Virgin TV is a digital and analogue cable television service in the UK, owned by Liberty Global. Its origins date from NTL and Telewest, two of the largest cable operators in the country which merged on 6 March 2006. All services (including TV) were rebranded under the Virgin name in February 2007. Virgin TV is the largest cable television provider in the country.
Virgin TV ranks as the UK's second-largest pay TV service. In 2007, it had 3.6 million subscribers, compared to BSkyB's 8.2 million on Sky, as of Q3 2007. Virgin's digital cable television currently uses the Nagravision 3 conditional access system.
Currently 55% of UK households potentially have access to Virgin's network, while anyone in the UK with a line-of-sight view of the Astra and Eurobird satellites at 28.2° east has the ability to receive Sky's service.
All television signals broadcast in digital except for Milton Keynes, which remained analogue-only until the end of 2013, at which point the network was shut down due to a contractual breakdown with BT, the owners of the network in Milton Keynes. It is unclear what will happen to this legacy network.
(February 2007 as Virgin TV)
|Slogan||"An Exciting Place to Live"|
As of 2008, Virgin Media functioned as a single company; however, it relied on its three existing infrastructures: the Langley-based NTL, Bromley-based Cable and Wireless and Knowsley-based Telewest platforms. As part of the Next Generation Television network, the infrastructure was consolidated into a single super headend at Langley in 2010, with Knowsley serving as a backup.
In May 2008, Virgin Media began their "long term" region-by-region analogue television service switch off project, beginning with Coventry and Glasgow. In areas where analogue transmission will be turned off but no digital replacement introduced customers will be offered Virgin's off-network services, with the company looking at developing a television-over-DSL service for areas outside its cable network. Analogue subscribers in areas where digital cable services are already available will be offered transfers to new packages. The firm signalled that it wants to use the capacity to provide faster broadband internet.
On 11 September 2009, Cisco Systems announced a deal to support Virgin Media's Internet Protocol TV distribution platform and upgrade its legacy digital TV infrastructure. Virgin Media deployed Cisco Digital Video Headend technology in all of its regional and central headends, across its national fibre optic network. The TV platform will be capable of delivering advanced services to more than 12.6 million UK homes. The infrastructure helped Virgin Media to reduce operating expenses, support the rollout of new conditional-access security services, and accelerate the introduction of new standard and high-definition services. A Virgin Media spokesman later clarified that the plan "isn't quite announcing the 'launch of IPTV services'. The agreement with Cisco is to help enhance our existing TV platform, which broadcasts content over DVB-C and then our VoD service runs on IP."
On 24 November 2009, Virgin Media entered into a strategic partnership with TiVo. Under the mutually exclusive agreement, TiVo developed a converged television and broadband interactive interface to power Virgin Media's next generation, high definition set-top boxes. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. TiVo became the exclusive provider of middleware and user interface software for Virgin Media's next generation set top boxes. Virgin Media became the exclusive distributor of TiVo services and technology in the United Kingdom.
Virgin Media will pay TiVo monthly fees, which commenced upon delivery of its first set-top box, which are guaranteed and increase over time. The agreement has a multi-year term with additional limited renewal rights granted to Virgin. The agreement created a mutually exclusive distribution arrangement under which TiVo will develop software for DVR set top box platforms and non-DVR set-top boxes that will be deployed in the future by Virgin in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media will promote the product and has exclusive rights to use the TiVo brand and technology in the United Kingdom. As part of the agreement, Virgin Media and TiVo entered into a mutual covenant not to assert with regards to each party's intellectual property. Investment bank Lazard Capital Markets estimated the hookup as a "$48 million deal" for TiVo. Virgin Media is to maintain its current Liberate middleware provided by SeaChange International through until at least January 2011.
