Adoption of digital television in the UK is speeding up, and to push things on even further, a Freeview advertising campaign has just started on our commercial channels.

The adverts, ranging form 10 to 40 seconds, are airing in the Border, Central and Granada TV regions which are all close to digital switchover.

Whitehaven recently became the first town in the UK to complete its digital switchover - it had its analogue TV signals turned off last week.

The next digital phase of the switchover process will take place in the Border area by the end of December. The Selkirk Transmitter, serving the Scottish borders, will be digital-only by Christmas this year.

UK Freeview uptake high

After that, it'll be the Caldbeck Transmitter in Cumbria which will go through its transition period between April and June 2009. The whole switchover schedule is available on the Freeview website. The nation will be digital-only by 2012 with London the last place to turn off its analogue signals.

Sophie Alexander, Head of Consumer Marketing at Freeview said: "Our Christmas advertising campaign was designed to serve two purposes. Firstly, to reach homes that don't have digital TV and secondly to reach out to our existing customers who are looking for a second set solution.

"By focusing on the simplicity of Freeview, its great channel line-up and demonstrating Freeview's wide appeal, we can instil pride amongst our Freeview consumers, whilst appealing to those who've not yet made their digital choice.

"With digital switchover in progress we hope that by getting our message out there we can maximise the huge opportunity available and ensure Freeview remains the UK's most popular digital TV service."

Sky and Freeview adopters increase

There are now 14 million homes in the UK that have digital terrestrial TV (i.e. Freeview). That compares to around 9 million Sky subscribers, while Virgin Media cable subscribers number less than 3.5 million.

Despite 14 million homes now watching Freeview, until the full switchover there are some homes that can't receive digital signals at all. The City of Bath, for instance, is surrounded by hills. The local transmitter does not support digital signals, and the nearby Mendip Transmitter can only be picked up by the few houses which have clear line of sight over the hills to the South West.