March 03, 2010

ITV HD and Sky1 HD coming soon to Virgin Media?

Interesting comment posted by Big Red to this blog yesterday:
I caught up with my friend who works in one of VM area headoffices.
Virgin have issued a internal newletter recently stating that ITV HD and SKY 1 HD will be coming to the VM HD line up.
As most of us know from 1st April the xl tv package is increased by £1.50.
I can confirm that with Discovery/EuroSports HD coming on board from April there will be no extra HD fee for any channels added from 1st April for atleast a year - (Note this does not include Sky's Premium Sports and Movies HD channels) - the £1.50 fee also included some new channel line ups
It also stated that Discovery, EuroSport. ITV and Sky HD channels are just a start to get VM to its 20+ HD line up.
I did ask if a copy could be issued so I can scan and post but VM have blocked all Forward/Print methods.
It also states that there is no dates set in stone but agreements have being made that these will be become available.
Official press releases will be issued during Mar & Apr.
It also goes on that VM expects Ofcom to conclude its probe into Sky's premium sports and movies wholesale prices this month allowing VM to buy these products at a cheaper price.
Chief executive Neil Berkett also stated that any saving would be passed back onto VM customers. - this would be from this summer (VM buy in seasons) 
I can't vouch for the accuracy of Big Red's source, but it's big news if Sky1 HD and ITV1 HD are really "coming soon". I don't think we will get Sky1 HD for nowt whilst Sky customers still have to pay £10 a month to get it - maybe there will be a "Sky HD" bundle on Virgin with the movies, sports and Sky1 for a monthly fee?


baw said...

Would LivingHD not be considered a reasonable swap for Sky1HD? If not in terms of content then viewing figures/advertising revenues?

Anonymous said...

Itvhd is only available on freesat so how is sky going to offer itv hd when sky is nothing to do with them and itv say they are staying on freesat as a red button service?

Erich said...

On its best day, Living gets less than half the viewers of Sky 1. On its worst, it's more like 20%.

Grey's Anatomy, which is one of Living's few top shows, typically gets less viewers than the lowest rated show in Sky 1's top 10.

These two channels are just in completely different leagues, and the gap only widens when it comes to HD, as Living only have a few shows that are actually produced in HD. The fact that shows like Charmed still appear in their top 10 tells you something about their depth of programming... or lack thereof.

As for ITVHD, it wouldn't be offered by Sky, but by ITV themselves.

goonergaz said...

I recently went to sky (still kept V+ - long story but I got a staff incentive so no extra outlay but all the HD channels :o))...anyway...

Firstly the £10pm get's you all the non premium HD channels (not just Sky 1). Secondly you can get ITV HD unoffically by tuning it in yourself (no pause or rewind tho).

As it stands I'm sitting on a 12mth fence, I hope Virgin will sort all this out because it would be better for me on their side of the fence, Sky HD has far too many restrictions and additional costs.

Restrictions - only 4 feeds per dish = 1 HD box and 2 standard boxes - IIRC with Virgin you can have as many boxes as you want? (I have a big family!) Also you can only record 2 channels and can't watch a 3rd (with V+ you can).

Costs - £10pm per additional box!? £9pm for ESPN!?

Virgin really do offer excellent VFM...but since going to Sky I've loved having lots of HD channel to chose from, I barely browse SD now!

mdunning said...

it's one of the last things stopping me switching to Virgin media, that they don't have ITV HD, with the World cup kicking off in June.

Paul said...

Doesn't ITV HD launch on HD Freeview in April? From then on I'd fully expect it to be on Virgin in HD

Dubbzey said...

April the 1st I hope its not a fools day joke!!?
I hope VM get ITV HD..

Erich said...

VM would be acutely aware of the importance of the WC in HD, and will surely do everything in their power to secure the channel. It's the kind of thing people will buy new TVs for, and won't have any problems switching providers for, if they can't get it with VM.

Big Red said...

To reassure anyone who does not believe the original statement I can confirm that freesat's ITV HD exclusivity deal ran out on the 7th June 2009.

Hence why both Sky and VM are trying to get this channel onboard.

Also not an official list but a list which is in circulation within VM - these are the go get channels before 2011 - some already agreed.

History HD,
E4 HD,
Luxe HD,
Bio HD,
ITV HD - Source states deal done with both VM and Sky (outstanding matter is how both platforms show i.e. standalone channel or via red button) ITV are looking to Sky and VM to stump up the bill for maintaining/providing ITV HD (This at the moment is of high cost to ITV and they too want a deal done – the World Cup is were ITV are going to be making there most revenue streams and they are looking to capitalise on this.
Rush HD,
Five HD - Yes Five HD plus on demand content.
Good Food HD - in talks with BBC Worldwide.
Sci-Fi HD,

Sky 1 HD
Sky Arts 1 HD,
Sky Arts 2 HD,
Sky Real lives HD,
Source states deal done on above 4 channels but no official date.

Sky Sports HD - My feeling is this will come at a price.
Sky Movies HD - My feeling is this will come at a price.

At the moment it is believed that VM are trying there hardest to ensure whatever HD channels come on board do not cost VM customers

VM believe they will be able to offer these HD channels at no extra charge - this seems to be based on Ofcom/Sky agreeing a lower wholesale deal.

This in its self would mean whatever saving Neil Berkett has kind of promised could not be passed back to the customer but in fact spent on the HD line meaning no increase of customer charges.

Some how I don’t think this will include Sky Sports & Movies HD channels – these will come at a premium.

VM state they do not have capacity issues like some other operator/s but do not expect all of the above to be released 1st April, these will be released slowly from the 1st April but it seems VM are juggling a lot of things at the moment (100mb BB, Next Generation TiVo Boxes and EPG along with new SD & HD channel line up)

It seems to be a busy and maybe a make or break year for VM – even if they can deliver just TiVo and SD/HD channel line ups this year it would put VM on a even keel to SKY and maybe slightly ahead with its superior BB/Telephone service.

What VM don’t want to happen is spend time and effort catching Sky up on TV services to be behind the curve again when Sky release 3D, during this time allowing the like of BT/Sky to better there BB/Telephone service.