The price of converting over to digital television will fall to under #25 if plans to make the technology affordable for everyone work out.
The bargain decoders could be available within five years, well ahead of the time slated for the current analogue TV system to be switched off, according to broadcasters. The government has yet to fix a change from analogue to digital, but it is expected to be 2010.
The government would definitely welcome a changeover sooner, if digital decoders plummet in price as fast as industry watchers forecast. The Treasury will pull in an estimated #6 billion when it auctions off the old analogue network, of prime interest to mobile phone operators.
At the moment the cost of switching to digital TV - around #1,000 for a digital TV set or #200 upwards for a set top box - is stopping many homes switching to digital.
One of the big attractions of digital TV is that it can offer a huge number of channels - there are around 200 now.
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