Leading consumer electronics companies and electrical retailers have announced a series of measures aimed at increasing the supply of digital television products ahead of the UK's region-by-region digital switchover.
The Digital Switchover Supply Chain Group, representing firms such as Currys, Comet, Tesco, Sony and Panasonic, said it would also take steps to improve levels of information about equipment available to consumers.
The measures include:
- Accelerating the availability of Digital TVs across all product lines, including small sets (16-inch screens and below)
- Withdrawing analogue TV equipment from sale in each region in the 12 months leading up to switchover in that area—or bundling its sale with a digital reception solution such as a digital set-top box or digital TV recorder
- Clear consumer information in stores making clear that analogue sets will require conversion at switchover
- Labeling all digital equipment with the 'digital tick' indicating it will work before, during and after switchover
- Phasing out the sale of non-digital recorders, including analogue DVD recorders.
The supply chain group said that in the first seven months of 2007, UK consumers purchased more than 4m televisions. Almost nine out of ten (89%) larger sets purchased had digital tuners built in, while 1.9m smaller screen sets—under 26-inches—were sold during the same period, of which 85% were analogue. In the recorder market, 1.4m items have been sold so far this year, 64% of which were analogue.
Danny Churchill, co-chairman of the Digital Switchover Supply Chain Group, said: "We've already seen a rapid transformation in the market for larger, flat screen televisions, the vast majority of which are now digital. The moves we are announcing today will further benefit consumers by continuing that transformation across the full range of television and recording equipment."
Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital UK, the digital switchover coordination body, said: "It's good to see the electrical industry joining forces to make such a positive contribution to preparing the UK for switchover. Consumers need a full range of digital products to choose from and clear labeling to ensure that any purchase is made in the full knowledge that analogue TV will soon be a thing of the past."
Stephen Timms, minister of state for competitiveness, said: "I am delighted that representatives of TV equipment manufacturers and retailers have come forward with sensible and practical measures to address the issue of continuing sales of analogue televisions and recording equipment. These should provide important support to consumers as they prepare for digital switchover."
Lovelace Consulting | 14.09.2007