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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Digital TV take-up rise continues
Family in a digital home
Nearly 60% of UK homes now have a digital TV
Nearly six out of 10 UK homes now have access to digital TV, a new report from broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has said.

More than 900,000 digital TV boxes were bought in the last three months of 2004, taking the total to over 14 million, Ofcom said.

The news came as the first two villages in the UK shut off the analogue signal.

Around 450 households in Ferryside and Llanstephan in Carmarthenshire in Wales are able to receive digital TV only from Wednesday.

Extra boxes

The old analogue network is due to disappear in Wales by 2008 - ahead of a planned changeover across the entire UK in 2012.

Ofcom said its latest report "shows that by 31 December 2004 a total of 59.4% of UK households received digital television; an increase from 55.9% at 30 September 2004".

Ofcom said there were around five million households who had access to free-to-air digital television, and had at least one set capable of watching digital TV. Over 7.2m households subscribed to satellite BSkyB services.

More people were buying extra set-top boxes, the report suggested.

DIGITAL SWITCHOVER BY ITV REGION
HTV Wales 2008
Border 2008
West country 2008
Granada 2009
HTV West 2009
Grampian 2009
Scottish TV 2009
Central 2010
Yorkshire 2010
Anglia 2010
Meridian 2011
Carlton/LWT 2011
Tyne Tees 2011
Ulster 2011
Channel 2012

"Latest estimates suggest that 25% of sales of Freeview set-top boxes in the last quarter of 2004 were bought for use with second televisions by households which already receive digital broadcasts."

The west Wales households agreed to try digital set-top boxes when digital transmissions in the area began last November.

Homes were given digital receivers for each of their televisions.

A helpline was set up for residents' teething problems, and one-to-one support was made available to the elderly.

Digital TV
Many people are now buying second boxes

After three months, the households were asked if they wanted to keep the digital services or revert to analogue only.

More than 85% of households responded and 98% voted to retain the digital services.

Project director Emyr Byron Hughes said residents had taken to digital because it provided more services.

'More programmes'

He said: "It is such a leap forward even with the basic digital service, they have just taken to it."

Roy Barnes, from Ferryside, had been trying out digital services for the last three months.

"You can see more programmes, it's much easier to watch Channel 5 and Channel Four and I like the history programmes," he said.

A Department for Culture Media and Sport spokesman said the government had no firm date for when the UK's switchover would begin.

The government has said switching to digital would provide a major one-off boost for the UK economy.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
One resident's view of the switch-over



SEE ALSO:
Villages tune in to digital trial
01 Dec 04 |  South West Wales
'Digital plumbers' fix home nets
11 Mar 05 |  Technology
Stakes raised in fast net race
17 Mar 05 |  Technology
Britons embrace digital lifestyle
12 Aug 04 |  Technology


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