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Info 4 HD channels to launch on Virgin Media - 14-July-2009, 14:30

4 HD channels to launch on Virgin Media

By James Welsh

Virgin Media has confirmed that four more high definition channels will join its digital cable TV lineup.
Living HD, FX HD, National Geographic HD and MTVN HD will all become available to XL customers at no additional charge. The first channel will become available at the end of the month, but no precise date was announced and it is not known when the others will launch.

Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett said: "As more homes become HD-ready, the launch of four new HD channels marks the next stage in the evolution of our pioneering TV service.
"Our lineup of HD channels and hugely popular on demand content is a unique and winning combination and we'll continue to bring more sport, films, entertainment and documentaries to our customers."

Virgin Media is also "currently in active talks" with UKTV about launching a high definition version of Good Food on the platform.
Living HD, an entirely new entrant to the UK high definition linear channel scene, is expected to be the first of a series of high definition channels in the pipeline from Virgin Media Television for each of its key channel brands.

The availability of linear high definition services on Virgin's digital cable service has been a long-running matter of debate on Digital Spy's cable forums, with the operator concentrating more on the provision of video on demand content - including some in high definition - even as rival operators such as Sky ramped up the provision of linear HD channels. In April, Virgin told DS that they were now "actively focused" on HD in what was seen as a shift in its previous position on high definition matters.

The topic resurfaced in recent weeks after ESPN announced that it would show those Premier League matches it acquired after the demise of Setanta on a new high definition channel in the UK. Virgin did not announce anything about ESPN HD carriage this morning.

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