UK charges ahead on digital TV

We may only just be catching up with the US and Japan on high-def, but there is officially one area where we lead the world in television: digital TV.

We may only just be catching up with the US and Japan on high-def, but there is officially one area where we lead the world in television: digital TV.

According to a report from telly regulator OFCOM, more than 70 per cent of UK homes can now enjoy the delights of The Mighty Boosh on digital. That’s up from just below 70 before Christmas and way beyond the 55 per cent penetration – stop sniggering already – the US has achieved.

Our backwards, sun-worshipping European cousins are even further behind -  not even tech-savvy Germany has passed the 50 per cent mark.

The other big news is that Sky’s share of the digital pie has spun out of control: it’s gobbled up 7.6 million customers – several of the Stuff team included. This means that for the first time more Brits are watching Eastenders and other shows on digital satellite than old fashioned analogue terrestrial.

The findings also reveal the gulf between the likes of Sky and Freeview – which accounted for 7 out of 10 people getting digital last year – and newly merged cable company NTL Incorporated, which accounts for a meagre 13.2 per cent of all digital homes.

That’ll make sad reading for Sir Richie Branson, who’s hoping to buy NTL and stick his Virgin TV badge on it.

In the future, OFCOM predicts 95 per cent of us will have digital telly by 2010. Let’s hope so – The Man will begin turning the lights off on analogue terrestrial in 2008 region-by-region, finishing in 2012.

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