Virgin TV Costs and ChannelsSupplier: Virgin Media
If you live in an area that can receive cable TV, your only cable option these days is Virgin TV.
As with Sky, the Virgin platform has a series of different pricing and channel choice options - though thankfully, the situation isn't nearly so complicated!
In terms of initial costs, if you take the full Virgin 'TV XL' channel package containing 160 channels, you will be able to bag a V+ HD HDD recorder box for nothing, with free installation, and no extra HD subscription cost (take note, Sky).
If you go for either the 'L' or 'M+' packages, with 100 channels and 65 channels respectively, you will have to pay £49 to get the HD receiver installed, plus a monthly HD fee of £5. As with Sky, the installation figure rises - to £75 - for existing customers who don't want to keep their current standard def box for second room use.
The monthly subscription costs of the packages (not including potential extra HD charges) look like this: £5.50 a month for the M+ package, £11 a month for the L package, and £23 a month for the XL package. Before you get too carried away by how reasonable this looks, though, you're also required to pay for a Virgin Phone line: an extra £12 a month.
The Virgin HD offering is considerably more limited than Sky's, currently comprising 13 channels. These include MTVN HD, FX HD, National Geographic HD, ESPN HD, Living HD, Channel 4 HD, ITV HD, and BBC HD. The presence of the latter two channels means, of course, that you'll be able to watch all the World Cup footie matches in HD.
The Virgin platform also offers a handy TV on Demand service for an extra cost, through, so you can download films and full series of favourite shows - usually available in HD - as and when you want them.
The costs for this on-demand content are too complicated to cover in full here, with various subscription and 'one-off' cost options available. But the service certainly gives the Virgin platform a useful feature that Sky's HD box - currently, at any rate - can't match.
It's worth adding, too, that the V+ HD PVR box supports the BBC iPlayer HD, and can record two channels while you watch a third - neither of which are currently possible via Sky's HD receiver.
Please note that we recently took a close look at the Virgin platform here.
As an addendum to this section, we should remind you that it was only a couple of weeks ago that Virgin sold its Virgin Media TV division to Sky, which will lead to a shake up in the HD channels you should be able to get via your Virgin box.