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Digital TV set to boom

Seventeen percent of the public plans to sign up by the summer

Take-up of digital TV is set to take off according to a survey published Thursday.

The research -- conducted by Gallup on behalf of set-top box manufacturer Pace Micro Technology (quote: PIC) -- found that 42 percent of those surveyed will move to digital TV in 2002. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 17 percent intend to subscribe by the summer.

Public perception of what digital TV means has also improved, according to the survey. Seventy-seven percent realised that digital TV improved sound and vision quality, 80 percent recognised it meant a wider choice of channels and 72 percent understood it would bring interactive services. Two-thirds favoured the TV over the PC as a means of shopping.

Pace marketing director Andrew Wallace believes the future of digital TV is looking healthy. "In a very short time the public has moved from a state where two out of three people did not know what digital TV was, to almost half the country now believing they will move to digital TV within the next three years," he said. "Overall, the future of digital TV in the UK looks inspiringly bright."

Currently around 12 percent of the population have moved to digital TV. Monday the government decided against imposing a so-called "poll tax" to fund the BBC's digital services. Instead analog and digital viewers will pay an extra £3 a year for TV licences. The government hopes to turn off the analog signal by 2010.

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