Setanta Sports News and virginmedia.com sports coverage announced – and Setanta goes free for XL customers as planned

Setanta Sports News is going to be launching soon, it has been officially announced. More news is available here. There will also be a new website at virginmedia.com showing football highlights, etc – when the new season kicks off. All Setanta Sports channels went free for XL TV customers today as well – as planned. Setanta Sports channels now free to XL customers are Racing UK, Setanta Sports 1, Setanta Sports 2, Celtic TV, Rangers TV and Setanta Golf.

Reports – Virgin Sports News likely to launch before the 11th August

According to an article on Media Guardian, a new channel to rival Sky Sports News will launch on Virgin Media before the football season starts on the 11th August. The channel is likely to be called Virgin Sports News, and it’s thought it will initially only be available to cable viewers, although a Freeview launch could be on the cards. Virgin Media have a press conference this Thursday, which is thought to be the official announcement of Virgin Sports News and also the official announcement of Setanta Sports becoming free for XL TV customers (the bouquet of Setanta Sport channels will be going free for XL customers from this Thursday – the day of the press conference). Virgin Sports News (name not confirmed) will be a joint partnership between Virgin and Setanta.

Virgin Media announces new Setanta Sports deal

Virgin Media will be offering six Setanta Sports channels for free to XL TV customers. This is an excellent deal – especially for those who don’t want to subscribe to premium add-on channels like Sky Sports. From the 26th July they will be free to XL customers. The press release on the VirginMedia.com website says “Customers will get live coverage from over 250 showcase events a year, among them some of the biggest occasions in the sporting calendar. These will include 46 live games from the Barclays Premier League, 60 matches from the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League and the US PGA Tour golf, as well as European League football, rugby and horse racing from around the country. From 2008, customers will also get 25 of the 40 televised fixtures from the English FA Cup, a selection of England football Internationals and the Community Shield”. More information on this Setanta news can be found in the official press release – click here.

Defunct channels removed from EPG

Virgin Media have finally removed the placeholders for Sky Two, Sky Sports News, Sky News, Sky Travel, Sky Travel Extra and Discovery Kids. The Sky channels were previously displaying a title board, since they ceased broadcasting on Virgin Media earlier this year. Discovery Kids has been closed down on all platforms for some time. You might need to reboot your set top box for the changes to take effect.

Music On Demand free for XL customers

Virgin Media customers on the XL TV package now get the Music On Demand section for free. Press On Demand on your remote and go into Music On Demand for tonnes of free music tracks. They haven’t updated the page on the Virgin Media site yet though, so I’m still a bit wary whether this is actually free yet (although, when going into Music On Demand on screen it does bring up a message saying it is free on XL).