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Virgin TV launches Freeview box

Sign of things to come, apparently

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Virgin Media has announced Virgin Free TV - basically a Freeview set-top box with a Virgin sticker on the front and a Virgin-branded electronic programme guide (EPG) inside.

The box will be free to customers who get broadband and telephone services from Virgin, but live outside the cable coverage area.

The reach of cable has always limited Virgin Media's TV services, leaving it to rely on Sky and Freeview to carry its channels where cable hasn't been laid. Laying more cable is expensive, so a cheaper way to get the Virgin brand onto TV screens would be welcomed, even if the range of services it can offer is limited.

And limited it will be. This box has no additional capabilities beyond a standard Freeview receiver, and if Virgin does roll out more comprehensive TV services in 2008, such as DVR or VoD functionality, it'll need new boxes to do it. ®

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