Almost a third (31%) of all households in the UK with internet access used it watch online catch-up TV in the first quarter of this year, according to Ofcom consumer research. This was almost eight percentage points more than in the same period in 2009. Time-shifted TV as a whole is also growing in popularity, with the proportion of viewing more than tripling from 1.7% to 5.9% since 2006, thanks largely to the increased use of DVRs.
The research from Ofcom in addition shows that nearly a quarter (22%) of people in the UK have bought a HD-ready set in the last 12 months and sales of HD ready sets have now passed 24 million. Five million households have also signed up to HD services through pay-TV, freesat and Freeview services.
The key finding of the research is that consumers are spending almost half (45%) of their waking hours watching TV, using their mobiles and other communications devices. Furthermore, TV viewing remains extremely popular as a medium, with average viewing of 3 hours and 45 minutes a day.
However, the number of TV channels has decreased for the first time since 2004, down from 495 to 490 year-on-year, with the closure of Setanta Sports and its UK channels contributing to the decline.