Virgin Media O2 provides cable television services across the UK, alongside telephony and broadband internet.
Virgin Media was created following the merger of NTL and Telewest in 2006. Then in 2021, Virgin Media UK and O2 were merged together by their parent companies.
What does Virgin Media offer in terms of TV?
The TV service offers a wide range of basic and premium pay TV channels, second only to Sky in terms of number of channels available. These include all main Freeview channels, plus most Sky channels (not yet Sky Atlantic), as well as third-party channels from BT, Discovery, UKTV (e.g. Gold, W, Alibi) and Viacom (e.g MTV) and many Asian-language services.
In addition to traditional linear TV channels, the company now offers a growing number of streaming and on-demand services. These include all of the main ones such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
You can now opt to receive Virgin Media’s TV service without cable TV, thanks the new palm-sized Stream box. But you’ll still need Virgin Media Broadband to use Stream.
There’s no truly free-to-air channels though – you’ll need add TV to your subscription. The most basic TV package includes all main Freeview/Freesat channels. All TV packages are subject to a minimum contractual period. If you try to leave early, you will be hit by a penalty, depending on how long you’ve got left on your contract.
Contracts include a built in annual price rise each April, which is designed to be above the rate of inflation (RPI+3.9%).
Full channel list:
HD and UHD
Following changes to its TV service and the introduction of newer receivers, Virgin Media is now fully HD-ready, meaning that technically there’s no need to simulcast HD and SD channels – as all receivers support HD. However, commercial arrangements, which may put the HD version of a channel in a different subscription package, or broadcaster-side issues, such as the HD version of a channel not having the same regionality as SD, are stopping the full phasing out of HD/SD simulcasts at this stage.
Virgin Media now offers UHD content on its platform and operates a 4K UHD channel (more details here). You can access TNT and Sky Sports content in 4K and UHD on the platform.
Its availability varies considerably, even within cabled towns and cities – for example, some estates built after the original roll-out of cable may not have access to Virgin’s network.