Virgin Media TV Shutdown

Looks like Virgin are planning to pull the plug on the original TV service. Not sure what this will entail since they had already converted most of their SD channels to MPEG4 a couple of years ago, with the exception of BBC One and Channel 4 which remained in MPEG2, possibly for PSB reasons?

Here what’s shows up on a Virgin Media SD cable box (Pace DiTV1000 on UK2 software)

A look at Channel 4 on this box, one of the few channels that display video

Lets check the ntl software

I pulled out the Pace Di4000N running the ntl CR3 Bromley guide which dates from 2003

Horizon (HZN) is Virgins next generation TV platform

Same EPG data

I guess when a channel is off air it gives a link to the interactive services

Sadly no video, I never got round to amending the net id for this box, since it requires an SCART RS232 cable which seem of have disappeared off the face of the earth.

ntl Langely?

Last resort lets check the Pace Di4001N running ntl Langely CR3 software, which had a build date from 2004

Well this is a miracle, seems this box was able to locate and set my local netID

What the home screen looks like with actual video feed

Channel 4 still broadcasts in MPEG2 SD!

As does Birmingham TV (Our local TV station, that play Judge Judy all day)

A list of channels which includes the Tivo software update streams

ITV still remains an radio channel, this is because the video is AVC MPEG4, whilst the audio is MPEG2. No idea why they done this

Conclusion

So what will happen? likely the last few MPEG2 channels will disappear completely, leaving the boxes with nothing to receive. Possibly removing the SD versions entirely since all of their equipment would be HD capable, the exception is BBC1 which still has regional news in SD only. A shame since instead of investing in their playout and transmission network, they would rather invest in diversity (No, Not diversity of thought). Meanwhile if you want local news, your stuck with the SD versions for the future.

Radio channels may stick with MPEG2 Musicam, but could easily go MPEG4

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