The lack of access to free-to-air HD channels is a key reason behind the low take-up of HD in Europe, according to media analysts Screen Digest.

It said that by the end of 2007, 18 per cent of the 165 million European TV households were equipped with HD displays - but less than one per cent were actually watching HD.

Only Sweden currently offers HD on free-to-air digital terrestrial TV.

The UK will get HD on Freeview from 2009.