Simplifydigital predicts what will be big in the world of digital TV and broadband in 2010
2009 saw big changes in the digital home. Broadband continued its relentless path across UK homes, with three quarters of UK homes now having internet access. Mobile broadband hit a hot sales streak, selling over 150,000 per month. And in the digital TV world, Sky switched to high definition TV (HDTV) as its lead product, with the result that over 1.6 million Sky customers now watch in HD.
The good news for consumers is that the pace of innovation is accelerating, as providers compete for business. So 2010 should be a great year of more choice and better value.
Here is Simplifydigital’s pick of the big events likely to play out in 2010…
Tesco to shake up the broadband market
Broadband prices fell by 6% last year with the result that the average broadband household is now paying about £10.70 per month. And good quality family broadband packages can now be found for under £7 per month, including free calls in the evening and weekends.
But Tesco’s major push into the broadband market in 2010 should put a cat among the pigeons and put further downward pressure on prices. BT remains the biggest broadband player, followed by the TalkTalk Group, Virgin Media and Sky. All the big players will be watching Tesco carefully and expect a tit for tat price war if Tesco go in hard on price.
On the other hand, broadband providers have invested heavily in recent years and are looking to increase their margins, so there will be plenty of upward pressure on prices too. So we expect broadband prices to fall, but not by much.
PAYG to drive mobile broadband popularity
Mobile broadband is proving hugely popular among UK broadband customers. “Dongles” are available in all shapes and sizes and allow broadband access wherever you can get a mobile phone signal. The only drawback is the unreliability of the service, which is at the mercy of the mobile signal strength.
All the big mobile phone players offer competitive mobile broadband packages starting from about £5 per month. But PAYG mobile broadband is setting the category alight. The flexibility of 1 month contracts is proving hugely popular, so 2010 will be the year of PAYG mobile broadband.
As such we fully expect mobile broadband sales to outstrip home broadband sales in 2010.
Consumers thirsting for more broadband speed
2009 saw Virgin Media heavily pushing the advantages of fibre-optic broadband. Fibre-optic technology allows far faster broadband speeds than is possible via copper wire (so-called DSL broadband). DSL broadband is used by all the major broadband providers with the exception of Virgin Media.
The net result is that UK broadband consumers do not enjoy the fruits of super-fast broadband. The average broadband speed is just over 4 Mb/s, versus an average of over 90 Mb/s in Japan. And many UK broadband customers are simply unaware of how much better their internet experience could be with a faster broadband connection.
But 2010 will be the year when UK broadband consumers wake up to the attractions of super-fast broadband and start demanding more. Super-fast broadband makes watching video online and online gaming a trouble free experience – and means that whatever the time of day, and however many members of the family are online – your surfing is a tip top experience.
2010 – the year that high definition TV (HDTV) hits the big time
HDTV is an avalanche waiting to happen. 56% of UK households have HD Ready digital TV sets which are designed to view in HD, but only a small fraction (circa 10%) actually watch TV in high definition. This is because you need not only an HD Ready TV set, but also an HD compatible digibox and HDTV channel package.
But three big things are happening in 2010 to kick start the HD phenomenon.
HD will launch on Freeview in early 2010, making it available without a subscription to millions of homes; the World Cup will be broadcast in HD in June 2010, giving a huge boost to the category – and Sky will continue to put its marketing might behind HD, which is now Sky’s lead digital TV product.
Bundles will rule in 2010 saving households more money
Already the majority of digital TV, broadband and home phone customers buy their packages in bundles, from one or two providers. The savings to be had by bundling are very big (Simplifydigital estimates that people save an average of £360 per year by bundling all three services from a single provider). What’s more bundling makes life easier by ensuring a single bill.
2010 will see some cracking new bundle deals on the market from all the big players. There will be a myriad of deals offering everything from mobile phone and broadband bundles; to TV and home phone bundles. With the right advice from an impartial expert, there is bound to be a bundle for you that will save you a lot of money.
And 3D TV takes a bow for the first time
3D TV is causing a lot of excitement among the techie community. New 3D technology means that 3D viewing is coming to the movies (witness Avatar the latest James Cameron movie blockbuster to hit the screens just before Christmas); coming to gaming and also to TV.
Sky has been testing 3D TV intensively in 2009 and plan to launch the UK’s first 3D TV channel in 2010. So expect to see everything from movies to the Premiership jumping into your living room.
Simplifydigital.co.uk offers a unique service in the UK, providing a free and impartial consultation for anyone looking to save money and compare broadband, compare digital TV, or compare home phone services.
Simplifydigital cuts through the confusion; offers the widest range of digital service providers available (including Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, AOL, Orange, 02, Top UpTV etc); and manages the customer through the install of the services.
It is the only retailer of digital TV, broadband and home phone services in the UK to have been accredited by Ofcom as impartial and transparent. Customers call free on 0800 1 388 388 or use their online service at www.simplifydigital.co.uk