HD channels launch & more soon

Virgin have launched a raft of new HD channels for V+ customers.

FX HD, MTVNHD and National Geographic HD have all launched on Virgin Media (V+ only as these are high definition broadcasts) to join the existing BBC HD channel which – before today – was the only linear HD channel on Virgin TV. FX HD is available on channel 158, MTVNHD is available on channel 310 and National Geographic HD is available on channel 232.

Also, in a press release, Virgin Media have announced “ESPN HD will launch on 3rd August, with 4HD [Channel 4 HD] and LIVING HD coming soon”. They say “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”.

On Demand HD content is also still available.

Click here to read the press release in full.

ESPN, ESPN HD & ESPN Classic confirmed

Details of the new ESPN channel on Virgin Media have been announced.

Virgin Media have said “the new ESPN channel will be available in both standard and High Definition (HD) to Virgin Media’s 3.5 million digital TV customers from 3rd August”.

This comes as a surprise as we didn’t think Virgin would get the HD channel.

The new UK ESPN channel will air Premier League Football and other top sports.

Virgin Media continue – “Customers who subscribe to Virgin Media’s XL TV pack will be able to watch ESPN and ESPN HD at no additional cost. As part of the deal, these subscribers will also receive ESPN Classic, featuring the greatest moments of UK and European sport… dedicated sports fans who are on Virgin Media’s M or L pack will be able to subscribe to ESPN and ESPN HD for a great value price of £8 a month if they already subscribe to any combination of the Sky Sports channels, or £10 a month if not” and “as a special introduction to the new ESPN and ESPN HD channels, Virgin Media will make these ESPN channels available to all of its digital TV customers, for no additional cost, during August”.

So this means three new channels coming to Virgin Media in August – ESPN, ESPN HD (for V+ customers) and ESPN Classic. The existing ESPN America channel will close down on all platforms – cable and Sky.

Click here to read the Virgin Media press release in full.

ESPN UK to replace ESPN America

It’s been confirmed ESPN’s new UK channel won’t run side-by-side with ESPN America – it will replace ESPN America on Virgin Media, Sky and Top Up TV (digital terrestrial).

The new UK channel will be available in standard definition and high definition on Sky. There’s no word yet on whether it will be carried in HD on Virgin Media.

ESPN UK will launch on the 3rd August on Virgin Media channel 553 and Top Up TV (digital terrestrial) channel 34.

The new channel will air UK premier league football when the new season begins this year.

4 HD channels launching very soon

Virgin Media has confirmed that several HD channels are coming very soon.

The high definition channels to be added will be LIVING HD, FX HD, MTVN HD and National Geographic HD. The Virgin Media press release says the first new HD channel will be “due to launch at the end of July”.

Neil Berkett (chief executive officer of Virgin media) says “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 line-up 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”.

The press release also reveals “Virgin Media is also currently in active talks with UKTV about Good Food HD”.

ESPN UK to launch 3rd August [Updated]

Updated: Further to our news post a few days ago, AGB Nielson have announced ESPN’s new UK channel will begin BARB reporting on the 4th August and BBC News says the channel will start broadcasting on the 3rd August. The new channel will be on DTT, Virgin Media and Sky. This will mean ESPN America on DTT (Top Up TV) – Setanta Sports 1’s old slot – will probably be removed in August to make way for ESPN UK. The new ESPN UK channel will air Premier League football as well as other sports.

UK version of ESPN to launch soon

According to a channel guide PDF on the official Virgin Media website, the UK version of ESPN will launch on channel 553 soon. ESPN America is already available on channel 533, but this new UK ESPN will show Premier League matches when the new football season starts. It’s thought the new channel will be added to Virgin TV in August. The new channel is indicated as a premium channel on that channel guide.

New hours for Russia Today [Updated]

Russia Today has changed its timeslot on Freeview. It now airs on Freeview from 6pm through to 10pm every evening. Prior to today, it used to air 6am to 8am on Freeview. You may need to rescan your Freeview box.

Update 01/07/2009: The new hours for Russia Today will not come in to effect until next week now. This is probably because Create And Craft didn’t launch today as expected.

Update 02/07/2009: Russia Today’s new hours have now come in to effect. The channel is now on air 6am to 8am, and 6pm to 10pm.