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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Digital 'must reach all viewers'
Family in a digital home
Nearly 60% of UK homes now have a digital TV
Digital TV should be available to at least 98.5% of UK households when the analogue signal is shut off in 2012, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has said.

This will enable the same proportion of viewers to continue to receive BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1 and Channel 4/S4C.

The government plans to begin the full digital switchover in 2008, with Welsh viewers in Ferryside and Llanstephan having already lost analogue signals.

Ofcom's conclusion came after examining technical aspects of the switchover.

Interactive services

The watchdog looked at the way digital TV will be transmitted, including power levels and the number of transmitters, in a consultation which began in February.

Ofcom backed a plan which would enable further digital TV services to be provided - such as interactive services, radio stations and High Definition television.

Currently 1.5% of UK households - about 375,000 homes - are unable to receive the four main public service TV channels via the traditional analogue signal.

Ofcom said it aimed to expand the reach of digital television beyond 98.5% as part of the switchover process.

"We are currently undertaking further research on these households, considering if and how they are using TV at present and what options will be available to them after switchover," Ofcom said.

So far the move towards digital TV has been a success story in the UK with almost 60% of households owning at least one digital receiver.

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