Virgin Media launched a new channel delivering content in pin sharp 4K Ultra HD Monday night.
The channel, dubbed Virgin TV Ultra HD, broadcasts content in 3840 x 2160 pixels, the most widely available high fidelity form of HD, with four times the clarity of standard HD. Virgin Media has said the channel will focus on delivering drama, documentaries, and concerts. Shows advertised for the launch include Martin Freeman’s StartUp, envisioning the emergence of a controversial cryptocurrency, and Netflix’s political thriller House of Cards.
The channel is automatically available to Virgin TV Full House and VIP subscribers via their V6 set-top box at no extra cost, on channel 999. Other Virgin TV subscribers will have to upgrade to one of those packages, which start at £49 per month, to receive the channel.
The channel launched at 8:20pm Monday evening, with a special evening hosted by comedian and Love Island narrator Iain Stirling.
“I can’t wait to get behind the mic for the launch of the Virgin TV Ultra HD channel and introduce some brilliant shows in awesome picture quality,” Stirling said.
“I like the idea of an ultra-high definition channel being championed by a man more known for what he sounds like than looks like.”
The channel will normally broadcast content from primetime to the early hours of the morning.
Customers will need a 4K television to view the content in ultra HD, but the channel will still be available to those with lower resolution sets, albeit in worse picture. 4K Ultra HD sets have fallen in price in recent years and the regular broadcasting of more 4K content will surely push more viewers to make the investment in crystal clear TV.
Virgin Media’s Chief Digital Entertainment Office, David Bouchier, said: “With the launch of Virgin TV Ultra HD we’re giving our customers the ultimate entertainment viewing experience with must-see shows in incredible, crystal-clear picture quality.”
“From epic dramas and stunning documentaries to the front row feeling of a rock concert, our customers will get closer to the action than ever before – with four times the picture quality of HD. It really is the next best thing to being there.”
Virgin has already ventured into 4K content, this year broadcasting headline sporting events including the Champions League and Wimbledon finals in Ultra HD.
Meanwhile, rival Sky recently launched a swath of 4K UHD shows and films across its platforms.
But the picture on your 4K UHD TV could look outdated and murky as soon as your favourite TV shows appear in it. LG and Samsung have both announced plans to bring to market 8K UHD televisions sets later this year. 8K sets will be four times crisper than 4K sets and 16 times sharper than standard HD sets. No company is currently broadcasting content in 8K UHD in the UK but, with LG predicting 5 million such sets will be sold by 2022, broadcasters will likely start catering to them soon, rolling out 8K channels as they’ve recently rolled out 4K channels. Stay tuned.