Freeview Questions

Mike_CA

Active Member
I've noticed that Freeview in the UK has grown in popularity over the past several years and yet free over the air (OTA) viewers in the US has steadily decreased during that same period even though all local stations in the US broadcast simulcast digital and analog channels.

Typically most major metropolitian areas in the US have 30 or more SD OTA stations and at least 6 HD OTA stations which include the national networks as well as local channels. Although many of the transmitters are usually clustered together in one area, some are located at different directions requiring an adjustment of the antenna. Some areas no longer allow roof top antennas (most however still allow SAT dishes) so reception can sometimes be difficult. Besides that, there always seems to be a mountain, hill, or building in line with the transmitters.

Therefore most households in the US do not want to put up with the headaches associated with OTA reception and have decided to use cable or SAT for TV reception. If the household is on a strict budget, they can get basic cable (all the local channels) for about $12 per month.

So how is that different in the UK? Why are so many households in the UK reverting back to terrestrial reception?
 

Jonstone

Well-known Member
Where do you get the idea terrestrial television has grown in popularity?

In the UK we basically have 5 options

Analogue OTA terrestrial channels

Digital freeview OTA terrestrial channels

Cable in some areas

Satellite in the form of Sky

Satellite in the form of the new freesat service.

Sky and cable have been increasing in subscribers every year so that means OTA has become less popular.

Freeview is more popular than it was but this is only because people have moved away from the analogue OTA service to the digital freeview option, as a whole I would say OTA services have fewer viewers than a few years ago
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
I've noticed that Freeview in the UK has grown in popularity over the past several years and yet free over the air (OTA) viewers in the US has steadily decreased during that same period even though all local stations in the US broadcast simulcast digital and analog channels.




It hasn't really.
People who have been using analogue terrestrial have simply switched to digital terrestrial at an increasing rate especially as they twigged the analogue shutdown was getting closer (it has begun on a region by region basis).
Dsat (SKY) had a huge lead in digital households thanks to the subsidised hardware and in the space of two years switching from analogue to digital but was overtaken by Freeview, no great surprise given that a lot of people could simply buy a $60-$400 set top box and connect it to the existing aerial which is pretty much default for UK homes.

For millions the extra 30 or so digital channels on the OTA (Freeview) service is enough as it contains the main terrestrials and their spinoff channels rather than paying a monthly sub to SKY (sat) or VM (cable). I suspect a significant segment of both SKY and VM customers also have Freeview as a second digital source, I have two Freeview boxes even though SKY is my main source.
 

Mike_CA

Active Member
This is a quote from an Ofcom report.

The report also shows that Freeview is now on the main set in 8.4 million homes (up from 7.7m in the previous quarter), and has now overtaken the number of Sky UK subscribers (8.0m in the first quarter of 2007).

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2008/03/nr_20080327

However dispite the above quote, you do seem to be correct that SAT and cable is still growing in the UK. I got confused when reading other reports since they only referred to market share increase of Freeview and didn't realize that Freeview referred only to digital. Since this report give more details, it appears that Freeview is taking market share from analog only (my mistake).

However it does appear that the UK uses terrestrial reception (both digital and analog) much more than the US with over 1/3 of the households using terrestrial on the main set. In the US, OTA (both digital and analog) has only a 11.1% market share for primary sets.

Direct broadcast satellite TV is now used by approximately 27.6% of TV households in the U.S., up from 24% this time last year. Wired cable penetration, meanwhile, fell from 62.1% to 61.3%, the lowest it’s been since February 1990.

http://www.teleclick.ca/2007/12/satellite-takes-market-share-from-cable-in-us-pay-tv-market/
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
I think the UK situation boils right down to initially being only one national broadcaster (BBC) who had a monopoly for quite a while before the Commercial stations were given the go ahead and while there were a number of franchises they were closely tied together in terms of producing content for national broadcast.

Put it this way, there was no other practical way to watch TV other than via an aerial until the late 1980's when cable franchises and an early and very weak satellite offering appeared.
 

mm218

Standard Member
I think Freeview should remain free and there should be no TUTV!
The amount of advert is showing on TV channels must be adequet to cover their costs.
Even TV license is too much!
 

The latest video from AVForums

JVC 4K projectors, Denon X3800 & Perlisten speaker reviews, adding a sub to 2-channel + AV/HiFi news
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom