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Digital TV in 66 Percent of UK Homes

Digital television is now viewed in almost two-thirds of U.K. households, U.K. communications regulator Ofcom said Friday.

Digital penetration rose to 65.9 percent for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, from 63 percent in the second quarter of 2005. Digital viewing jumped by nearly 760,000 households in the third quarter to 16.5 million from 15.7 million at the end of the second quarter.

The growth rate has more than doubled against the second quarter, when Ofcom reported that 300,000 households had signed up to digital television. The total number of homes with free-to-view digital TV reached 6.3 million in the period, Ofcom said.

More than one million sales of Freeview, the free digital television platform backed by the British Broadcasting Corporation, British Sky Broadcasting PLC, National Grid and Channel 4, were recorded during the period, representing a 55 percent increase against the third quarter of 2004.

There are now 5.7 million households with Freeview as their only source of digital television viewing, Ofcom estimates, up from 5.2 million in the second quarter. In addition to Freeview, some households also have free satellite television, either through non-subscription Sky services or through Freesat, a joint initiative between the BBC and ITV.

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