The BT Group owned (but Virgin Media leased) Milton Keynes franchise which was analogue-only was switched off in November 2013. BT's Openreach division selected Milton Keynes for a large scale fibre-to-the-premises trial (as opposed to fibre-to-the-cabinet in other parts of the UK). It remains to be seen what impact, if any, this will have on the viability of the Virgin Media leasing arrangement of the analogue HFC network there, which, uniquely, is believed to pass through BT infrastructure – not wholly VM's. The leasing arrangement dates back to 1999 and was mandated by the European Union in response to competition concerns surrounding BT's Cable TV interests in Milton Keynes and Westminster. Virgin Media completely withdrew its services in Westminster on 31 January 2012, after being unable to upgrade the network and deliver their digital services at a reasonable cost. The Milton Keynes cable network, which has a significant number of users due to technical satellite and aerial reception issues down to local geography, does not suffer the same 'conservation' area rules as the Borough of Westminster, and thus, has been spared for now.
During 2009 digital upgrade work began on the last Virgin Media owned analogue-only areas in Bolton, Slough and West London as well as parts of Leicester, Northern Ireland and Southampton, with most areas completed between 2010 and 2011. In these areas Virgin Media had only offered customers analogue cable television.
For customers in non-cabled areas, Virgin Media offered a branded set-top box for the Freeview digital terrestrial television service, called "Free TV", until December 2009 when it was discontinued. The set-top box was free to any customer taking the Bundle One subscription package or for an addition fee to other customers, up to five additional set-top boxes were available per account.
The next phase of this service was to be a combined IPTV and digital terrestrial television service similar to BT Vision and TalkTalk TV. Virgin Media signed an agreement with Cable & Wireless to become the unbundled local loop (LLU) network provider, providing access to 4 million homes outside of the Virgin Media cable franchise network and would include linear pay broadcast channels and video on demand. This was originally scheduled to be released during 2008 but was delayed and scaled back as Virgin Media concentrated on improving its cable broadband proposition instead of focusing on competing with Sky in the premium television market. As of 2010, no further developments have been announced and the plans appear to have been abandoned.
Virgin TV carries around 301 digital television and radio channels, including a mixture of subscription, premium subscription and pay-per-view channels.
Telewest (one of Virgin Media's predecessors) became the first UK broadcaster to offer HDTV, launching its service in December 2005; several months earlier than that of its chief competitor, Sky. An HD-enabled set-top box is required to view HDTV.
Virgin TV branded its original high-definition (HD) Digital Video Recorder (PVR) service as V+. The service uses a PVR set-top box, with three tuners and a 160 GB hard disk for up to 80 hours' recording. The presence of three tuners means that V+ can record two channels at the same time while viewers watch a third. This contrasts with most other PVR systems such as Sky+, which supports only two tuners. In December 2010 a 1 TB TiVo HD PVR from Cisco was released, with a 500 GB model released in May 2011. From late 2011, Samsung Electronics will join Cisco as a second supplier of TiVo STBs for Virgin Media.
Virgin also offer a Cisco V HD Box, for a fixed upgrade fee from their standard set-top box with no additional monthly subscription fee.
At the product launch of Telewest's TVDrive on 1 December 2005, the only HD channels available were BBC HD and ITV HD trial channels. ITV HD was removed from the network after the completion of the trial on 30 November 2006. On 1 December 2007, BBC HD was transformed into a full service.
During 2009, Virgin launched FX HD, MTVNHD, National Geographic HD, Channel 4 HD, ESPN HD and Living HD. Living HD represented the first HD channel to be made exclusively available to Virgin TV.
In 2010, Media added E4 HD, Syfy HD, Discovery HD, Eurosport HD, ITV HD, STV HD, Channel 5 HD, Film4 HD, ten Sky Movies HD channels, Sky Sports HD1 and HD2, Sky1 HD, Comedy Central HD, UTV HD and BBC One HD. Both Film4 HD and UTV HD are exclusive to Virgin TV.
In 2013, Virgin Media added Cartoon Network HD, TCM HD, British Eurosport 2 HD, ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, ITV4 HD, BBC Two HD, TLC HD, NHK World HD, Animal Planet HD, BBC Red Button HD, MTV HD, Nickelodeon HD, BT Sport 1 HD, BT Sport 2 HD and More4 HD.
