Television viewers will have a say in the price of the licence fee, with the government conducting research before it sets the cost for the next decade.
Tessa Jowell announced plans to survey the public on the licence fee
Each licence will go up to £131.50 on Saturday, and the BBC has requested future rises of 2.3% above inflation.
The public's views would have "a material impact" on the final sums, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said.
She also told a media forum in London that Britain led the world in digital TV, a product people "want and like".
"We are probably more developed than any other European country in our plans for digital switchover," she said.
A government White Paper currently under consideration calls for the BBC to be at the forefront of making the switch from analogue to digital TV by 2012.
BBC chairman Michael Grade used the same conference to outline what he calls "the BBC's four alleged deadly sins", the most frequent criticisms made of the corporation.
He said the BBC needed to be clearer and more transparent about its own direction and "no longer arrogant" but listening and responding to audiences.
It should be better at delivering value to licence fee payers, and held to account by an effective governance system, he added.
Mr Grade said he was "determined" to ensure these changes took place over the next few years.