back to article Digital TV sales soar as Brits flock to Freeview

What did you get the missus for Christmas? An iPhone? A Wii? Or perhaps like millions of other Brits, you got her a Freeview-enabled telly or set-top box? Sales of Freeview-branded hardware rose to 3.8m units during the Christmas quarter. Freeview, the brand under which digital terrestrial TV operates in the UK, had its best …

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  1. Ben Mathews

    Of course...

    This could have less to do with the attraction of freeview and more to do with the fact than most TVs seem to have it now as standard.

    The 32" LG I bought just before christmas has freeview but has only ever been connected to a PC and never tuned for TV.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You're the transmitter / give information

    "... the analogue signal is to be culled completely by 2012. ... almost one third of the UK population doesn’t understand that digital TV equipment will be needed to keep them up-to-date with Eastenders and Hollyoaks after that time."

    On the other hand, 2012 is the year of The Singularity, after which Eastenders and Hollyoaks will no longer exist - or at least not in a form that we understand today. From that point onwards they will be written by intelligent thinking machines, rather than the current situation, where they are not.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    No analogue

    >> People living in Whitehaven, Cumbria have already had their analogue TV transmission cut, meaning anyone still with analogue TV reception isn't able to pick-up BBC 1, ITV 1 and Channel 4

    Sounds like where I live, north-east Kent can't get ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Only difference is we don't have reliable Freeview either. We can get French and Dutch TV though.

  4. Mike Richards

    I had to buy a Freeview set...

    As almost all of them are branded as such.

    It doesn't matter to the bureaucrats that I've got no Freeview signal; they will still add one to the number of people enjoying the brilliant clarity of the picture breakup on BidUp TV.

  5. jai

    freeview

    i just got a new telly, and it has freeview enabled

    was never able to get freeview whenever i've tried to tune in a device before, but gave it a go anyway and the signal must have increased in the last 6 months because it was able to pick up loads of channels

    admittedly, there still the same tripe on the freeview channels as there are on Sky and VirginMedia, but at least i'm not paying each month for the priviledge to not-view the tripe. so shall be phoning up VirginMedia to cancel the telly service and in 2 years time the telly will have paid for itself.

    even in the Big Storm earlier this week, the signal was pretty good - only really broke up to the point of being unwatchable a couple of times on Channel 5 - but then, it's only once in a blue moon that anything on C5 is worth watching anyway so no worries

  6. GrahamT
    Happy

    @jai

    I think the Freeview tuners have got better recently, too. I have had two set top boxes - the first one when it was ITV Digital - and got a Panasonic TV and DVR in January, both with integrated Freeview.

    The TV and DVR are miles better than either set-top box with far less freezing and pixelation.

    Shame there are so many crap stations.

    The station IDs for Film Four show how good the image can be given a good signal and bitrate.

  7. Anonymous John
    Paris Hilton

    Er, no

    I've just bought a flat screen TV only because it's HD. No digital TV from my local transmitter until 2012, and possibly never.

    I'll be going digital when Freesat gets off its backside and starts its satellite service.

    Paris, as she can't get Freeview either.

  8. paul
    Linux

    Open Access

    I expect a lot of people bought nice new HD tellys - thinking that the freeview service does HD. I also expect a lot of them using their new tellys think they already have HD. Blame it on offcom.

    For Sky and Virgin - they must feel like linux. A windows computer is sold and linux installed. Count one for a windows install; none for linux.

    Although , as the article points out - some of the increase is due to PVRs.

    Freeview success - its open standard (DVB-T) with no DRM / encryption.

  9. Jonathon Green
    Paris Hilton

    No surprises there then...

    ...as big high street chains (notably the DSG owned ones[1]) have stopped stocking ye Olde Anologue TVe Settes.

    But then who'd be silly enough to buy a TV which is going to be a big expensive paperweight within a few years anyway?

    Paris, because she's confused by digital switchover too...

    [1] http://uk.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUKL2263647720080122

    --

    JG

  10. Alex Brooker
    Thumb Up

    analogue off and power up the digital?

