UK uptake of HD depends on Ofcom DTT decision, report says

May 1, 2007

Ninety percent of UK homes will be watching HDTV by 2020 as long as the spectrum regulatory agency in the UK allocates spectrum on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform for HD, according to a Strategy Analytics forecast.

The forecast, part of the "HDTV and DTT: The Impact Of Platform Evolution Decisions On HDTV Adoption Scenarios" report, estimates that without HD on DTT, the number of UK homes watching HD in 2020 will be only 60 percent.

This report suggests that the HD-DTT decision is closely tied to overall policy on the future of public service broadcasting (PSB). The availability of HD-DTT is necessary to ensure that PSB does not become unduly weakened relative to pay and commercial TV services, it said.

There is currently a fierce debate in the UK on the proposed allocation of "digital dividend" broadcast spectrum after analog television is switched off. Broadcasters, such as the BBC and Channel Four, have argued strongly for capacity for HDTV on DTT, but other industry groups are expected to push for emerging services such as wireless broadband.

The decisions of Ofcom, the UK spectrum regulator, and the UK government on HD-DTT during the next few months will shape the nation's broadcasting environment for years, according to David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics.

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