The company currently brands its VOD service as "On Demand". In contrast to the Sky On Demand system from Sky, Virgin Media offers a "true" VOD system, allowing customers to stream programmes whenever they want to watch them from servers at the customer's local head end. As the broadcaster automatically stores content on Virgin Media servers, this removes the need to pre-record many programmes. Users can search through a large library of programmes (called "TV Choice") from content providers including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Discovery Networks, National Geographic, CBS Paramount, Buena Vista, Alliance Atlantis, Warner Bros., Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon), Current TV, BabyTV, PictureBox Movies, NBC Universal and BSkyB; and watch them when they want to. Subscribers to Virgin Media's premier television package, Size: XL, have the content included in their subscription, while other customers can pay £5 per month for unlimited access, or can utilise pay-per-view. In addition, Virgin Media offers a "Catch-up" service, which includes a free 7-day "watch-again" feature for selected television programmes broadcast by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The service also offers over 500 films (service-branded "FilmFlex"), and more than 8000 music-videos. On 12 July 2007 the music videos became free for all XL customers.
Additionally, it was revealed that as of 2008 one third of BBC television programmes viewed on its iPlayer service are accessed through Virgin Media's on Demand service and that 50% of all Virgin Media customers "regularly" use on Demand services.
On 25 November 2009, Virgin Media added dynamic advertising using SeaChange International's AdPulse system. Ads will appear in thirty second pre-roll and post-roll ads which will be matched to the programme being watched.
In January 2010, Virgin Media launched Virgin Media Music, offering over 3,500 videos to watch completely free. Virgin Media confirmed it would be launching a rival to both the BBC iPlayer and Sky Player by the end of 2010, with subscribers accessing content both online and through their mobile devices.
On 26 April 2010, Virgin Media announced the launch of its first online movies service: Virgin Media Online Movies. All rentals will offer unlimited streamed views for 48 hours so viewers can pause, rewind and watch again, plus the film can be watched wherever the account holder logs on. Virgin Media Online Movies is powered by FilmFlex Movies Ltd., the service is delivered over the web using Microsoft Silverlight and will initially present movies in standard definition. A HD version of the service is in testing, though there is no word on when it might become available.
On 29 July 2010, Virgin Media announced the beta launch of Virgin Media Player, an online and mobile TV player. Hundreds of hours of content for the beta trial were made available from ITV plc, Living, Disney, Cartoon Network, National Geographic, Discovery and MTV Networks Europe. The beta trial is open to Virgin Media's XL TV customers who also have a broadband connection with the company. Virgin Media brought more content to Virgin Media Player as the company built towards full launch later in the year. Virgin Mobile pay monthly customers are able to access an hour of Virgin Media Player every day, at no extra charge. Virgin Media Player on mobile launched with 4oD content which was joined by MTV Snax, MTV Music, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.
A full launch for Virgin Media Player happened in late October 2010 on both computers and mobiles, with the latter charging additional fees for each hour or part hour of access on an escalating price scale, and availability initially only over 3G not Wi-Fi. A facility allowing customers to watch a programme on one device, pause it and then continue viewing from exactly the same point via another device expected to be added in mid-2011.
On 7 September 2012, Virgin Media announced the launch of Virgin TV Anywhere, a new service that will enable Virgin TV customers to watch live TV channels and on-demand content via the internet through their computer or iOS device, similar to Sky Go. The service was launched two months later on 7 November 2012, replacing Virgin Media Player..
At the product launch of Telewest's TVDrive on 1 December 2005, their Teleport service included a modest selection of on demand HD content including episodes of BBC nature documentaries Pride, The Blue Planet and Wild Weather, pay-per-view episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives from Channel 4, a small selection of documentaries from the History Channel, Metropolitan Opera Live in HD's The Magic Flute and pay-per-view films from FilmFlex.
On 8 October 2007, Virgin Media announced that they had struck a deal with Channel 4 that enables them to offer a selection of Channel 4 programming in HD via their TV on demand service.
On 8 January 2009, it was announced that ITV Player would be added to Virgin Media's digital cable TV service. A selection of ITV's High Definition programming was supposed to be made available on demand as part of the deal. 12 March 2010, it was announced that some of ITV HD's content will be available on demand via ITV Net Player on Virgin Media's TV platform.
