Brits turned-on by digital TV demos

Research commissioned by BSkyB shows that viewers may be more receptive to digital TV than many had thought - although analogue die-hards were cut off from the study

The government's target to switch the entire country over to digital by 2010 is looking more achievable in light of recent findings by BSkyB.

An independent study commissioned by BSkyB indicates that nearly half of those expressing a "low intention" to get digital TV change their minds once they have seen the service demonstrated.

"When people see the product, digital TV becomes a relevant proposition," said a spokeswoman at BSkyB. "Our findings suggest that the plan to switch-off analogue between 2006 and 2010 is very realistic."

Three hundred British people without multi-channel TV took part in the experiment, and were selected from a wide range of demographic groups across the country. Those who admitted to completely rejecting digital TV were excluded from the study, as were those who admitted that Sky digital would be their provider of choice. All participants were given a one and a half hour demonstration of Sky digital, NTL, Telewest and ITV's ONdigital -- the presentations were rotated and scripted in order to ensure consistency and fairness.

Of those who were classified as unlikely to subscribe to digital TV before the demonstrations, 47 percent changed their minds after the demonstration. Sky digital also emerged as the preferred platform with 64 percent of the sample group, with 21 percent preferring cable, and 12 percent ONdigital. Three percent expressed no preferred platform.

"There was a strong signal that digital/satellite services offer the best proposition, as well as indicating the power of demonstration, especially within such a sceptical market," said the spokeswoman.

Almost half of the sample (46 percent) claimed that they would be likely to subscribe to Sky digital in the future. "Thirty-two percent preferred us because of the choice of channels, and 30 percent liked the ease of using the channels," said the spokeswoman.

BSkyB is hoping that other multi-channel companies will take a lead from this exercise, and demonstrate their products in order to get more subscribers on-board in time for 2010.

See the Consumer News Section for full coverage.

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