January 30, 2009

"Virgin getting more HD" rumours

There has been a flurry of comments on my last couple of posts and in other sites' forums suggesting additions to Virgin's lonely HD channel are on their way. I'm not sure if many visitors to this site look through the comments, so here's an example:
MattCaffeine said...This isn't really about freesat but thougt you may be interested in a conversation I've just had with a VM customer complaint officer. I'd e-mailed that I was considering the unthinkable and switching to $ky purely because I was very frustrated about the lack of HD, and especially that there was no news about SkySports HD or Movies HD. The rep who rang told me that there was being a major upgrade of HD channels in the "next few months" and when challenged confirmed that Skysports and Sky Movies in HD would be available in my area (Sheffield) in the next few months as some testing work had been done. Now I've either misunderstood, which I doubt cos i pretty much triple checked what he was saying, but if this is the case, it's a great breakthrough, but why aren't VM shouting from the rooftops to stop the mass migration to $ky??? I've asked the rep to e-mail confirmation which he promised he would, but nothing as yet, When (if) it comes in I'll let you know.
(Thanks Matt.) So will VM have Sky HD channels available nationally in time for the quarterly results announcement at the end of the month? I've heard so many reports of similar statements by engineers/customer services/friends of friends that I'm starting to get a little hopeful that something is about to happen. I'm not holding my breath (we've all heard it before) but the eternal optimist in me is a wee bit excited.
If I get anything concrete, I'll post it immediately.


demented said...

I'm probably ringing up to leave later tonight or this weekend. If I do I'll let you know if I have any fob stories.

I just can't see how they could physically get the sky premium channels onto cable even if they had a deal. There isn't the bandwidth, they'd have to switch off a very hefty chunk of analogue and we all know what Mr Burkett says about that. The optimist in me says they may well be close to a deal but that they'd sign it and then sort out the bandwidth so they'd be added Q42009 or in 2010 with analogue switch off brought forward. This would be after the "three of four" of Q1.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to believe it but we've been hearing that they're coming "soon" for some time now. I'm now in the "I'll believe it when it happens" group.

jaigee said...

Another slant on this in post no.11 of this thread:


Anonymous said...

This blog is like the Doctor Who Magazine during the "wilderness years" of the programme no longer being produced. It hangs on every snippet of rumour and gossip to the extent that regular readers must be certain that Virgin will never offer a proper HD service!
Let's hope that, just like Doctor Who's triumphant return, Virgin's eventual HD offering is worth the interminable wait by those who have "kept the faith".
I'm certainly not expecting anything from this last report, though. Virgin telephone operators are always being quoted as saying that Virgin are about to launch new channels etc and we very rarely see anything come of these rumours.

BikeNutt said...

It wouldn't surprise me if VM make bogus HD claims under pseudonyms across the various blogs/forums just to keep us hanging on in the vain hope that HD is coming to cable.

It's all a bit X-files for my liking. I want to believe...


Anonymous said...

ino itv hd is launching soon virgin media said they want to launch tht channel in febuary to early march

Nialli said...

If the HD channels ever turn up en force (big "if") I don't know how much longer I'll keep up this blog to be honest - it takes up quite a bit of my time but is quite fun.
If it's a rumour or speculation, I always indicate it as such. The only time I've ever presented information as fact that hasn't subsequently happened...is when Virgin has formally announced services that they never actually delivered ;o)

howard said...

I have just spoken to VM reagrding HD Channels and it could take up 2 another 12 months before we recieve HD Channels,So folks if you want hd jump to sky because you are living on a dream for any HD Channels to arrive on VM in the future

Anonymous said...

It's just nonsense to say you've "just spoken to Virgin", because different telephone operators give different information! It seems some of these operators just make it up if there is nothing official for them to refer to. Typing "coming soon" is far different to actually saying it.
That's why I always take these "rumours" for what they likely are; scurrilous remarks made on one internet site and then repeated ad nauseam across lots of others!

joffa81 said...

and it gets even cheaper to get Sky+HD


£29 for Sky+HD is even more of a temptation especially with the rumours of VM dropping prices to new customers on monday and not bothering to do it for existing customers


it give us all even more reason to leave.

