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Virgin launches linear UHD TV channel

Virgin Media is to launch its own UHD channel, starting 17th September 2018.

Exclusively available to Virgin TV Full House and VIP customers with a V6 set-top-box, the channel will showcase a collection of critically acclaimed dramas, documentaries and music.

Highlights include blockbuster entertainment series ‘Start Up’ with Martin Freeman and political powerhouse ‘House of Cards’ as well as wildlife and nature documentaries set in Zambia and Vietnam, plus gigs from the Rolling Stones, Sting and Imagine Dragons.

Author and Love Island narrator, Iain Stirling will become the ‘voice’ of the channel for its opening night next Monday.

David Bouchier, Virgin Media’s Chief Digital Entertainment Officer, said:
“With the launch of Virgin TV Ultra HD we’re giving our customers the ultimate entertainment viewing experience with must-see shows in incredible, crystal-clear picture quality. From epic dramas and stunning documentaries to the front row feeling of a rock concert, our customers will get closer to the action than ever before – with four times the picture quality of HD. It really is the next best thing to being there. We’ve shown some of this year’s biggest sporting events in Ultra HD, such as the Champions League and Wimbledon finals and we’re now giving entertainment the Ultra HD treatment. It’s all part of our ongoing investment to give our customers the best way to watch the best TV.”

Iain Stirling said:
“I can’t wait to get behind the mic for the launch of the Virgin TV Ultra HD channel and introduce some brilliant shows in awesome picture quality. I like the idea of an ultra-high definition channel being championed by a man more known for what he sounds like than looks like!”

Virgin TV Ultra HD will air on channel 999 and broadcast at prime-time until the early hours. The channel will begin broadcasting from 20:20 on the launch night.

Full House and VIP customers without a 4K set can still watch Virgin TV Ultra HD as the picture will automatically adjust to HD quality.

For the cable company, the launch of the new channel marks a return to the channel operating business - it previously owned a group of channels, including Challenge and the former Living TV, which were sold to Sky at the beginning of the decade. Since then, the company has relied on third-party commercial operators to complete its channel line-up.

Linear UHD: How pay TV platform operators compare
  • Sky offers a selection of UHD programmes via its UHD channels, available via Sky Q.
  • BT offers a 4K UHD BT Sport channel via its YouView-based TV service (channel 433). 
  • Virgin Media provides access to BT's UHD sport channel, plus offers additional ad-hoc UHD sports content, in addition to the new UHD channel launching 17th September 2018.
  • TalkTalk currently does not offer access to UHD linear TV.