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Brits turn to web for World Cup action

BBC iPlayer 1, Freeview HD 0?

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This year's World Cup could be the first footie tournament followed closely on the internet.

According to UK retailer DSG, which runs the PC World chain, a third of football fans will watch the contest's matches on the web.

The claim is based on the results of a survey of 3000-odd visitors to its outlets, so we'll leave it to you to judge how representative the sample is.

That said, DSG also claimed the last two weeks have seen a 30 per cent increase in the sale of internet TV gadgets. Rival retailer Argos yesterday said TV sales were significantly down in May. Are both a sign that Brits are turning to the net for their telly?

The Argos experience suggests Brits aren't flocking to buy Freeview HD upgrades. Freeview HD is one way to watch both BBC HD and ITV 1 HD, the only two UK channels broadcasting World Cup matches in high definition.

Well, DSG's definition of 'internet TV gadgets' is rather broad, stretching to powerline Ethernet adaptors, BlackBerries and 3G modems as well as the the kind of kit you'd expect to be included, such as Sling Media's Slingbox Pro - reviewed here.

But we suspect rather a lot of folk will use the likes of BBC iPlayer and ITV Player to watch games - particularly less critical ones - at a more convenient time.

DSG said that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) revealed they would be tuning on a computer, while one in ten expects to follow the action using a smartphone. ®

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