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DTT is key to UK HD take-up

3 May 2007

Recent Strategy Analytics research forecasts that 90% of UK homes will be watching HDTV by 2020 as long as Ofcom allocates spectrum on the DTT platform for the format. Without HD on DTT, it warns that a mere 60% of homes will be watching HDTV by the same date, writes Andy Stout.

The report ‘HDTV and DTT: The Impact Of Platform Evolution Decisions On HDTV Adoption Scenarios’ suggests that the decision on HD-DTT is closely tied to overall policy on the future of public service broadcasting (PSB), and that the availability of HD-DTT is necessary to ensure that PSB does not become unduly weakened relative to pay and commercial television services.

There is currently a fierce debate in the UK on the proposed allocation of Digital Dividend broadcast spectrum after analogue television is switched off. Broadcasters, such as the BBC and Channel Four, have argued strongly for capacity for HDTV on DTT, but other industry groups are expected to push for emerging services such as wireless broadband.

“The Ofcom and UK government decisions on HD-DTT over the next few months will shape the UK’s broadcasting environment for many years to come,” notes David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics. “They must consider the long term impact on public service broadcasting before making any final decision on spectrum allocation.”

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