* Skins, Shameless and Desperate Housewives in HD * 4HD joins Virgin Media's HD line-up from BBC, ESPN, LIVING, FX, MTV and National Geographic * Three HD channels launch on Virgin Media tomorrow
LONDON, July 29, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Virgin Media (Nasdaq:VMED) today announced that Channel 4's High Definition (HD) channel, 4HD, will join its HD line-up. 4HD was the first full-schedule HD channel to be launched by a UK terrestrial broadcaster and offers ground-breaking programmes including Skins, Shameless and Desperate Housewives in glorious High Definition.
4HD will be available to Virgin Media's 3.5 million digital TV customers and joins the BBC HD channel, ESPN HD, LIVING HD, FX HD, MTV Networks International's HD channel, MTVNHD, and National Geographic HD in Virgin Media's linear HD line-up.
FX HD, MTVNHD and National Geographic HD are launching on Virgin Media's TV platform tomorrow. ESPN HD will launch on 3rd August, with 4HD and LIVING HD coming soon.
Mark Schweitzer, chief commercial officer at Virgin Media, said: "Channel 4 is home to some of the UK's most talked about and innovative TV programmes with a great mix of fantastic home grown shows and top imports, and we're delighted to be bringing them in HD to our customers. We continue to evolve our TV service, across linear TV channels and on demand content, and our growing HD line-up offers a great choice from some of the best UK and US TV series, documentaries, comedy, sport and music."
Sarah Rose, Head of Channel Development at Channel 4, said: "We want our viewers to be able to watch their favourite Channel 4 programmes in the format they want and across multiple platforms so we're delighted to be launching 4HD on Virgin Media. Our catch-up service, 4oD, has been a great success on Virgin Media's TV platform and, as we continue to invest in HD production, we're bringing more Channel 4 programmes to more viewers in HD."
4HD is a simulcast of the core Channel 4 schedule with a proportion of programmes produced and transmitted in the HD format. Programmes currently broadcast in HD include Ugly Betty, Come Dine With Me and Shameless as well as the best documentaries, current affairs, music and film. Channel 4 is committed to increasing its investment in HD production and the proportion of its schedule transmitted in high definition over time.
4HD will be available to all of Virgin Media's TV customers at no extra cost, alongside the BBC HD channel. Virgin Media will make its full range of HD channels available at no extra cost to its XL TV customers.
Virgin Media customers will be able to watch FX HD on Channel 158, MTVNHD on Channel 310 and National Geographic HD on Channel 232.
Virgin Media is also currently in active talks with UKTV about Good Food HD. The company also offers around 300 hours of HD content on its on demand TV platform, including BBC iPlayer in HD, around 60 HD films to choose from at any one time and a range of HD programming such as The Sopranos and Band of Brothers.
Virgin Media's digital TV platform was recently named the top pay TV service for customer support and value for money and the joint best for overall customer satisfaction in the uSwitch Digital TV Customer Satisfaction Awards 2009.
Notes to editors
LIVING, home to the Next Top Model franchise and cult phenomenon Most Haunted, is one of the UK's most watched digital TV channels. LIVING HD will show some of the channel's high-profile acquisitions to maximum effect, including Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Private Practice and CSI.
The ESPN HD channel will offer live Barclays Premier League and Clydesdale Bank Premier League football as well a wide range of international football and top quality sports. It will be available at no additional cost to Virgin Media's XL TV customers. Sports fans on Virgin Media's M or L pack will be able to subscribe to ESPN and ESPN HD for GBP8 per month if they subscribe to any combination of the Sky Sports channels or GBP10 per month if not.
FX HD offers a mixture of top American programming and first run drama, comedy and crime shows such as The Wire, Family Guy and the forthcoming series True Blood from the creator of Six Feet Under.
MTV Networks International's HD channel, MTVNHD, which is dedicated to music and kids, broadcasts original music-based shows including iconic series such as MTV Unplugged and high profile live music events such as the MTV Europe Music Awards. Each Saturday and Sunday morning the channel also broadcasts a selection of Nickelodeon's hit children's shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
National Geographic HD is home to some of the most engrossing documentaries available, such as Extreme Ice and Ancient Megastructures, documenting science and technology, and unravelling history and the wonders of the natural world.
About Virgin Media
With almost 10 million customers, Virgin Media is the UK's first quad-play provider of broadband, TV, phone and mobile.
The company is one of the largest residential broadband providers in the UK, using a unique fibre optic cable network to deliver next generation ultrafast internet access of up to 50Mb to just over half of all homes. Combined with a high speed ADSL service and mobile broadband products, Virgin Media is able to offer broadband internet access to virtually the entire country.
Virgin Media has the UK's most advanced TV on demand service and is the only TV platform to carry BBC iPlayer. It is the second largest provider of pay TV, was the first to launch a high definition TV service and offers a high-specification, HD-ready V+ personal video recorder.
The company operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world's first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.
Virgin Media also owns Virgin Media Television (VMtv) which runs eight entertainment channels, including Virgin1, LIVING, Bravo and Challenge. VMtv is a 50 per cent joint partner with BBC Worldwide in UKTV, which consists of ten channels including Dave, G.O.L.D., Watch and Alibi.
With operations based entirely in the UK, Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (VMED).
For more information, go to www.virginmedia.com
Virgin Media Inc. Emma Hutchinson, Corporate PR +44 (0)20 7299 5702