Virgin Media: We're still focused on HD

Virgin Media - soon to be carrying Sky1 again
Virgin Media - soon to be carrying Sky1 again

Virgin Media has told TechRadar that it is still very much focused on bringing HD content to its viewers, despite not coming to an agreement to broadcast Sky's basic channels in high definition.

After more than 18 months, Virgin Media and Sky announced that they had come to terms on bringing Sky's basic channels back to the cable platform, but many were surprised that the deal only encompassed standard definition channels.

This meant that Virgin – one of only three HD-enabled platforms in the UK – would continue to broadcast only one 'linear' or live broadcast channel – BBC HD, on top of an extensive package of video on demand (VOD) HD programming.

Still on the agenda

However, speaking to TechRadar, a Virgin Media spokesperson insisted that HD was still very much on the agenda.

"We are in on-going discussion with a number of broadcasters with regards to new SD and HD channels," said the spokesperson.

"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.

Increasing interest

"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," the spokesperson added

"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."


In what can only be described as interesting times for broadcasting, platform limitations are becoming increasingly apparent across the board.

Virgin Media's on demand service over cable is streets ahead of the satellite broadcasters' efforts - with BSkyB likely to seek out an 'VOD over IP' service which ties into their Sky Broadband offering in the coming year as a solution.

But in terms of HD, Sky's larger bandwidth and more efficient encryption methods means that it can carry a whole wealth of linear channels.

Virgin Media will no doubt be looking at a solution to bringing more linear HD to its viewers in the coming months, but in the meantime its focus will remain on serving high-definition programs on demand.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.