From this summer, Virgin Media’s HD digital TV customers will be able to watch films from Film4 in high definition (HD).
The cable TV company has announced today that it will be exclusively bringing Film4 HD to its digital TV platform – a first for UK HD TV customers. It also plans to launch an E4 HD channel on the Virgin Media TV service in April.
Tempted by the crystal clarity of high definition? To ensure the best possible picture quality choose from the wide range of Best Buy HD-ready TVs in the Which? LCD and plasma TV review.
What’s on Film4 and E4 HD?
Film4 HD will show a daily line-up of movies. Virgin Media says the channel will showcase the best of British film-making, including Slumdog Millionaire and Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky. You’ll also be able to watch international films in HD including US independent films, Hollywood blockbusters, mainstream drama and comedy.
E4 HD offers popular TV shows including Glee, Skins and Hollyoaks in HD. Alongside a choice of Channel 4 commissioned programmes, E4 HD will also offer a range of films and well known US series including Desperate Housewives, 90210, and Ugly Betty in HD.
E4HD and Film4HD join Virgin Media’s growing HD line-up of C4HD, BBC HD, ESPN HD, FX HD, MTVN HD, National Geographic HD, LIVING HD (a Virgin Media exclusive) and the forthcoming Discovery HD and Eurosport HD channels.
Virgin Media customers can also watch several hundred hours of HD programmes on-demand.
Sky, Freesat and Freeview HD
To watch HD television you’ll need HD-ready equipment – either an HD TV and an HD set-top box, or an HD TV set with a built in HD tuner.
You’ll also need a digital TV service that broadcasts in HD. Virgin Media’s HD service is available at no extra charge to customers that subscribe to it’s top-level ‘XL’ pay-TV service.
Virgin Media’s HD service has always faced tough competition from Sky’s pay-TV HD service, for which you must pay an additional monthly HD subscription, and now faces a new HD rival in the form of Freeview HD.
Which? will be testing Freeview HD set-top boxes and Freeview HD TVs as they become available in shops – keep an eye on the Which? website for the results of our first batch of testing coming soon.
Free HD TV
Freeview started rolling out its HD service to parts of the UK late last year, and hopes that Freeview HD will be available for almost 50% of the UK population to watch in time for the 2010 World Cup.
You can also watch HD programmes on Freesat, the free satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV.
It’s free to watch HD programmes on both Freeview and Freesat as long as you have the necessary digital HD equipment, but the range of shows isn’t as extensive as on either Sky or Virgin Media.
Find out more about watching HD in the Which? guides to Freeview HD and HD TV explained.
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