Awareness of digital switchover among UK adults is growing, according to latest research by Ofcom and Digital UK, the public service broadcaster and digital multiplex operator-funded body charged with coordinating the Government's 2008-2012 switchover timetable. Their joint switchover tracker survey shows awareness rose from 66% in the second quarter of 2006 to 70% in the three months to the end of September, exactly meeting Digital UK's awareness target.
"Overall while there remains a significant conversion challenge, the public does not seem concerned, with 79% feeling comfortable with the switchover," said the report. "More than half of the population (52%) has an accurate understanding of what they need to do for digital switchover."
That proportion increases to 75% among those who are aware of the change. "When asked specifically on switchover implications for all TV sets in the household 67% said that they knew they needed to get digital on every TV set, up from 64% in Q2, and rising in line with growth in awareness."
However knowledge of the relevant regional date for switchover was slightly lower in Q3 than in Q2: in Q2 10% of respondents could cite the correct year for their region whereas in Q3 only 8% gave the correct date.
Just 1% of respondents said they would not convert any TV for switchover, down from 3% in Q2.
The report estimates that by the end of June there were 1.8m digital TV recorders in UK homes, including Sky+, digital terrestrial recorders and other devices such as Telewest's TV Drive and TiVo.
"Despite this more analogue recorders continue to be sold at retail than digital recorders," said the report. "In Q3, according to figures from GfK, 449,000 analogue VCRs were sold in retail outlets, compared to just 47,000 digital recorders. There is an opportunity for retailers to communicate the enhanced benefits of digital recorders to consumers at point of sale, especially in the context of growing awareness of switchover."
Digital UK said it "recognised that low understanding of the regional dates for switchover is problematic, and will seek to address this issue in future communications by ensuring that dates are included in all regional communications".
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