    I heard somewhere that when the analogue is switched off the power on the digital signal can be ramped up a bit so no signal now doesn't mean no signal in 2012. Small comfort I know as you won't know till you try it, but each new generation of freeview boxes seem to improve the number of channels I get...

  11. Hedley Easter

    Freeview

    non-Sky Freesat looks much more interesting/ BBC HD trialing and more channels likely to join// Terrestrial and Satellite now seems like unneceesary duplication

  12. OpenSauce

    Freeview HD

    There are already plans to trial Freeview HD (High Definition) as mention on The Reg not long ago.

    What they are keeping quiet about it the fact that existing Freeview tuners won't work with the HD broadcasts.

    You could always try Free 2 Air satellite as a free alternative to Sky.

    Maplin have some deals on kit until 18th March.

    I'm just glad I don't own a TV.

    Pink Floyd - The Wall - Nobody Home - showed us the future with "13 channels of sh*t on my TV to choose from".

    Seemed a lot of channels back then 30 years ago. LOL.

  13. John Sims
    Dead Vulture

    Confusion for the non-technical minded

    I've had numerous people mention that they are going to have to buy a "freeview ready TV" because the adverts say if they haven't got one then they won't be able to watch TV after the switchover. These are all people with freeview decoders plugged into their existing TV. They now understand after I explained. It makes me wonder how many other people out there with external decoders have gone out to buy a new TV to feed their telly addiction without needing to.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Er Yes

    She can, Paris France has had digital free view for a while, and will be switching off in 2011.

    (Plus chip & pin, fast trains, cheaper wine/beer/fuel)

  15. Phil the Geek
    Go

    Freeview aerials

    I replaced my TV aerial (£25 for a "wideband" Jodrell Bank alternative via eBay), spent 30 death-defying minutes on the roof and Bingo! I now have all the Freeview channels and they're always perfect.

    The rusting relic I had before was fine for all the analogue channels from my local transmitter, but some of the digital channels are transmitted in a different band that it couldn't get. When they turn up the digital power in 2012 the new aerial will probably vaporise my Freeview box!

  16. Keith SLoan
    Stop

    I thought that any current FreeView box will need replacing.

    I was under the impression that any current FreeView set top Box or TV will need replacing in a couple of years time as the technology changes from MPEG2 to MPEG4.

    What a complete waste !!!!!

    Going to do wonders for the countries Landfill sites.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    I too have read that when the analogue is turned off they can increase power to digital, improving the reception. Maybe it's true. But I also read that once they sell off the nearby frequencies for other use, then the interference and poor reception will be back just as before.

    Seems to me that the government just does this to 'make' money, while the rest of us suckers have to pay to upgrade everything.

    Meanwhile what surprise ? People buy TVs, they're going to buy the ones with the future tech not the past. Whether they work with HD or not is hardly a problem. No one riots in this country anyway, no matter how much they're abused by the powers that be.

  18. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Well, we've Freeview (plus $ky or Freesatfrom$ky or even Freesat, maybe)

    Now, all we need is some content worth watching!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excitement

    Whoopee!

    Only 4 more years (2012) to wait until Freeview becomes available in my town of 100,000 residents.

    I can't wait to welcome in the 1990's.

  20. Dick Emery
    Coat

    Why don't they...

    Offer TV's without the tuner? I'd rather have an HD display and no TV licence to buy and just watch pre-recorded material.

    Also my parents Freeview signal is the pits down near Broadstairs. They seriously need to get their loft aerial converted to something outside where it stands a better chance of actually getting a good signal amd not having breakup every time a motorcycle without a suppressor passes by (When are they going to ban those people?)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pfff, transmitted tv

    I rarely watch 'regular' transmitted tv anymore, most of it is crap and the good stuff you have to remember set an alarm or some automated recording of it to watch, but that's few and far between - instead I get most of my tv shows from the net, in the case of US shows there's no waiting months/years until sky/bbc/itv/ch4 pick it up (ie Dexter, already seen both seasons) or not (Lucky Louie & a string of other shows that never made it to UK broadcasts) I can watch it within hours of it being aired in the US.

