Up to four more linear high definition channels will launch on Virgin ...
Up to four more linear high definition channels will launch on Virgin Media's digital cable service over the next few months.
In an exclusive update on the cable operator's plans for high definition, a spokesperson revealed that "advanced discussions" are underway with "a number of content providers... aiming to launch three to four linear HD channels over the next few months".
BBC HD is currently the only linear high definition service carried on Virgin's digital cable service, and the provision of more linear services has consistently been the hottest topic on our Virgin Media HD forum. Virgin does, however, offer between 50 and 100 hours of HD TV shows on demand and 30 HD films on its pay-per-view FilmFlex movies on demand service.
The Virgin Media spokesperson said the cable operator has concentrated on delivering HD shows on demand instead of carrying linear channels, many of which rely on upscaled content, because on demand is a "revolutionary step" in the development of TV compared with the "progressive improvements" offered by high definition.
"We recognise HD is growing," the spokesperson said. "We're at the cusp. It's only now that programmes are catching up with HD," he said, pointing to the adoption of HD on Doctor Who for the first time this year.
"BBC HD was a no-brainer because it is a true HD channel," the spokesperson explained, adding that Virgin wants to offer linear channels with true HD programming rather than large amounts of upscaled content.
"We are actively focused on high definition," the spokesperson added. "We are hoping to close deals as soon as we can."
It is understood that additional talks are underway with a view to adding more linear HD services later this year and into 2010.
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