Virgin Media is gradually building an HD TV offer to rival that of key competitor Sky, having just announced the launch of Film4 HD and the imminent arrival of Sky Sports HD to its cable TV service.
Film4 HD is available on Virgin Media from today while Sky Sports HD1 and Sky Sports HD2 will be available from 2nd August.
Find out more about what makes HD worth watching in the Which? TV buyers guide
Virgin Media HD
Virgin Media says its new HD channels will bring its total HD line-up up to around 30, including BBC HD and Living HD. This compares to a Sky HD range of 43 channels.
Sky charges £10 a month for access to its HD channels, whereas Virgin Media’s range of basic HD channels are available to Virgin Media TV subscribers for no extra monthly fee.
However the range of HD channels you have access to on Virgin Media depends on your Virgin Media TV package. Virgin Media ‘M’ TV customers only have free access to BBC HD, ITV HD, 4 HD and Five HD whereas ‘XL’ customers get extra HD channels including Living, FX and MTV thrown in too.
Premium HD channels
To get Virgin Media’s premium HD channels you’ll need to pay an extra subscription of £7 a month on top of your basic monthly fee, and you must already subscribe to the non-HD version of the premium TV service. Premium channels include Sky Movies HD plus the forthcoming Sky Sports HD1 and Sky Sports HD2.
Compare Sky and Virgin Media’s TV services with their rivals in the Which? advice guide on free TV and pay TV services
HD TV equipment
To get either Sky or Virgin Media’s HD service you’ll need an HD-enabled TV set plus Sky or Virgin’s HD set-top boxes.
If you don’t want to sign up to either Sky or Virgin Media, you can get basic HD channels from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 from either Freesat or Freeview – you’ll need to upgrade to a set-top box capable of receiving HD channels.
Take a look at the Which? review of Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes, including the latest HD models
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