Ennals hails data as 'landmark' for switchover

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Digital UK chief Ford Ennals has hailed figures showing sales of digital TV receiving equipment overtook analogue for the first time as a "landmark moment" in the digital switchover campaign.

Market researcher GfK said digital TVs, set-top boxes and digital TV recorders took 51% of all television equipment sold in the three months to September. Sales data from 20,000 shops around the UK showed rising demand for flat-screen sets (up 83% on the year) and sharp fall in cathode ray receivers (down 40%).

Analogue sets are still outselling digital receivers: of the 1.47m sets sold this summer 935,000 were analogue, though that is down 24% on the year. Analogue VCR sales were down 38% and analogue DVD recorders were down 15%. Integrated digital TV sales rose 183% while sales of digital TV recorders leapt 342% year-on-year.

Ennals said: "While some shoppers continue to buy analogue televisions, they can be easily converted to digital as switchover approaches. We will continue to work closely with manufacturers and retailers to phase out the sale of analogue sets and ensure people understand the benefits of buying switchover-ready products."

In September Ennals called on TV manufacturers to phase out analogue television production. Research by Digital UK and Ofcom this summer showed awareness of switchover is rising, with 66% of the UK population aware of the 2008-2012 switchover process.

Last month Digital UK announced switchover timings for transmitters serving more than 4m households in West Country, Wales and Granada television regions. The three regions will have their analogue transmitters switched off between 2009 and 2010. The Cumbrian town of Whitehaven will switch to digital in October 2007; the rest of the Border region will follow in 2008 and be completed by the second quarter of 2009.

Lovelace Consulting  |  06.11.2006

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