On 16 April 2009, the BBC announced that they would offer HD content through BBC iPlayer, with a Virgin Media spokesperson adding "We're working closely with the BBC to make this service available on our platform as soon as possible." HD content, including Robin Hood, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Later... with Jools Holland, became available on 1 May 2009.
On 29 June 2009, Virgin Media announced that from July the PictureBox movie service would be made available to Virgin Media's 3.6 million TV subscribers providing a broad selection of 28 films at any given time, with seven new titles being added to the line-up each Friday. Most of the PictureBox films are available in HD and many will not yet have been seen on free-to-air television in the UK. It marks the PictureBox's first UK platform to present films in HD.
On 17 September 2009, Virgin Media announced an agreement with Disney, securing the rights for three TV channels (Disney Channel, Disney XD and Playhouse Disney), TV on demand content including HD programming and on demand content to be made available online. The deal also includes the rights for Virgin Media to air Disney XD and on demand content from Disney XD via the mobile.
On 10 February 2010, Virgin announced that Discovery Networks would make HD on demand content available, such as Deadliest Catch and Miami Ink, during Spring 2010 as part of a deal to add Discovery HD. On 15 March 2010, Virgin Media and NBC Universal Global Networks announced that they would also look to make HD content available on demand where possible, as part of the deal to add Sci Fi HD.
On 5 August 2010, Virgin Media announced that popular Comedy Central HD programmes available on demand from 1 September 2010. HBO content such as The Sopranos were removed on 14 October 2010, following HBO's exclusive deal with Sky, which led to the creation of Sky Atlantic.
On 25 October 2010, Virgin Media announced a deal with NBC Universal Television Distribution for the video-on-demand rights in the UK to a broad selection of NBC Universal series. Under the terms of the agreement, these titles will be offered as new content across Virgin Media's three entertainment platforms; TV, online and mobile. From 1 December, Virgin Media customers were able to access past seasons of shows such as House, Heroes, The Office and 30 Rock, in HD through TV on Demand.
On 11 November 2010, Virgin Media announced a multiscreen deal with Channel Five to bring programming from all of Five's linear TV channels to its TV, online and mobile video on demand platforms, with some shows also available in HD.
The service has access to video on demand: current HD providers include BBC, FilmFlex, Fox, History, National Geographic Channel and PictureBox programming. Notable content includes Planet Earth and Dexter.
All of Virgin Media's HD set-top boxes are 3D compatible.
Virgin Media had displayed a V+ in their Oxford Street store using polarised glasses and trialled over a private video on demand network using a HD stream interlaced with two pictures in 2009. In March 2010, during the Ideal Home Show at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Virgin Media showcased a reel of 3D content – including sport and video games – as a taste of its plans for 3D television. Virgin confirmed plans to start offering 3D content to subscribers via its on-demand platform rather than launching a static channel. The demo used active glasses but Virgin Media said that its 3D service would also support passive glasses.
On 28 September 2010, Virgin Media announced the launch of 3D Movies on Demand – the first commercially available 3D TV service in the UK. All Virgin Media TV customers, with either a V HD, V+ or TiVo box, 3D TV and glasses, are able to experience 3D Movies on Demand. The launch of 3D Movies on Demand, powered by FilmFlex, initially featured StreetDance 3D, Garfield's Pet Force 3D, A Christmas Carol 3D, Step Up 3D and Despicable Me 3D. Virgin Media also announced an exclusive 3D TV partnership with Samsung Electronics which would see Samsung 3D TVs featured in Virgin Media stores as well as other joint 3D showcases and marketing opportunities.
Virgin Media also committed to investing in producing original 3D content. "We can confirm we're looking at producing original content in 3D, it makes sense for us to look at things like live music with the Virgin Media V Festival," said Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media. Going on to explain that movies in 3D would remain available on a paid-for basis, but Virgin Media customers would be able to access other 3D content, such as TV shows, for free. She confirmed that the company has already secured the rights of a couple of TV programmes to be shown in 3D, but could not name them yet.
