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Virgin Media Launches Streaming Movie Service

Gordon Kelly


Virgin Media Launches Streaming Movie Service

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!


Virgin Media Online Movies


April 26, 2010, 7:05 pm

Way too expensive, just like most other digital content delivery systems. I'll just wait 6 months & buy the DVD in Tesco for £3 instead...


April 26, 2010, 8:01 pm

Urghhhh... We want an unlimited service like netflix has in the US.. this is another "£3.99 per SD stream" service that is a complete waste of time. I like that they are charging money for this beta product. What a joke.

Martin Daler

April 26, 2010, 8:16 pm

Postage and packing included? Does the exhorbitant fee cover the content only, or does it also cover the delivery cost (i.e. the bandwidth consumed by the streaming), at least for virginmedia's own broadband customers. Put another way, if you use this every night do you fall foul of the fair-usage policy and have to pay a second time, or not?


April 26, 2010, 8:20 pm

Isn't iTunes rental service cheaper? I don't rent, but surely many people would choose the ease of itunes over virgin. The same way they purchase all their music off itunes despite music being cheaper and more flexible from Amazon.


April 26, 2010, 9:58 pm

Demands: £14.99/month for unlimited access.

Let me know when they're ready to be fulfilled.

As the kids are saying these days: kthxbai.

Twilight Magician

April 27, 2010, 12:55 am

Pay for each download... err... no thanks. At Lovefilm I get to watch unlimited online movies in addition to my "DVDs through the post". Okay, so some are pay-per-view but they have over 2000 titles available online to existing customers, including a lot of classic movies that are difficult to find on DVD. Anyway, subscription is the only model that's going to succeed - if I'm not getting a hard copy, why would I pay even 3 or 4 quid for a single title???


April 27, 2010, 12:46 pm

Sky own the rights to subscription movies on demand services for all the major Movie studios in the UK. Ofcom has referred them to the Competition Commission for abusing these rights, the fact they bought them for years before they had any kind of way of using them does not go in their favour.

If you want someone to blame for there being no Netflix in the UK, its Sky.


April 27, 2010, 4:54 pm

this needs the Spotify model, get the price right & there's no need to own any hardware as you can access it any time but as usual the content suppliers are too restrictive. have you tried Voddler yet, it's the film version of spotify but you have about 5mins of adverts before the film starts and you have to sit through the adverts for every film even if you watched 2mins of the previous film. virgin also have a habit of price increases for no reason, I'm a broadband customer & they got rid of 2mb connection and gave me 10mb for free but raised the price £2 a month with their awful bandwidth restricting practices.


April 27, 2010, 5:10 pm

@alchobot - speaking of which... http://www.trustedreviews.com/...


April 27, 2010, 8:32 pm

If the BBC is Auntie, will Virgin Media Online Movies (a.k.a. Virgin MOM) be affectionately known as Mary?


April 28, 2010, 5:13 pm

@Joe, I don't get that please explain!

Martin Daler

April 28, 2010, 6:02 pm

@alchobot - Do you know of a Virgin Mother by any other name than Mary? As to Auntie, I haven't a clue, but it's always been Auntie for the BBC.


April 28, 2010, 10:01 pm

You had me until £4-5 for an untold quality SD limited rental wrapped in MS Silverlight. :(

Blockbuster is cheaper than that for DVD quality with no {BUFFERING ...} and they've had to acquire a physical product including manufacturing, shipping and sales costs that are bound to be a lot higher than a little bit of bandwidth.

This is what really irks me about the "digital" age, we were promised distribution cost savings passed onto us, at least in part, but in reality we pay as much or often more for digital content as we do for physical content. It's not really surprising, but very frustrating.

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