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Virgin Media CEO lauds internet TV

Monday, September 20th 2010 by Cable.co.uk

The forthcoming launch of Virgin Media's internet TV offering has been hailed by the bundle provider's chief executive.

Virgin Media's chief executive has said the bundle provider's forthcoming internet-TV facility will change customers' relationships with their sets.

Neil Berkett said the technology will enable subscribers to view a wide range of services - such as YouTube and a great variety of films on demand - via their TVs.

Speaking to the Express, Mr Berkett claimed Virgin Media's position as a "trusted brand" plays an important part in its efforts to tempt consumers to sign up for new innovations such as this.

However, he argued that people who choose to take advantage of the new offering - known as Virgin Media Player (VMP) - will be richly rewarded.

"It will make people fall in love with their television sets again," he commented.

VMP is currently in the beta testing stage, a trial which customers who have XL TV and any broadband subscription with Virgin Media can take part in.

Hundreds of hours of content have been made available for this process.

In June, BskyB confirmed that a deal to buy Virgin Media Television – including the channels Living, Challenge, and Bravo – had been finalised for up to £160m.

As part of the deal, Virgin secured new agreements for its cable TV network for wholesale distribution of Sky’s basic subscription channels, including Sky1, Sky News and Sky Arts.

Virgin also gained the option of carrying any of Sky’s basic HD channels for an incremental wholesale fee, while content from Sky’s basic and premium channels, with VMTV services to be available through Virgin’s on-demand service.

At the time, Mr Berkett said the sale had generated “substantial value” which, along with new commercial agreements, would allow the company to focus more closely on its “strategy of exploiting Virgin Media’s super-fast connectivity”.

Earlier this year, Virgin said it planned to start rolling out broadband with speeds of up to 100Mbps to homes by the end of this year, with some areas getting up to 200Mbps.

The use of cable technology means that the speeds will be close to the advertised headline speeds, unlike some of its rivals, Virgin said.

It said the service will allow customers to download a music album in just five seconds, rather than the 75 seconds it would take on a 24Mbps ADSL connection.

The 100Mbps is expected to be deployed across Virgin’s entire cable network by the end of 2011.

When the service was announced in February, Mr Berkett said: "There is nothing we can't do with our fibre-optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100Mbps service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience."

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