Between 22 May and 5 June 2011, Eurosport 3D was broadcast exclusively on Virgin Media for the 2011 French Open. Selected 3D matches were also available on demand. The channel will return on 27 May 2012, to cover the 2012 French Open and 2012 Summer Olympics.
4seven (stylised as 47) is a British free-to-air television channel which launched on 4 July 2012 at 7.00 pm. According to Channel 4, it was created in response to its viewers demanding Channel 4 to broadcast old programming from the network.4seven launched with 20 hours of content in the schedule per day. In the 8.00 pm and 10.00 pm slots the channel broadcasts a repeat of shows from the previous day that have created a critical buzz in newspapers, chatter on social media through Twitter and Facebook and reaction on the overnight log of comments kept by the broadcaster. The 11.00 pm slot is used to repeat the programme shown on Channel 4 at 9.00 pm, which air again on 4seven at 9.00 pm the following day. The rest of the programmes on 4seven are repeats of the most popular ones of the week. Weekends are devoted to multiple repeats of the best-rated programmes of the past seven days.Boomerang (UK and Irish TV channel)
Boomerang is a television channel broadcast in the United Kingdom and in the Republic of Ireland launched on 27 May 2000. It is broadcast 24 hours on the Sky, Virgin Media, BT TV, TalkTalk Plus TV, Virgin Media Ireland and TVPlayer (When subscribed to TVPlayer Plus). It mostly features classic cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo.
It is a subscription digital based television channel, which features cartoons, mostly from the Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. Animation libraries, which include many Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. Animation titles.Cooking Channel
Cooking Channel is an American pay television channel owned by Television Food Network, a joint venture and general partnership between Discovery, Inc. (69%) and Tribune Media (31%). The channel is a spin-off of Food Network, broadcasting programming related to food and cooking.
As of February 2015, Cooking Channel is available to approximately 61,951,000 pay television households (53.2% of households with television) in the United States.Digital television in the United Kingdom
There are four major forms of digital television (DTV) broadcast in the United Kingdom: a direct-to-home satellite service from the Astra 28.2°E satellites provided by Sky UK, a cable television service provided by Virgin Media (known as Virgin TV); a free-to-air satellite service called Freesat; and a free-to-air digital terrestrial service called Freeview. In addition, an IPTV system known as BT Vision is provided by BT. Individual access methods vary throughout the country. 77% of the United Kingdom has access to HDTV via terrestrial digital television. Satellite is the only source of HDTV broadcast available for the remaining 23%.Discovery History
Discovery History is a channel with programming about history from Discovery Networks Northern Europe.Fox (UK and Ireland)
Fox (stylised as FOX) is a television channel in the United Kingdom and Ireland, owned by Disney Channels Worldwide. It launched on 12 January 2004 and was originally known as FX (in line with the American channel of the same name). Featuring a mix of animated comedies and American drama series, the channel's age demographic is adults aged 18 to 35 years old.High-definition television in the United Kingdom
High-definition television in the United Kingdom is available via cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial television. The first high-definition broadcasts began in 2006 and since then the number of channels available to view has grown to a maximum of 87 that can be viewed on pay-TV service, Sky.The majority of channels in the United Kingdom remain broadcast, and largely viewed, in standard-definition but most major broadcasters have begun or are soon beginning their initial forays into high-definition television. Similarly, the vast majority of viewing still takes place in standard-definition though penetration of high-definition displays and receivers is increasing.
High-definition broadcasts are available on satellite services: Freesat, Freesat from Sky and Sky; cable services Smallworld Cable and Virgin TV and terrestrial Freeview HD.Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin is an American romantic dramedy and satrical telenovela developed by Jennie Snyder Urman. The series premiered on October 13, 2014 on The CW. It is a loose adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen created by Perla Farías. The series stars Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a devout 23-year-old Latina virgin, who becomes pregnant after an accidental artificial insemination by her gynecologist. The program parodies commonly used tropes and devices in Latin telenovelas.
At the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, Jane the Virgin was nominated for the award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, received the Peabody Award, and Gina Rodriguez won the award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. It was also selected as one of the top 10 Television Programs of 2014 by the American Film Institute.
