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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Freeview 'overtakes analogue TV'
The cast of Desperate Housewives
Digital channel E4 shows US drama Desperate Housewives
Digital TV service Freeview has become more popular than analogue television, says media watchdog Ofcom.

Almost 7.1m households now watch TV using Freeview on their main set. Only 6.4m homes still rely on the analogue TV signal.

18 million homes now watch some form of digital television, with satellite being the most popular choice.

Sky has 7.7m subscribers, while 3.3m watch cable TV and 645,000 use free-to-view satellite services.

The government wants the entire country to switch to digital television by 2012.

Last year, Culture minister Tessa Jowell announced that analogue television signals would start to be phased out in 2008.

According to Ofcom, 72.5% of households with TV sets now watch digital services, up from 69.5% at the end of 2005.

Jane Hill and Chris Eakin on News 24
BBC News 24 is one of the channels available on Freeview
Freeview offers more than 30 TV channels, compared to the hundreds available on satellite and cable.

However, the service does not require a monthly subscription.

Around 1.2m Freeview boxes were sold in the first three months of this year, an increase of 40% compared to the same period in 2005.

Ofcom estimates that one-third of those sales are second sets for houses which already have digital TV services.

Freeview is a joint venture between the BBC, BSkyB, National Grid Wireless, ITV and Channel 4.

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