Freeview Dominates DTV Delivery in the U.K.

Service slated to hi-def in time for next year’s World Cup
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UNITED KINGDOM: More Britons elected to watch free over-the-air digital television than to pay for it, according to the Guardian. Free, terrestrial DTV is delivered via Freeview set-top boxes, which are now in more than 18 million U.K. homes. The majority of new takers are switching from the region’s old five-channel analog service.

In the West Country, where the DTV transition was completed in September, 80 percent of analog TV homes elected to get Freeview for their primary sets. Around 10 million homes across the United Kingdom are said to use Freeview for their primary sets. The set-tops include an integrated personal video recorder.

Freeview is a joint venture of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Arqiva and BSkyB, the satellite provider with 9.5 million subscribers in the region. Virgin Media, the cable provider, has around 3.7 million subscribers. Freeview, free save for the price of the set-top, provides 50 digital TV channels. A new HD version will be launched next year in time for the World Cup.

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