March 12, 2010

ITV HD joining Virgin Media on April 2nd

Breaking news - here's the full Press Release:
ITV1 HD comes to Virgin Media in AprilAdds to growing HD channel line-up from Virgin Media
LONDON, Mar 12, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Virgin Media's (NASDAQ:VMED)(LSE:VMED) digital TV customers will be able to enjoy football's World Cup in full High Definition (HD) glory as the ITV1 HD channel joins the company's TV line-up on April 2nd. ITV1 HD will offer a range of High Definition programming, with upcoming highlights including the UEFA Champions League, The FA Cup, and England internationals; HD dramas including Father & Son, Identity, The Prisoner, Foyles War and Lewis; factual programming including Joanna Lumley's Nile, Greatest Cities of the World with Griff Rhys Jones, and the brand new Survival with Ray Mears. In entertainment there are new programmes, The Whole 19 Yards and 71 Degrees North, and the return of Soccer Aid and the UK's biggest TV show, Britain's Got Talent.
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said: "ITV offers some of the UK's most loved programmes and we're delighted to add them to our growing HD channel line-up. This year's World Cup promises some unforgettable games and Virgin Media TV viewers will be able to enjoy every nail-biting, heart-stopping, breath-taking moment in stunning High Definition."
Virgin Media's TV customers will be able to watch all of this summer's football World Cup in HD with all matches shown on ITV1 HD or the BBC's HD channel. Both channels are available on Virgin Media's digital TV platform and included in all of Virgin Media's TV packages at no extra cost.
Peter Fincham, ITV Director of Television, Channels and Online, said: "The availability of High Definition content is something viewers have come to expect as standard and, as we approach the 2010 World Cup, I'm delighted that we are able to launch our new channel, ITV1 HD, on Virgin Media. All of our output will benefit from the stunning picture quality that High Definition offers, whether it's ITV's original drama, landmark factual shows, entertainment events or our live football."
Some of ITV1's HD content will also be available on demand via ITV Net Player on Virgin Media's TV platform. The popular TV on demand service saw over eight million views of ITV content in January alone.
Virgin Media continues to grow its HD line-up with HD channels from the BBC and Channel 4 available to all Virgin TV customers, while those from ESPN, FX, MTV Networks, National Geographic and LIVING (a Virgin Media exclusive) are included within the 'XL' TV package for no extra charge. Forthcoming HD channels from Eurosport, Discovery and E4 will be added to the 'XL' tier this spring, while Film4 HD (another Virgin Media exclusive) will be made available within all paid-for TV tiers.
This is the fifth new HD channel Virgin Media has announced this year and the company plans to reveal more details about further launches in the coming months.
As a postscript to this, BSkyB said today that as well as ITV1 HD there would also be high-definition channel launches for Hallmark and Sky Sports 4 on its digital satellite service. Sky has now passed 40 channels in HD on its service and has targeted 50 by Christmas.
Hallmark Channel HD, which will launch on 28 June, Sky Sports HD 4 will launch on 29 April. I'm struggling to see what other UK channels can go HD for Sky to hit 50. More4, BBC channels proper, Five...there isn't that much HD content to go around.


baw said...

Another great piece of news.

Will viewers in the STV region get all the programming though?

Some programming is not available in Scotland as they opt out of showing the FA Cup games for example.

Big Red said...

hate to say it again I told you so

Big Red said...

Sky have just released

ITV1 HD, Hallmark Channel HD and Sky Sports HD 4

Big Red said...

Sky also state they will hit 50 HD channels by Xmas.

So another 10 HD channels on top on the current 37 + these 3.

Nialli said...

@Big Red. I think we must have typed that news simultaneously!

Big Red said...

Its really good news that these will be added at no extra cost either - well XL TV goes up by £1.50 from April.

I'm going to put my neck on the line and state Sky1 HD will be announced by end of the month.

A deal is really close.

Nialli said...

Is it tied to the sale of the VM channels to Sky?
OFCOM report should appear before the end of the month btw

Big Red said...

Understanding is VM have done both, Part of the TV sale and Ofcom.

i.e. if TV sale falls through then it will be done via the Ofcom reduced price.

VM are keen for option 1 as this will include other HD channels non prem that is.

If Ofcom rule in favour then we know Sky will refuse and take it to the next level - they will not reduce prices

matthew said...

great news....just sky one HD....and i'll be a very happy bunny...roll on world cup...

Nialli said...

Bad news likely for Scottish viewers - Sky says that ITV1 HD will be available to Sky customers in England and Wales. Not Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Big Red said...


It won't be long before you're watching The Gadget Show in glorious HD!

It doesn’t look like it’ll be long before Five joins the HD revolution along with the likes of BBC, ITV and Channel 4, after Ofcom decided to award the fourth DTT HD Stream to Five.

Commenting on the decision by Ofcom, Five’s Director of Strategy, Charles Constable, said: “Five is pleased to be awarded the fourth DTT HD stream so Freeview viewers can enjoy the best of our programmes in high definition format. We look forward to resolving outstanding issues with Ofcom so our HD service can join those from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in due course.”

When those issues will be resolved is still unknown, but one thing’s for certain, you haven’t seen our Jason until you’ve seen him in all his HD glory. We’ll keep you posted…

Big Red said...

ITV HD will be on Virgin 113.

Afront said...

Getting a bad feeling about this up here in Chillyjockoland...

