October 09, 2007

Confirmation of Channel 4 HD coming to Virgin

Kinda. Digital Spy are reporting that a deal's been done with Channel 4 that will give us Virgin customers free access to some HD content via VOD and most likely carriage of the new 4HD simulcast of C4 (though not 100% confirmed - capacity needing some management before full announcement, perhaps?).
Here's the DS story:
Virgin Media is to offer Channel 4 programmes in high definition via its on demand service.

Cable customers can see a selection of Channel 4 shows, which now includes some in HD, free of charge for up to seven days post-transmission via the 4oD service.

The deal also gives Virgin Media the option of carrying the new Channel 4 HD linear channel, which will launch in December.

Malcolm Wall, Virgin Media's chief executive of content, said: "We are delighted to be adding Channel 4 content to our growing line up of high definition programming. Virgin Media is at the forefront of technology advances in television and is not only offering its customers higher quality pictures in HD, but also the ability to watch what they want when they want it via the on demand service."

Virgin Media's on-demand library already includes HD assets from FilmFlex, the BBC and History Channel.

Channel 4's head of VOD and channel development Sarah Rose said: "Demand for HD is increasing, and befitting our ambition for viewers to be able to access our programming when they want it and in a format of their choice, it's important for us to be meeting this demand wherever we can. We are delighted that HD versions of some of our shows will be available to Virgin TV on demand users and look forward to increasing the amount of HD programming in our schedule over time."

(Actually, the bit about us having the History Channel in HD is wrong.) Personally, I would like to see them round up all the +1 channels and use that capacity to expand the HD offering. I also think it's time VM bit the bullet and axed the analogue service that has a huge overhead on the network for a minority of customers, and shifted the phone service to IP. That's how the American cable companies have such awesome HD capabilities. It would be great if they adopted the newer standards for broadcasting HD rather than the dated Telewest set up, but I can't see that happening just yet with a growing V+ population. Ho hum.

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