Virgin Media unveils UK IPTV service

Virgin Media will launch an IPTV service combining scheduled terrestrial programs with web content in the UK later this month.
 
The ISP has teamed up with personal video recorder (PVR) firm TiVo to offer the service, which will utilize its fiber network to offer instant access to programs – eliminating the need to download them first.
 
Services available include the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up feature, YouTube videos, eBay, and access to social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
 
The TiVo PVR includes a 10Mb cable modem, which Virgin claims will ensure uninterrupted Web browsing sessions, and offers 1 terabyte of storage.
 
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at the firm, hailed the service as a “landmark,” that will deliver the “ultimate digital lifestyle.”
 
A standard package costing £199 (€237) covers the TiVo box, while a monthly subscription of £26.50 buys access to 160 channels for users with a Virgin Media phone line. The monthly charge is £32.50 without the line.
 
Virgin Media boss Neil Berkett told WSJ.com the service is a game changer, that will help the firm reduce churn and attract new customers.
 
The firm will launch the service by mid-December, beating the controversial YouView service – a similar scheme backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva –, which is due to go live during 1H11.
 
Virgin Media was one of several firms that opposed YouView, claiming the service would restrict competition in the UK IPTV market.

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