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TV-watching and texts on the up as UK prices fall

Britons watching more TV than ever before

Preparing for digital switchover

Not every home is prepared for digital switchover

UK consumers’ use of digital TV, mobile, broadband and home phone services is among the highest in the world and the cost of digital services is among the lowest, according to new research from phone, TV and broadband watchdog Ofcom.

Ofcom looked at take-up, availability, pricing and use of broadband, landlines and mobiles, digital TV and radio in the UK and 15 other countries – including the USA, Japan and eight European countries.

Among other findings, the report reveals that the UK has lower prices for mobile and for standalone broadband than France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US, and the second lowest prices (after Italy) for home phone services. It also found that UK prices have fallen since 2008 – so if you haven’t switched provider for a while, you could be paying over the odds.

Avoid getting stuck in an expensive rut with help from Which? reviews of the best broadband, the best mobile provider and the best home phone services. 

Lower prices might be part of the reason the UK loves its mobile phones, and sent more texts last year than any other country except the USA.

Freeview leads digital TV take up

The amount of time we spend watching TV increased by more than 3 per cent last year – the biggest increase across all the countries surveyed – to 3.8 hours a day. But we still watch slightly less than viewers in Italy, Poland and Spain – as well as the US, which tops the TV viewing table on 4.6 hours a day.

The UK also has the highest proportion of digital TV homes (88 per cent) – unsurprising, perhaps, given the analogue TV signal is gradually being switched off as a result of digital switchover. If you’ve got questions about digital switchover, take a look at the Which? guide to digital switchover explained.

Most UK homes watch digital TV via Freeview – you can read more about Freeview and other free and pay-TV digital services in the Which? guide to free TV and pay TV services.

With Christmas soon upon us, you might be thinking of using the sales to upgrade to the latest TV equipment, such as an HDTV or a personal video recorder (PVR) that lets you record your favourite programmes to hard disk at the touch of a button on your remote.

Don’t hit the shops without taking advantage of Which? reviews of LCD and plasma TV and PVRs to make sure of the best possible TV-viewing experience.

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