Slippy Sloppy said...

I also spoke to a rep on friday in the cancellations dept. who I contacted regards leaving for Sky HD. He had a full of list of channels to be added this quarter & there were no new HD channels. He was very frank with me & said there were no plans for any new HD channels in the near future. He also told me they have about 5 people leaving a day citing lack of HD channels as the primary reason but predicted as more people get HDTVs in the next year it could prove to be big problem for Virgin.

Anonymous said...

hello, I work for sky sales but am a V+ customer (not by choice), have had this site bookmarked for over a year, great blog Nialli. Anyway i do know that sky do not plan on releasing any HD channels to Virgin or Freesat especially the premiums. Sky have a target to reach 10M customers by 2010, HD is currently the strongest selling tool, the whole point of the low price is to blow v+ and Freesat out of the water so they can hit there target. There have been rumors about Offcom getting involved, but sky do not have to share any sky owned HD channels, which is pretty much all of them. The best we virgin customers can hope for is channel 4HD and possibly ITV HD. By the time Virgin acquire any HD channels sky would have launched the sky+3D box, which is revolutionary by not very practical.

Anonymous said...

Let’s add to the confusion of messaging, or at least bring it back full circle

I was on the phone today with an Internet service problem and it was quite clear the person I was speaking to was well switched on .. so I popped the question "When do we get some more HD channels?"

I was expecting the usual waffle types answers but no .. I got it straight between the eyes

"Virgin are currently looking to introduce more HD channels but at the moment they dont have the capacity. We are looking a switching off more +1 channels to free up space but at the moment all we can say is we are looking at it"

When I challenged with the usual .. yes heard all that before .. I got the reply

"...... No this time we really are looking at it!!"

Interestingly, whilst on the phone I could hear a few other conversations going on in the background and the number of times I heard "Sky HD" and "Astra" mentioned was a clear indication that Virgin customers are now hitting back hard asking for more HD content.

Anonymous said...

well there is no sky + 3d box for staters they will still use the sky hd box for 3d when it is released and ofcom can intervene if they think sky are monopilising the pay tv market by keeping the hd channels to themselves and therefore gaining an unfair adavantage

Anonymous said...

This was the reply I got from Virgin using their Contact form on their site:

REFERENCE : 7773525

Hi Steve

Thank you for your e-mail dated 31 January 2009 regarding HD channels.

As part our content strategy, we constantly evaluate the merits of new channels and programmes which could add to our already diverse range of programming. With increasing consumer interest in High Definition (HD) content, we are actively pursuing rights to HD programmes for our leading Video on Demand service and have already made a wide range of programmes available. This includes landmark programmes such as Planet Earth, Desperate Housewives, Band of Brothers and the Sopranos as well as chart topping HD movies. We will continue to look for opportunities to add more great HD programmes as they become available, as well as working with content providers, such as the BBC, to provide HD programmes within the popular iPlayer service.
We are in on-going discussion with a number of broadcasters with regards to new SD and HD channels and are currently evaluating our HD plans for 2009.

If you have further queries regarding this matter or any other issue, please use the link provided below:


Please note if you reply directly to this e-mail your response will not be received.

Kind regards

Elizabeth Andrews

E-Contact Team

Virgin Media

Anonymous said...

That doesn't look too promising for HD channels if all they are looking at is increasing their VOD content. I just hope they can train somebody up properly so that they can release series episodes in a orderly consistent manner. The haphazard manner in which episodes were added (or even missed out completely) was a contributing factor as to why I left Virgin.

Anonymous said...

It is true the current sky HD box is 3D compatible, however there is another box, which I have literally seen working, LG will release the compatible TV next year. And sky do not need to release their HD channels to any other provider, the actual "content" on the channels is another story, Virgin will not get any sky HD channels but may get access to certain programmes and films

demented said...

