Virgin Media to launch Sky Arts 1 and 2 HD

by Staff Writer -

The channels will debut on the cable platform on April 26th.
Virgin Media has boosted its portfolio of high-definition (HD) channels to more than 30 with the addition of Sky Arts 1 and 2 HD.

The HD variants of the two stations, which claim to be the only solely arts-based channels in the UK, are set to debut on the cable TV platform on April 26th 2011.

When they launch, it will take the total number of HD stations on Virgin Media to 31, some 19 of which can be viewed without any additional monthly subscription fee. They will be freely available to all of the broadcaster's XL TV customers.

Other options that do not require a premium payment include ESPN HD, Comedy Central HD and Sky Living HD.

Announcing the news, Virgin said its subscribers can look forward to enjoying some of the best and most culturally stimulating programming on the market.

The channels cover everything from live music - including shows from a number of rock'n'roll icons - to ballet, books, opera and theatre. They are set to broadcast some of the best moments from this year's Latitude Festival and have previously aired highlights from Cropredy, Camp Bestival and the Newport Folk Festival.

Sky Arts At The National Theatre gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the National Theatre of Scotland's production of Peter Pan, staged in collaboration with The Barbican.

Other moments to look out for include In Confidence, an intimate celebrity interview show in which Professor Laurie Taylor grills stars such as Peter Hitchens, Danny Baker, Andre Previn and Baroness Shirley Williams.

Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at the cable giant, said: "Virgin Media's TV service provides unbeatable value and, now with 19 HD channels for no additional monthly fee, we're going from strength to strength.

"We'll continue to develop our next-generation digital entertainment platform, with more HD channels and on-demand content to be announced throughout the year."