ITV Digital liquidator looks for boxes back or £39.99

LONDON - In a move to recoup some of ITV Digital's debts, liquidator Grant Thornton is to write to former subscribers of the collapsed TV service asking for their set-top boxes back or £39.99 to keep them.

The move has been expected ever since the digital terrestrial broadcaster, owned by Carlton Communications and Granada, went under in May of this year and should go a little way to clawing back some of the estimated £1.24bn the service lost. An asset sale in October raised only £27.3m.

According to The Guardian, Grant Thornton will begin sending out letters today to up to 1m people who have held on to the ITV Digital set-top box. The boxes were given to subscribers who bought a year's subscription in advance or paid monthly.

Since the broadcaster's closure, few of the boxes have found their way back to the liquidator. There is little incentive to return the boxes because viewers can now use them to watch the BBC, Crown Castle and BSkyB-backed new digital terrestrial service Freeview, which was launched to replace ITV Digital.

However, many subscribers are understood to have thrown away their boxes when ITV Digital went off air. It is unclear if these people will still be charged the £39.99.

For those without an ITV Digital box, a new set-top to receive the Freeview service costs £99.99 with no further subscription. The new service is understood to be selling up to 35,000 boxes a week in the run-up to Christmas.

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