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Virgin Media snags exclusive Film4 HD deal

Today Virgin has announced it will have exclusive access to Channel4's newest HD channel, Film4 HD, which will predictably provide movies in glorious high definition

Virgin might offer the fastest broadband in the land, but when it comes to HD TV channels, it has lagged behind Sky. Today, however, it's announced one small victory over the satellite broadcaster by being the only place you'll be able to see Film4 in HD. This bolsters the cable company's HD channel line-up, taking the total number to nine, including three HD services from Channel 4.

Film4 HD will join E4 HD and Channel 4 HD on Virgin's service and will bring some much-needed hi-def films to Virgin, which lacks HD versions of Sky's Movie channels. Virgin's other HD channels include Living HD, which is the company's other exclusive channel, and HD services from FX, ESPN, BBC, MTV and National Geographic. Virgin will also launch Discovery Channel and Eurosport in high definition in the coming months.

As welcome as it is to see some free movies in HD, we would be even happier if Virgin managed to persuade Sky to hand over the keys to Sky1 HD, and possibly Sky Sports HD too. This, however, is pretty unlikely given the two companies' history and recent fights over channel line-ups. We'd also love to see some HD content from Channel 4 and ITV in Virgin's catch-up service, which currently only offers iPlayer in HD.

Film4 HD will launch this summer and Virgin doesn't say how long this exclusive will run for. It's reasonable to guess that Sky will eventually offer access to the channel. Virgin customers will get Film4 HD at no extra charge, but in order to watch it you'll need the V+ HD box, which Virgin charges £75 for up front, plus £5 a month for all but its top-tier customers.