back to article Sky channels return to cable

A contract feud between Virgin Media and Sky has ended today with a new deal that will see the return of Sky's basic channels to cable. The agreement begins on November 13 and will run until June 2011. Negotiations between the pair acrimoniously collapsed in March 2007, when Virgin Media customers trying to watch Sky One were …


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  1. alex_c
    Thumb Up


    Yeaaaah!!! the Simpsons returns!!

  2. dervheid

    So, how many deserters...

    will now return to VM?


    Win / Win for Rupe again.

    It's all in the tactics. You only have to remember what happened to ITV Digital after Rupe 'let' them outbid him for the footie ("Oh, shit, we bid HOW MUCH? We're screwed!). And who picked up a lot of the pieces?

  3. Ginger

    Sky still won?

    Even though Virgin seem to have won in both cases, this had the desired effect for Sky in that (a) They got tons of new subscribers at little cost and (b) prevented Virgin getting a content partner that would have caused Sky some issues around the original TV

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So what was the deal?

    Come El reg, tell us about the deal that was brokered. How much did VM splash out for the Sky channels return. When will the channels return.

  5. milan

    Not left them yet.

    I was going to leave for sky when they lost sky1 but a friend who did switch experienced the greatest levels of incompetence since a government IT contracter decided that user names and passwords on a USB stick was a great idea.

    I honestly don't miss Sky1 anymore but it will be nice to get it back for the old episodes of SG1 and the occasional Pratchett TV conversion.

    Anyone wanna guess how much Virgin will try to fleece people out of for this 'extra'?

  6. Sooty


    i can expect another price hike after a reasonable period for everyone to forget about the channels being added, so that it isn't associated with it. Sometime in january i predict.

    before anyone starts about it being reasonable to pay extra for extra channels, the price didn't go down when they were removed.

  7. Pete

    Virgin on the desperate

    VM/NTL really need to boost subscribers, their loan repayments start next year. Unless they re-re-negociate

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought they didn't need Sky One....

    they told everyone one Virgin One is just as good.

    Now when is "speeders" or "cops in cars" or "another realtiy cop show" on again. Oh yeah, Prime time....

  9. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: So what was the deal?

    "Come El reg, tell us about the deal that was brokered. How much did VM splash out for the Sky channels return."

    Companies don't share that kind of information if they can help it.

    "When will the channels return."

    See paragraph 2 of the story.

  10. Matt Smart

    About time.

    I'm a big fan of Sky (not so much of Murdoch but I try to block that part out), but they were being incredibly childish on this one, so I'm glad a deal has finally been reached.

  11. paul
    IT Angle

    future battle royal

    In the blue corner there is the old Microsoft evil empire - run by a bio genetically engineered Bill Gates.

    In the red corner, there is a 10,000 year old Rupert Murdoch who now holds 3 dozen nationalities.

    Who will win? There can be only one.

  12. Mike Groombridge

    as homer would say

    WOO HOO simpsons are coming back oh how i missed thee if it wasn't for the kick arse broadband i'd have switched too!. oh and sky sports news the two most watched channels in my house disappeared the day they started there spat now they are back something else to watch other than DAVE

  13. Neil

    No more downloading Lost!

    Although it was nice watching it in HD.... are we getting Sky One HD, anyone? anyone? anyone?

  14. Tony

    I'm sad

    Don't have Sky - fell out with them several years ago. Cancelled my sports package but kept NASN - they got upset and said I had to have at least one Sky sports channel to have access to that. Told them where to put their service.

    Can't get cable - am so far out in the sticks that maybe, just maybe by the end of the 21st century, I'll see someone laying a fibre cable.

    No channel 5 or half of the other digital channels - the "local" transmitter seems to be unable to broadcast them at all. Even the Beeb channels don't work all the time.

    Broadband streaming - in your dreams. At an average download speed of under 400k (not transfer rate, download speed) you have to wait 2 or 3 minutes for the next 15 seconds of video to buffer. I spit at the long streak of ginger that advertises BT Vision.

    I've got used to not having loads of channels - it's mostly all mind-rot anyway. I remember a guest on the Clive James show back in the 80's saying we will find out that Benny Hill is one of our major intellectuals - boy was he right.

  15. Rob Haswell


    More crap on cable.

  16. Steve Burkett
    Thumb Down

    No Sky Sports News for you! You come back 1 year!

    I'm a Sky subscriber and cannot get Sky Sports News without upgrading to the News mix package. I can however get Setanta Sports News.

    However, Freeview users can get Sky Sports News for free, so if I want to watch Sky Sports News, I have to switch off my Sky box and use the tuner built in to the TV.

    Where's the logic in that?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Hmm two years...

    I found VM to be pants at most things when i was a customer and also the change in contract meant i could get out of the contract which was convenient for moving.

    I then got sky at the new place, way better than VM in my experience (although i know that is not everyone's experience).

    They also managed to provide phone and internet too so i still got a 3 in 1 bill.

    One thing to remember though .. and its the IT angle....

    Sky don't cripple my internet in the evening!!!! Same speed all day, all night and all day again.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't say I missed the Sky Channels...

    ...when they disappeared. Especially as on any of the very rare occasions I felt like watching Sky News over BBC News or CNN it was still available on Freeview (built in to my TV and also accessible with the standalone boxes in my house)

    The only things worth watching on Sky 1 (the US TV series) were all available elsewhere and meant that I could watch them whenever I wanted to ... without having to hurriedly change channels or turn away with my fingers in my ears whenever the Sky Spoiler Department would put one of their "trailers" on.

