December 14, 2008

Berkett confirms: four HD channels on their way. Sky Sports and Movies "available"

At last, something to get excited about on the HD front, albeit still lacking dates 'n' details. According to this post over on BroadbandTVnews.com, Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett said at the UBS 36th Annual Global Media and Communications conference this week:
“To date our HD content is limited, we only have a couple of HD channels today and we will be launching four channels over the next three months. For us the key to HD is sports and movies and to invest unduly until we get access to that is not the right thing to do.” Berkett said Virgin could catch-up quickly should the market change and would be able to gear up within three to six months. The switch-off of Virgin’s remaining analogue homes would enable delivery of between 30-40 HD channels should the cablenet choose to offer them.
Hang on..."we only have a couple of HD channels today"???? Is he talking prematurely about an imminent arrival or does he never watch the service himself? And what are the four definitely on their way?? I'd say C4 HD and ITV HD, plus maybe FX and Sky1 (as suggested over on cableforum.co.uk).

UPDATE: Over on
cableforum.co.uk the ever-reliable Horizon has posted the following information from Berkett at the conference:
Berkett confirmed he has now had access to Sky's HD channels for a few months, where as previously they were "locked up" by Sky. But not a price he considers reasonable, hence the ongoing review by Ofcom which he believes will find in VM's favour.

8 comments:

Dazz285 said...

Wouldn't it be nice if he bothered to reply to this thread...
It is obvious that the man hasn't a clue !!!!!

Anonymous said...

hmmm this article seems to back up a conversation I had with a VM employee, she claims VM to launch at least 4 new HD channels by 2nd qtr 09, she also hinted there will be a monthly sub, but will rival sky's current cost.

Anonymous said...

ITV HD would be ok I guess as they have the England games. Would have been nice to have Discovery or some other nature channels in HD, as they look stunning on SKy HD.

Sky One is over rated, but the more HD channels we get the better, until the dream of HD sports on Virgin is fulfilled!

Afront said...

Finally, after more than a year of broken promises this is something to get excited about.

My worry now is that the HD in my V+ box is not fit for purpose: recording just a few things in HD results in a mild anxiety that my box is nearly full up and I need to watch some of that stuff ASAP - damn you BBC for broadcasting so many good shows on BBC HD!

Nialli said...

I second that: not sure recording two HD channels simultaneously is going to be that clever with the existing hardware. Sky HD boxes have had problems reported along those lines, too. When it comes to disc space I'm normally fairly selective over what I keep in HD. It's be darn useful if iPlayer had BBC HD stuff - apparently "coming soon".

demented said...

What a blooper. One other thought, they always refer to linear channels, perhaps he means a certain quantity of vod counts as a channel. In which case we might not be getting 4? Not a pleasant thought I know but perhaps one we should be prepared for in virgin doublespeak.

I think it's sad burkett confirmed that there is an option for some of sky's channels there (but they are priced too high) just like I thought might be the case. It means he's relying on Ofcom :-(. Strangely enough the best news I'd say is not the 4 channels (I was expecting 4HD and ITVHD at the summer or before but he says analogue switch off completed end of 2009. That's a year earlier than previously planned by the man. So 4 HD channels is a nice intermediate stop gap for the next year.

demented said...

Misread in excitement d'oh. See no bringing forward of analogue switch off. More bizarre is the out of the blue promise to upgrade 2Mb! The last thing we need is a major upgrade after 50Mbs to distract from the tv side (again).

demented said...

P.S. on the HD front it won't affect us immediately on VM but ofcom want a 4th HD channel on freeview from 2010. This is a really big deal and not heard much comment about it but I'd imagine many people would be chuffed at Five HD (I know they have never ever expressed an interest in it) or a simulcast of BBC1 or some other service. That's if you can call it HD, it's only be around 8Mbs :-(.