Beginning with the fourth episode of season three, the series's on-screen title card was modified, with "The Virgin" crossed out in favor of a substitution corresponding to each episode. This mirrored the storyline, in which Jane is no longer a virgin.On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the series for a fifth and final season, which premiered on March 27, 2019.List of HD channels in the United Kingdom
This is a list of current high definition channels that are available in the United Kingdom, together with those coming in the future, and those that have ceased broadcasting.
All HD channels in the UK broadcast at 1080i, apart from BT Sport 4K UHD and Virgin TV Ultra HD which are broadcast at 4K. HD channels can dynamically switch between 1080i/25 and 1080p/25 when broadcast via Freeview HD.List of former TV channels in the United Kingdom
This is a list of former TV channels in the United Kingdom.
EPG numbers are displayed in the columns to the left under the relevant service names.List of television stations in the United Kingdom
This list of linear television stations in the United Kingdom refers to television in the United Kingdom which is available from digital terrestrial, satellite, cable, and IPTV providers, with an estimated more than 480 channels.On Demand (Sky)
On Demand is the brand-name of a range of services from Sky designed to compete with video on demand services currently offered by rival companies such as Virgin TV or BT TV as well as internet television services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
On Demand has been available in various forms including: a PC version using a peer-to-peer platform over broadband Internet connection, a version for users of 3G mobile telephones, a push video on demand service for subscribers equipped with a Sky+ HD set-top box or the PVR3 version of the Sky+ set top box and a pull video-on-demand service.Portland TV
Portland TV is a British adult television company owned by Neon X. It broadcasts subscription and pay-per-view services to UK audiences on the Sky UK, Virgin TV and Freeview platforms. The company was established in London Docklands in 1995 as the adult broadcasting division of the British publishing group Northern & Shell. At one point Portland owned its own broadcasting facilities, but they were later transferred to Channel 5 (UK) which Northern & Shell also owned. In 2016 Portland TV was sold by Northern & Shell in a management buy-out, becoming wholly owned by Neon X, in a deal that marked Northern & Shell’s complete departure from involvement in the UK television industry. Portland was reportedly sold for less than £1 million after contributing less than two per cent of group revenues per year over the previous three years, or about £9 million per annum. Portland's managing director, Chris Ratcliff, led the buyout. At the time Portland was broadcasting five adult channels and two on-demand online services.The Originals (season 2)
The Originals, an American supernatural drama, was renewed for a second season by The CW on February 13, 2014 and it premiered on October 6, 2014.V
V (named vee ) is the 22nd letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.Virgin Media
Virgin Media Limited is a British company which provides telephone, television and internet services in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in Hook, Hampshire. Since 2013, Virgin Media has been a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc, an international television and telecommunications company. The company was previously listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and London Stock Exchange. Virgin Media is not a sister company of Virgin Mobile USA, which is owned by Sprint Corporation.The company was founded in March 2006 by the merger of NTL and Telewest, which created NTL:Telewest. In July 2006, the company purchased Virgin Mobile UK, creating the first "quadruple-play" media company in the United Kingdom, offering television, internet, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. In November 2006, the company signed a deal with Sir Richard Branson to licence the Virgin brand for the combined business. All of the company's consumer services were rebranded under the Virgin Media name in February 2007.Virgin Media owns and operates its own fibre-optic cable network in the United Kingdom, although currently their optical fibre network does not reach the customer premises, rather they connect to a street cabinet (called Fibre to the Cabinet or FTTC). As of 31 December 2012, it had a total of approximately 4.8 million cable customers, of whom around 3.79 million were supplied with its television services (Virgin TV), around 4.2 million with broadband internet services and around 4.1 million with fixed-line telephony services. At the same date, it had around 3 million mobile telephony customers. Virgin Media competes primarily in broadband with Sky, BT Group and TalkTalk, and in mobile with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three.W (UK TV channel)
W (formerly Watch) is a British pay television channel that was launched on 7 October 2008. On 15 February 2016, the channel was rebranded as W.
a subsidiary of Liberty Global
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Subscription television providers in Europe