@virginmedia are saying:

"Apologies, slight correction - we will carry across our entire network wherever we can, ITV/STV are in disc. about Scotland"


"We can't say at this time. ITV/STV are in discussions about Scotland."

matthew said...

following Big Red....FIVE HD as a liverpool fan better get used to football on Five!!! HD as least!!! gates seemed to have opened!!!

Nialli said...

According to the Freeview site, Five HD will be launching at the "end of 2010".

Big Red said...

OK I'm not going to mention any Sky HD channels here but are we VM customer now starting to see value for money when it comes to HD Channels/HD On Demand?

Movies: Sky (2) VM (1)
Sky - MGM & Disney
VM - Film 4

Sports: Sky (3) VM (2)

Entertainment: Sky (10) VM (6)
Sky - SciFi, E4, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, FX, MTV, History, Bio, CI & Discovery.

VM - Living, FX, MTV, Nat Geo, E4 & Discovery.

Free-to-air : Sky (4) VM (3)
Sky - BBC, 4, ITV & Luxe
VM - BBC, 4 & ITV

Total Sky (19) VM (12)+ BBC iPlayer HD and I'm not going to talk about the hundreds of HD content on demand.

We VM customers with V+ get all this for free - no extra HD subscriptions.

Exlcuding Sky HD VM are currently 9 HD channels behind Sky which would take VM HD channel count to 21 with 2 exclusive HD channels.

If VM can offer these extra 9 at no extra cost to us I think we have the best HD content value for money.

I have not included the Sky HD channels as there is no point trying to compete - they seem to be turning every Sky Channel in HD with Sky Sports 4 and Sky News on the way with Sky2/3 also on the list.

Sky HD Channels will be a at a premiuem for VM customer so fully expect to pay unless Ofcom really do play hard ball and thrash Sky to reduce wholesale prices then whatever saver our CEO has promissed will be used for Sky HD channels.

VM is on the rise - Best Broadband in the land, best value phone and a TV service that has HD content to match Skys and then we have the next Gen Tivo boxes.

So keep your ears to the ground for more press releases.

There is still more before the 1st April VM are not done yet.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about VM having the "best value phone"!

tvsersity said...

@BigRed You aren't making much sense to me. You can't just omit Sky's own HD line-up, pretending they don't exist, as I'm afaid they do.

Sky's HD line-up is streets ahead of Virgin and I don't see that changing. For every one new HD channel Virgin add, Sky add several.

Crucially Virgin are still missing Sky One HD, and ALL of the Sky HD movie channels. Pretty essential stuff for HD fans which no amount of rubbish like Living HD, MTV HD, or ITV HD will make up for.

Big Red said...

@ tvsersity

Read post again.

Skys HD Channels are premium channels and I state that.

Skys Premium channels are already avaivable to VM but VM refuse to pay the high wholesale price.

I'm comparing like for like HD services excl Skys Premium HD channels.

These channels will be released to VM customers either at reduced wholesale prices or part of an ongoing TV sale deal.

Sky customers pay £10 for HD services.VM pay nothing hence the missing premium content.

Sky tend to buy TV channels rebadge and then release HD version.

But then if your a Sky customer you will know what actual HD content is shown on there HD channels - even the HD movies not all movies are showN in HD

Check Sky's EPG it tells you what is in HD on there HD channels.

VM have released 5 new HD channels this month which serval have Sky released?

Its VM who will catch Sky up before you know it.

Yes Sky Sports beats anything out there even ESPN which reduces next year.

But what I can say is watch out when the next Prem League deal comes up for bidding.

ESPN are 10 times the size of Sky Sports - VM already have a very good relationship with ESPN and a joint venture is already in the making.

Erich said...

It's not quite accurate to say that HD is "free" on VM. It's only "free", if you pay for VM's most expensive XL package. So if you just take the M or L packages, where Living, BBC, C4 and MTV are available in SD, you don't get the HD versions of those channel.

tvsersity said...

It's worth remembering that the Sky HD box is free, but Virgin charge £75 for a V+.

Is £10 a month worth it to get:

Sky One HD
Bio HD
Crime and Investigation HD
Disney HD
History HD
Luxe HD
Rush HD
Sci-Fi HD
Sky Arts 1 HD
Sky Arts 2 HD

And most importantly, the option of Sky Movies and Sports HD.

The availability of the latter is a key selling point, and (in addition to their vast advertising budget) why Sky HD will dominate the market.

Square eyes said...

Just to correct you a little, the V+ is FREE with VM, you pay the installation fee - £49 check their website, plus this was the case long before Sky were doing their HDbox for so called free, and for which a customer pays £60 or £30 activation.

Afront said...

Can one of you guys "with contacts" find out about whether Virgin customers in Scotland will receive ITV HD or not?

The latest press release says "channels from ITV available to all Virgin TV customers" - are there any other HD channels owned by ITV apart from ITV HD?

Big Red said...

@ Afront

VM customer services are stating a nationwide release.
I dont live in Scotland so i dont know if you guys get the normal SD channel - if you do then it suggests it is a nationwide release on VM

ITV Press Release does not state which regions

Sky Press Release does state only England & Wales.

So I'm guessing if any Sky customers in Scotland wont get ITV HD channel unless ITV and STV sort out there fued.

If your a VM customer and have access to ITV SD then according to press release and customer services its not region specfic.

Afront said...

Thanks for that Big Red.

Here in Scotland we have STV on channel 103 but we also get ITV1 (London) on channel 853. It's labeled "AD" (audio description) and is invaluable when Doc Martin, Poirot, Champions League football etc. is on.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Big Red said...

@ Afront

Not good news I'm afraid, see web link.

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