In its latest annual report, Digital UK says it has been preparing for the evolution of digital terrestrial TV by developing new connected TV service Freeview Play, launching later this year, which will combine the traditional Freeview service with on-demand and catch-up content within a single device and in a standardised format.
It says seven in ten viewers will regularly watch TV programmes online by the end of the decade.
Facing the shift in viewing habits, Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive of Digital UK said:
"The arrival of bigger, better, connected televisions, the growing use of tablets and smartphones and the emergence of over-the-top content providers like Netflix and Now TV are transforming how we discover and consume video content. While there is no sign we are falling out of love with television as a nation, audiences rightly expect greater choice and flexibility in how, where and when they watch the programmes they love.
I firmly believe that digital terrestrial television must and will evolve to embrace the change and opportunities that new technology and internet connectivity are bringing. Only services that adapt will continue to be successful. This will be our priority focus at Digital UK over the months and years ahead."
Speaking about planned changes to spectrum later this decade, which will see further TV frequencies cleared to make way for mobile broadband services (700 MHz clearance), Caroline Thomson, Chair of Digital UK said the organisation would be increasing Digital UK's viewer support activity ahead of technical changes to the platform. She said:
"This area of activity will be important as airwaves become more crowded and we begin to prepare for another spectrum shake-up to boost capacity for more mobile broadband services in the years ahead."Changes to terrestrial TV frequencies around the year 2020 are likely to require some households to install a new TV aerial, and some households requiring a new filter to stop interference from new services in the 700MHz frequency band, in addition to the 800MHz frequency band for which filters are currently being dispatched to affected households. Exact details of how the changes at the end of the decade will affect each area are still being worked on.