I got an identical reply to one of the earlier people on this thread, except a difference reference number and name changed.

Nialli said...

I guess the thing I'm clinging to is the return of the Sky channels - no-one saw that coming then suddenly wham! Announced and delivered in a matter of days. Maybe HD will be the same? Ok, I'm clutching at straws...nurse! The screens! Medication for Nialli...he's slipping fast...

MattCaffeine said...

Hi again, here is the e-mail confirmation (or lack of it) about HD channels, not exactly as exciting as I'd hope.
"As discussed last week , we are currently upgrading our network nationally to accommodate more HD channels. We will write to our customers when this service becomes available. I am sorry as advised earlier I do not have a date when this service will become available in your area, but we look forward to it being soon."

So, nothing to confirm that SkySports or Movies HD will be coming, which IS what was said on the phone :-(

demented said...

I don't know MattCaffeine. "...we are currently upgrading our network nationally to accommodate more HD channels." is actually slightly positive news to me. They could be lying but it suggests they are physically doing something e.g. installing switched video, upgrading analogue areas to digital or some other process to solve the bandwidth problem.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments posted, I must admit that there are some very interesting posts & points.

As for the guy that posted he works for sky in sales and the people who say that a Virgin rep told them this, what companies do in the background behind the front lines is more than the minions on the frontline would know.

ITV & C4 HD will be launching on Virgin before the end of Q1, there will also more HD channels launching over next 6 months. As for sky movie/sports HD, well sky once refused to let cable TV have movie & sport, well hey they have them now, and if memory serves it was ofcom that told sky to release those "PREMIUM" channels.

If we are to believe the rumours that Virgin have gone to ofcom again, then who is say that sky will be told to release the HD channels to Virgin. As the sky sales rep quoted "sky do not have to share any sky owned HD channels, which is pretty much all of them" if ofcom say they do, as they did once before then guess what Virgin would get those channels.

Having being both a Virgin customer with V+ & now a SkyHD customer, when Virgin launch these new channels and get the other "PREMIUM" channels, I will return to Virgin, for two reason, one you do not have to subscribe £10 per month to watch HD "It's FREE".

The other reason, I was not impressed with the fact that I got charged for a call out to a faulty HD box - £65 when the box is only 14 months old and waited 8 days for an engineer. When I was with Virgin if my service had a fault, the engineer was out within a couple of days and the visit was FREE.

And before people start asking why I moved from Virgin to SkyHD, when I moved house Virgin was not available, this has now since been rectified.

Anonymous said...

It's not a rumour that Cable have gone to Ofcom over movies and sports, it is a fact. Anyone is able to read the Ofcom documentation on the matter on their website. It's just a very long and muddled document. It's far from clear what the conclusion will be.

Anonymous said...

i am far from a minion for sky, and like I said I am a V+ customer and don't have sky at home, I would love Virgin to acquire more HD channels, hell I'd settle for anything right now. However I do know Virgin WILL NOT get sky HD premium channels, at least until after 2010.

Also if Virgin do get extra HD channels who's to say there won't be a monthly fee? I've been told by virgin "execs" they are looking into 4 - 10 extra HD channels by 2nd QTR this year, however expect an extra monthy charge (cheaper than sky's) and possibly may need an upgraded V+ box (samsung box).

Sky will spend over a billion pounds to secure premiership football, they need virgin to be able to carry the sports and movies, they directly get this money from Virgin customers, hope you don't think Virgin get this money.

When Virgin lost the basics a few years back, they lost a huge amount of customers in a week due to not supplying sky sports news, now it's beneficial for sky basics to appear on cable, ever watched these channels, nothing but promotional ads for sky HD, Broadband and calls, kind of makes you feel you'll get a better deal by switching to sky.

mazzzzaff said...

I've had converations with NTL and VM over many years and they ALWAYS mention the grass getting greener when you mention leaving...