Free Setanta for all customers this weekend

All customers – on any TV package – will have free access to the Setanta Sports channels this weekend. After the weekend, they will only be available for free to XL TV customers as before. The Virgin Media press release says “Virgin Media TV customers will have access to Setanta Sports 1, 2 and Setanta Golf all day Saturday and Sunday for no extra charge. Medium and Large TV pack customers would usually pay £8 a month for access to the Setanta bundle of channels”. Click here to read the press release in full.

Virgin to buy the ITV2 +1 slot for Virgin 1?

There are reports online that Virgin are considering buying one of ITV’s Freeview slots off them (the space currently used for ITV2 +1) to launch their new channel, Virgin 1. Originally it was thought the Ftn slot would be used for the new channel, but (as it’s only a 12 hour slot – and ITV2 +1 uses a 24 hour slot) they might not be – meaning Ftn might stay on Freeview after all. Virgin 1 is expected to launch in September/October.

New style Sky Movies PIN-protection now available on ex-NTL

Ex-NTL areas now have the new style PIN-protection – following on from the changes for ex-Telewest areas a few weeks ago. This means you still get prompted for the PIN whenever you go to a Sky Movies channel (except Sky Family), but can now use the mini guide while watching a film. When the channel is changed (ie to another Sky Movies channel), the PIN needs to be re-entered. The previous system didn’t let you view the mini guide while watching a film after the PIN had been put in.

Updated – Channel 4 +1 and other changes

Channel 4 +1 has launched on Virgin Media (and Sky) as planned today. It replaces Channel 4 +1 on the cable platform (channel 143), and will replace Film 4 +1 on Freeview. The Freeview change is expected to happen at 1pm today. Channel 4 will also be reshuffling all their channels on Freeview, and there’s also some speculation the ITV channels will be reshuffled as well. Also, on Virgin Media, the ex-BBC News 24 channel has been removed from the EPG following the channel number change a while back. Update – Channel 4 +1 now shows up on Freeview. If you rescan your box you should now see the lineup as follows (due to the Channel 4 reshuffle which has also taken place) – ITV2 on channel 6, ITV3 on channel 10, Channel 4 +1 on channel 13, More 4 on channel 14, ITV4 on channel 28, E4 on channel 29, E4 +1 on channel 30, ITV2 +1 on channel 31, and Film 4 on channel 32. Film 4 +1 no longer airs on Freeview. The speculated ITV channel reshuffle on Freeview hasn’t happened (yet).

Channel changes

Some channel changes on the Virgin Media platform have taken place. More 4 +1 on channel 143 has closed down on cable, and now displays an information slide telling people Channel 4 +1 launches on the 20th August. Paramount +1 has launched on channel 133. Paramount 2 has moved to channel 134. Nick Jr 2 has also appeared on channel 716. Customers may need to reboot their set top boxes for these changes to show correctly.

Coming soon to Virgin Media – BBC iPlayer

The BBC iPlayer will be launching on the Virgin Media cable platform soon – expanding the current selection of around 50 hours worth of programmes up to 500 hours, a new Virgin Media presentation says. The iPlayer on Virgin Media will be similar to the BBC’s Internet version of the iPlayer, and will extend the current Video On Demand BBC offerings, and is rumoured to be able to host every single programme shown on every BBC channel for 7 days after it’s first shown on the channels. The screengrab in that presentation of the new iPlayer service also suggests BBC Radio will be available as well (“Listen Again” like the BBC website, perhaps?). All sounds very interesting – should be great.

Related article – Internet version of the iPlayer