UK leads the world in adopting new TV tech

14 December 2012 - 12:20 By AFP Relaxnews
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A global study by the British media regulator shows that the UK is ahead of the curve in adopting new technology especially in relation to television.

The British lead the world in adopting new technology to enhance the TV viewing experience.

According to the latest global survey by UK media regulator, Ofcom, the UK is ahead of the rest of the world in its adoption of digital video recorders and is the nation most likely to access TV content via the Internet with 23 percent of respondents claiming to do so every week, compared with 17 percent of US respondents and 16 percent of Spanish participants.

The UK is second only to the US in adoption of HD television, with 41 percent of households claiming to have a high-definition display, compared with 18 percent of French households, 28 percent of Germans and 31 percent of Japanese households. With 49 of US homes claiming to have a HDTV, that country is still in first place in term of adopting the technology.

When it comes to smartphones and tablets, the UK has one of the highest penetrations -- 58 percent have smartphones and 19 percent claim to have tablets, and the average UK subscriber uses 424MB of data a month, more than any other country in the survey. Japan is second with 392MB and the US sixth with 319MB per month. One sixth (16%) of all website traffic in the UK was on a mobile, tablet or other connected device, higher than any other country in Europe.

Much of the use of mobiles, particularly smartphones, appears to be driven by the popularity of social networking sites on mobile phones. Four in ten (40%) UK adults now use their mobile phones to visit social networking sites, while among 18-24 year olds almost two thirds (62%) do so -- more than any other major country.

However, not all of this mobile web traffic is towards TV-on-demand or social networking sites. The research shows that online shopping is more popular in the UK than in any other major country and this popularity is being driven by mobile devices. The average online yearly spend in Britain has passed £1000. In 2011, per-head spending on e-commerce was £1,083 ($1747) in the UK, up 14 percent from £950 ($1532) in 2010. Australia spends the second highest at £842 ($1358), with Sweden third at £747 ($1205).

UK adults also like to shop on the move. Over a fifth (23.1%) of UK smartphone owners use their device to visit retail websites -- the highest level out of the five largest European countries. Germany is second with 22.6 percent.

Of these findings, James Thickett, Ofcom's Director of Research, said: "Our research shows that UK consumers continue to benefit from one of the most advanced markets for communications products and services...The UK leads the way in using the internet on the move. Increasingly, it's mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are driving this growing demand for data - and in the UK it seems to be social networking sites that are behind this in particular."