Virgin has been pretty candid in saying it would launch an online VOD service, but now we have all the juicy details...
It is called - rather literally - 'Virgin Media Online Movies' which does the job I s'pose and avoids the (extensive) pitfalls ('Virgin Demand', 'Virgin OD", "Virgin Extra', 'Virgin Streaming' etc). Happy as this makes me, the biggest news is this is a film rental service available to everyone. It goes live from 6 May and users will have access to "hundreds of movies" including the likes of Fantastic Mr Fox (rubbish - made for adults), District 9 (awesome until it becomes Transformers) and Twilight: New Moon (I just don't care).
How it breaks down is reasonably cool: users stream their choice of film and are entitled to unlimited views of it over a 48 hour period. This 48 hour period begins only once the user clicks play. On top of this, there is no tie to a single PC, with users able to login on any computer and pick up where they left off.
On the downside there's no HD for now (trials are underway), it uses Silverlight - which like Adobe Flash - means no iPhone, iPod touch or iPad support - and with average rental prices at £3.99 and rising to £5 it isn't breaking new price barriers either. Existing Virgin Media customers may also be a little narked they aren't getting any preferential treatment by way of discounts, extra rental time, etc.
That said, Virgin Media Online Movies is being powered by Sony Pictures and Walt Disney joint venture FilmFlex, so it should have a reliable and extensive stream of new titles added each month. The two are old friends since FilmFlex operates Virgin's movies on demand TV service which has been going since 2005 and last year topped 11m viewings.
A Virgin online TV player is also coming before the end of the year, though that isn't before time since Sky Player has been going since December 2008...
Update: The Virgin Media Online Movies site is now live (updated link below) and here's a screengrab!