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07/01/2004

Research finds public ambivalent about digital television

More people would be willing to take up digital television if they were given the right information and the switchover were easy and cost-effective, according to new research published by the Department of Trade and Industry.
The research, ‘Attitudes to Digital Television’, examined viewers attitudes to digital television and the planned digital switchover, and explored why some consumers are reluctant to go digital.
The report was carried out by the Generics Group for the DTI and shows that although 50% of households now have digital television, 13% of consumers have said that they don't want it, and don't intend to get it. Attitudes to digital television are not only based on practical concerns such as cost and installation, but more fundamental concerns about the quality of content on offer. Many viewers form their opinions of digital television based on how they feel about television itself.
The research found that views about digital switchover were separate and distinct from views on digital television. Although the transition to digital is seen as an inevitable advance of technology, even people who are have an open mind to digital television have strong objections to analogue being switched off.
The report also suggested that how the benefits of digital television have been presented in the past should be more relevant to a wider range of consumers. It also showed that if people are to be more willing to embrace digital switchover they must have the right information, and the process must be as easy and cost-effective as possible.
Communications Minister Stephen Timms said: "Millions of people have already chosen to go digital, and millions more will do so in the future. Some consumers, though, will be reluctant to make the transition.
"This unique research helps us understand consumers' concerns about digital television and digital switchover. There are strong messages here for both Government and the broadcasters to take on board.
"In particular, we need to demonstrate that digital does not just mean more TV, but better TV."
The next phase of the Generics research, to be published in the Spring 2004, will use the findings of this initial report as the basis for deeper research and analysis, including 1500 consumer interviews.
(GB)
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