Sky buys Virgin Media TV channelsNew agreement lets Virgin show Sky HD channels

04 June 2010

Sky Logo new

Sky Digital offers more HD channels than anyone else

Satellite TV giant Sky has reached agreement with Virgin Media TV to buy Virgin's TV channels, including Bravo, Living and Virgin 1.

The £160 million deal means that Sky will expand its range of basic TV channels and will no longer have to pay to show Virgin Media TV shows via its Sky TV service.

No dates have yet been revealed for completion of the sale. 

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Virgin Media gets Sky HD

Although it's selling its TV channels, Virgin Media will continue to offer its cable digital TV service. 

In exchange for the sale, Virgin Media has secured the rights to show Sky's basic channel line-up, including Sky1 and Sky Arts, and the newly acquired Virgin Media TV channels, on its cable TV service. 

In addition, for the first time Virgin Media will be able to show Sky's basic HD channels - Sky Sports HD 1, Sky Sports HD 2 and the Sky Movies HD channels.

On-demand TV

Virgin Media will also be able to show a range of Sky's basic and premium content on its on-demand TV service, including the Virgin Media TV channels. 

These changes follow the announcement by Sky earlier in the week of its Sky Anytime+ service, Sky's new venture into on-demand TV via your TV set.

How are Virgin and Sky TV customers affected?

The recent changes to Sky and Virgin's TV services may increase the range of TV options available via each service - though it may also mean that there's less to differentiate the two TV services. This could mean other factors, such as customer service and the ability to bundle in phone and broadband, play a bigger role in how you choose your pay-TV provider. 

Virgin and Sky are also going to have to work hard to compete with free-to-air services including a constantly developing Freeview service, which has recently branched into Freeview HD. 

The TV giants may soon face extra competition from Project Canvas. Project Canvas is a joint partnership between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five and TalkTalk which aims to offer a TV service - including on-demand TV and high definition - via an internet connection by means of a special set-top box.  

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