TV sales dip for first time in 60 years as online video rises


The number of houses in Britain with a television set has fallen for the first time since the 1950s as viewers switch to tablets, PCs and other devices to watch video, according to new research.

After decades of growth, there were 26.02 million households in 2013 with a traditional “goggle box” – down from 26.33 million in 2012.

It is the first time television sales have dropped since 1953, when there was a huge surge in buying ahead of the Queen’s Coronation.

The telecoms regulator is calling for more investment in broadband “not spots” to speed up internet connections to meet this demand.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: “The way consumers interact with their TV, phone and broadband is changing as fast as technology is evolving. Our challenge is to keep supporting competition and innovation while helping to improve coverage particularly in hard-to-reach areas. “Digital infrastructure is crucial to the UK’s future and we are continuing to make real progress.”

The latest Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2014 found that a typical UK household now needs an internet connection of at least 10 megabytes to support its internet activities.

The average household or small business is downloading the equivalent of 35 feature films a month – a 77 per cent increase on 2013.

The average home is also uploading seven GB of data to the internet each month, equivalent to 3,500 digital photographs.

There are now nearly one million homes with broadband but no TV – while only 18 per cent of households have no home internet access.

More than a third of people make phone calls over the internet with the use of “voice over IP” services, such as Skype or Apple Facetime, up from 22 per cent of adults in 2012 to 35 per cent last year.

The average mobile owner’s data usage is up 46 per cent over the same 12 months.
Three-quarters of the UK’s motorways are now covered by a 4G signal and this is one example of how mobile coverage continues to improve, claims the Ofcom report.

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