Virgin Media (NASDAQ:VMED)(LSE:VMED), the UK's leading digital entertainment company, is to make HD TV more affordable by ensuring customers do not need to pay extra for stunning High Definition.

So far this year Virgin Media has announced the addition of six new HD channels with more to come. Consumers will soon be able to make the most of this growing line-up with a new HD set-top box – the V HD Box – which will be available for no additional monthly subscription fee.

New and existing TV customers can get the new V HD Box from March 22 nd for a one-off cost of just £49 plus installation*. There are no extra on-going subscription fees.

Virgin Media has already revealed that HD channels from ITV, Eurosport, Discovery, SCI FI, E4 and Film4 will all be added to its TV service later this year. HD channels from the BBC and Channel 4 are currently available to all Virgin TV customers. Subscribers to Virgin Media’s ‘XL’ TV package can also watch Premier League football and more top sport on ESPN HD, become captivated by compelling documentaries on National Geographic HD and be entertained by FX HD, MTV Networks HD and LIVING HD (a Virgin Media exclusive).

This increasing range of HD channels is also complemented by an extensive on demand library with thousands of hours of programmes, including hundreds in spectacular HD. Recent blockbusters such as Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek or The Hurt Locker, as well as films exclusive to Virgin TV such as Ché, are available alongside TV hit series including True Blood and Carnivàle, all in HD and ready to start at the press of a button.

The Cisco-made box is 3D-ready and includes HDMI, SCART, USB and Ethernet ports to make the most of any digital home cinema experience. Featuring a best-in-class power saving function which dramatically cuts power usage by approximately 95% compared to stand-by mode, the V HD Box can also help minimise customers’ electricity bills.

The V HD Box adds to Virgin Media’s existing choice of the V Box, for basic digital TV, and the V+ HD Box which incorporates HD capability with a Personal Video Recorder. Virgin Media retains ownership of its set-top boxes so customers do not need to pay for warranties and, should anything go wrong, do not face expensive call-out charges or replacement or repair fees.

Virgin Media’s executive director of digital entertainment, Cindy Rose, said: “We want to make the best High Definition TV available to more people at affordable prices and without the additional monthly subscription fee. If you really love telly you’ll probably want our V+HD box because then you can then record programmes on up to two channels while simultaneously watching another. Our new V HD Box is ideal for anyone who wants to experience the power of HD without the extra monthly fee. We think our superb range of TV content gives our customers a real choice and makes Virgin Media the best value TV offering available.”

Customers can pre-register for the V HD Box and find out more about Virgin Media’s HD products and services at:

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Notes to editorsUnlike other providers, Virgin Media does not charge for HD channels, with all XL TV customers able to receive HD versions of their favourite channels at no extra cost. A V+ HD digital video recorder is required to decode HD channels, as well as an HDMI connecting lead and an HD-ready TV.

* New and existing customers need to subscribe or upgrade to the ‘M+’ TV tier or above in order to be eligible for the V HD Box.

From 1 st April 2010, self-installation (Quick Start) may be an option, where available, for homes already connected to Virgin Media’s cable network . Quick Start is free to existing customers throughout April or £15 in all other circumstances.

Installation by a Virgin Media engineer costs £35. Customers wanting more than one set-top box, or wanting to add to an existing box, require an engineer visit and will also be subject to the standard additional outlet charge of £5 (£5.50 from 1 st April 2010) per month.

There are no on-going monthly HD subscription charges for customers whose sole set-top box is the V HD Box.

About Virgin MediaWith almost 10 million customers, Virgin Media is the UK's first quad-play provider of broadband, TV, phone and mobile.

The company is one of the largest residential broadband providers in the UK, using a unique fibre optic cable network to deliver next generation ultrafast internet access of up to 50Mb to just over half of all homes. Combined with a high speed ADSL service and mobile broadband products, Virgin Media is able to offer broadband internet access to virtually the entire country.

Virgin Media has the UK’s most advanced TV on demand service and was the first TV platform to carry BBC iPlayer. It is the second largest provider of pay TV, was the first to launch a high definition TV service and offers a high-specification, HD-ready V+ personal video recorder.

The company operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world’s first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.

Virgin Media also owns Virgin Media Television (VMtv) which runs seven entertainment channels, including Virgin1, LIVING, Bravo and Challenge. VMtv is a 50 per cent joint partner with BBC Worldwide in UKTV, which consists of ten channels including Dave, G.O.L.D., Watch and Alibi.

Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and the London Stock Exchange (VMED).

Copyright Business Wire 2010