Channel 4 HD joins Virgin line-up

By Julian Clover

July 29, 2009 17.08 UK

Virgin Media has announced that Channel 4’s high definition channel will join its newly expanded HD line-up within the next few weeks.
The first three channels, FX, MTV and National Geographic, will go live tomorrow (Thursday) joining the established BBC HD. ESPN HD will launch on August 3 with Living HD and 4HD to follow.

“Channel 4 is home to some of the UK’s most talked about and innovative TV programmes with a great mix of fantastic home grown shows and top imports, and we’re delighted to be bringing them in HD to our customers, Virgin Media’s chief commercial officer Mark Schweitzer said in a statement
Sarah Rose, head of channel development at Channel 4, added: “We want our viewers to be able to watch their favourite Channel 4 programmes in the format they want and across multiple platforms so we’re delighted to be launching 4HD on Virgin Media.”

Despite the delight Channel 4 had held off expanding the availability of its HD service because of an exclusive carriage deal that had been struck with Sky in December 2007. With the period of exclusivity now lifted the publically owned broadcaster is now free to secure further agreements. It is clearly a candidate for the free-to-air Freesat platform, given its commitment to the Freeview HD DTT platform.