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UK digital TV comes of age

Digital TV delivered through the home aerial marks its 15-year birthday today, but new digital terrestrial developments are helping to “shape the platform,” according to UK broadcast regulator Ofcom. 

Digital terrestrial TV began broadcasting in the UK on 15 November 1998, and as of the end of 2012 there were 19.2 million homes – around 75% of TV households – that received this service.

Though digital terrestrial TV started mainly as a subscription channel offering, the platform now offers around 70, mostly free, TV channels via Freeview – including a host of HD stations.

“Terrestrial TV broadcasting became digital-only at the end of 2012 as the UK’s final analogue signals were switched off. But digital switchover is far from the end of digital terrestrial’s journey and new developments are helping to shape the platform for the future,” said Ofcom.

Among the recent developments were the licensing of two new spectrum multiplexes on digital terrestrial TV earlier this year, with new HD channels will go live from late 2013 and 2014 – including Al Jazeera English HD and five HD BBC channels.

Ofcom has also awarded 21 local TV licences and could license up to 26 further local stations across the UK.

Tags: digital TV, DTT, Ofcom, UK