    Sure not a lot of UK shows get distributed online (QI, Mock The Week etc. would be most welcome) but a fair share do get onlined. Oh and you can get great shows from other countries too, like jPod & ReGenesis from Canada.

    Still on analogue here as there's no freeview signal and haven't bothered with a sky dish yet - digital upgrade stuff should be free or as close to free as possible so people don't have an excuse when the changeover occurs, of which I won't look into getting digital until after our local analogue transmitter is switched off, probably like a lot of other people when they find their tv just shows snow.

    I am looking forward to the analogue switch-off for one reason, all those pocket tvs being dumped on eBay and (hopefully) sold at ridiculously low prices because there's no analogue signal for them to work with anymore.

  22. Iain

    @Dick Emery

    If you don't want a tuner, consider either an LCD monitor for small sizes, or if you need the big screen a Panasonic professional-series panel like the ones in Tesco. The latter give a wonderful picture over HDMI, component or SCART if you buy the appropriate interface boards, and don't come with a tuner as standard.

  23. Matty
    Boffin

    Sky / Virgin

    Be interested to know how many people have CANCELLED their subscriptions to Sky and moved over to Virgin or just stuck with Freeview. We nearly cancelled ours because our 3rd box died within 8 weeks of replacing our 2nd dead one and they wanted to charge us £68 for it. Told them to stuff it and cancel our account, we'll try Virgin. Never seen someone wriggle so bad to get a sale!! Mention Virgin and they'd give us ANYTHING! Ended up with a FREE new box - and the good one at that, not the Amstrad junk we'd had - and NO contract! If it dies again - it'll be Freeview or Virgin for sure.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Digital TV is a scam

    Try watching the lottery on a digital TV on Saturday, especially the bit where the balls are moving about in the machine. It dissolves into a mass of boxes even with a latest gen decoder.

    Turn over and watch Ant and Dec (for purely scientific reasons only). The shots of the studio audiences are particularly fine examples of how poor DTV is.

    How about football matches and Formula One. It's all shite to look at.

    Digital TV is the biggest scam being foisted on the TV watching public ever and all sorts of spin is being pushed at us to fob us off.

    "It'll all be better when we can up the strength of the signal when we switch off analogue" is my favourite. It's nothing to do with signal strength. It's a fundamental problem of compression and bandwidth. A classic example of another new technology not being as good as it's predecessor.

    They also want us to switch so they can flog off the freed up spectrum.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Unfortunately

    My 50"HD TV shows up the limitations of freeview.... it's unwatchable on a modern/large TV.

    Freeview need to stop sitting on their laurels and start pushing for a HD service. I'm not convinced it will even survive to 2012 in it's current form.

  26. Dave

    Clarification on Whitehaven

    Given that i live there i'm in the best position to whinge :p

    There is no analog signal whatsoever - BBC2 INCLUDED. We have *never* been able to recieve Channel 5 analog.

    The switch over to digital, thank god did not require any new aerials - the one that's been in the loft for the last 25 years is perfectly adequate, simply a set top box for where we needed them and away we went...

    Only... we only get 3 of the 6 channel muxes, with no plans to increase that. As such the *good* channels we don't really get - no E4, More4, Film4, Five US, Dave and others. BBC1-4, ITV1-4, Ch4, five, (some) radio and news.

    It's an improvement i suppose, the picture quality is improved (ish, compression artifacts are introduced but 'watchability' is better) but we don't get as much as what you'd get in a city.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Sky was the obvious choice for me.

    With only Analogue or Sky available at my house it was an easy choice.

    I however see Sky TV as a value added bonus to my broadband package, therefore Sky TV costs me £2.01 on top of my 16Mbps broadband. (i.e 16Mbps from Ukonline costs £24.99 - total cost of Sky TV + Broadband at £27 = £2.01)

    Sky+ means I don't have to watch all the c**p I just record and watch when I want and fast forward through the adverts.

    Of course I knew when buying my HDTV that it was never going to be connected to freeview so I bought a cheaper model without the freeview tuner.

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