITV1-4, Ch4, five, (some) radio and news.
It's an improvement i suppose, the picture quality is improved (ish, compression artifacts are introduced but 'watchability' is better) but we don't get as much as what you'd get in a city.
My 50"HD TV shows up the limitations of freeview.... it's unwatchable on a modern/large TV.
Freeview need to stop sitting on their laurels and start pushing for a HD service. I'm not convinced it will even survive to 2012 in it's current form.
Digital TV is a scam
Try watching the lottery on a digital TV on Saturday, especially the bit where the balls are moving about in the machine. It dissolves into a mass of boxes even with a latest gen decoder.
Turn over and watch Ant and Dec (for purely scientific reasons only). The shots of the studio audiences are particularly fine examples of how poor DTV is.
How about football matches and Formula One. It's all shite to look at.
Digital TV is the biggest scam being foisted on the TV watching public ever and all sorts of spin is being pushed at us to fob us off.
"It'll all be better when we can up the strength of the signal when we switch off analogue" is my favourite. It's nothing to do with signal strength. It's a fundamental problem of compression and bandwidth. A classic example of another new technology not being as good as it's predecessor.
They also want us to switch so they can flog off the freed up spectrum.
Sky / Virgin
Be interested to know how many people have CANCELLED their subscriptions to Sky and moved over to Virgin or just stuck with Freeview. We nearly cancelled ours because our 3rd box died within 8 weeks of replacing our 2nd dead one and they wanted to charge us £68 for it. Told them to stuff it and cancel our account, we'll try Virgin. Never seen someone wriggle so bad to get a sale!! Mention Virgin and they'd give us ANYTHING! Ended up with a FREE new box - and the good one at that, not the Amstrad junk we'd had - and NO contract! If it dies again - it'll be Freeview or Virgin for sure.