    So all in all... meh!

    But I'm sure it's a great relief for fans of the "Britain's Most Dangerous Celebrity Gang Car Chases...Exposed and Uncut!" type of show.

    [also not looking forward to the inevitable price hike that Virgin will now foist upon us]

  19. Pete
    Thumb Down

    Sky coming back?

    I never really noticed they disappeared. Pretty much anything worth watching was available elsewhere.

  20. J.Butler

    Pay to watch adverts.....

    Title says it all. I'll never subscribe to any channels or service that carries adverts.

    Not that it matters much, I wouldn't watch any Sky channel (or any virgin one for that matter) simply because their content is the TV equivalent or The Sun (newspaper). i.e Shite.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    You'd think....

    .. that considering their abysmal/capped broadband service that is alledgedly their "bread and butter", they'd make some effort to sort out that mess before making their TV offerings worse!

  22. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    It's all crap

    I live about 2 miles from a Telewest/NTL/VM in Basildon and our whole estate doesn't have cable, even though the rest of my town does.

    So, I have Sky and the broadband is not bad. I only took the SkyTV because it was the same cost for the broadband+SkyTV as I was previously paying BT for just broadband.

    A friend had cable but he switched to Sky due to repeated connection problems since Vm took over Telewest/NTL.

    He's pretty happy now.

    As for the TV, well, from what I've seen you have a choice of hundreds of channels of shite on VM, or thousands of channels of shite on Sky.

    Personally I watch motor-racing (F1, MotoGP, WSB, BSB), TopGear, and the rest of my viewing is "filler" mostly taken from the Documentary channels. The Missus watches BBC1 & ITV and could mostly care less about the rest of the shite.

    So, what has the TV "revolution" brought me then?

    Well, I can now watch the bike racing on TV.

    That's it, nothing else.

    From my point of view the whole "revolution" has been a total waste of time, money and resources.

  23. Dave Cross

    Don't Miss It

    I haven't missed Sky at all since we lost it. The only difference it's made to me is that I had to download Lost season 4.

  24. Daniel Bennett
    Thumb Up

    About time Sky!

    About time Sky stopped being such a tit...

    But as said, either way Sky have won this battle with Customers switching.

    Now for Sky One to come to Freeview?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    When I clap my hands, you'll wake up feeling refreshed.

    The greatest trick the Devil, err I mean Murdoch, ever pulled was convincing the world that Sky One was worth watching.

    Seriously people, but for a couple of US imports, it's complete dross. Step back and think about it for a minute.

    (The guy criticising Virgin One's lineup can't have failed to realise that it's identical to Sky One ... or did he?)

  26. mad clarinet
    Black Helicopters

    The channels of adverts are back then???

    Oh - I get the channels that I didn't really watch back.

    I got fed up of having to watch adverts with a bit of TV programme every so often and way too much plugging of their own programmes.

    Then again - it'll be fun to laugh at the Sky News sensationalism again.

  27. Jon Brunson

    So what?

    I haven't missed Sky1 at all since it went away.

  28. David Shepherd
    Thumb Down


    Quite agree, Sky1 and SkyNews going never really bothered me so didn't notice it going. Suspect we will notice it coming back when VM announce increase in charges justified by a bunch of "new" channels.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    It's too little, too late....

    Virgin are coming round to mine to remove their equipment next week, after being a customer of them since those exciting days of United Artists Cable in 1994, through Telewest Communications, Telewest Broadband, ntl:Telewest and now Virgin Media. With every re-brand, they have become slightly worse (IMHO).

    BT have already installed a new phone line, and I have put an 8-way LNB on the pre-existing satellite dish (from a previous occupant), so I can have SkyHD in the main room and a couple of FreesatHD boxes in the bedrooms. Yes, I know I need to pay for those boxes, but even FreesatHD has more linear HD content than VM, so it is worth it in my books.

    Who knows, maybe my relationship with BT/Sky will be just as rocky, but there is only one way to find out.

    Mine's the one with the effigy of Richard Branson in the pocket.

  30. Yorkshirepudding

    option C

    I get topuptv its like cut price sky i dont line Rupert Murdochs pockets and get a constant stream of star trek thanks to Virgin 1 (blessed art the geeks in their programming dept)

    although if they had bothered to lay cable in my new street then it would be a different story

    skull and crossbones - well if you have to ask...

  31. Daniel Voyce
    Thumb Down

    Price Hikes Ho

    I agree, I am going to kick off big time about the whole of virgin media services - I certainly dont see why I should pay more because of the new channels. When the channels were removed the prices weren't reduced. When my broadband connection gets limited after downloading 1GB of LEGAL stuff I didnt get a price reduction.

    Secondly - following a broadband outage a week or so ago which as far as I am aware was only regional - how is it that I suddenly got 3MB/s download only to see this drop to 800kb/s as all of the other cable modems popped back into action around the region.

    Virgin has oversubscribed its network, it regularly and consistenly shits on its customers and then has the cheek to ask for more money for doing so.

    Well the moment they put the price increase into force (which they will) I will be making sure that they dont get it easily from me - I have plenty of ways of costing them more than their price rise will be - they should take heed from their customers and just quit taking the piss.

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