Digital terrestrial television is showing significant growth in Europe, with sales of over half a million set-top boxes in three months since the service was launched in France.

Olivier Gerolami, director of industry association TNT, or Télévision Numérique Terrestre, expects over a million devices to be sold by the end of the year.

In the coming months the digital terrestrial service will further expand, with the launch of new channels, and with additional transmitters extending the area of coverage to around half the country.

In Italy, an estimated two million set-top boxes have been sold, supported by state subsidies.

It also follows the dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of free-to-air digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom since the launch of Freeview, now in over five million homes.

An article in Fortune magazine cites William Cooper of informitv saying that: “With the transition to digital, free-to-air public service and commercial channels will no doubt give subscription services a run for their money.”

The same article quotes Mick Desmond, chief executive of ITV, adding that: “Within a year and a half, Freeview will have the biggest share – people can use it to get more choice, and they don’t have to pay for it.’”