10 popular channels have been dropped from Virgin Media, but you can keep watching most of them for free.
This weekend four million Virgin Media customers lost access to 10 UKTV channels, including Dave, Really, Alibi and Good Food. It’s down to a rights dispute between the two companies which leaves viewers unable to watch new shows such as Red Dwarf and Taskmaster, and repeats of favourites such as Sherlock, Time Team, QI and, err… Last of the Summer Wine.
What channels have been removed from Virgin:
- Good Food
Now, the two parties could come to an agreement, just as Sky and Discovery did when a similar thing happened in January 2017. But there’s no guarantee. After all, you still can’t watch Sky Atlantic on Virgin, and BT lost and never recovered Fox back in 2016. Whatever the outcome, you’re still without these channels now. So here’s how you can get either some or all of those channels back on your TV.
You can watch five of the channels for free
Even though you’ll no doubt be watching your TV via your Virgin box, your TV will almost certainly still have a Freeview tuner. So as long as you have an aerial to plug in, you’ll be able to watch five of the channels: Dave, Drama, Home, Really and Yesterday. If you want to record these programmes then you’ll need to also buy a Freeview or YouView PVR which will set you back around £125.
Alternatively, you can use UKTV Play, the online catch-up service. You can’t watch every show (for example it looks like Top Gear is unavailable), and you don’t seem to be able to watch live either. You can stream UKTV Play on your tablet, phone or computer, but if you want to watch them on your TV then you can access it via an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, or just connect your laptop to your TV with a cable. Sadly it’s not compatible with Chomecast via the app, but it should work if you cast from a tab in Chrome on your computer.
Get Gold – but you’ll have to pay
If you also want the channel Gold, then you can sign up to NOW TV’s Entertainment package. This is also an on-demand service, though you can also watch channels live. As well as Gold, you also get access to Sky Atlantic, another channel you can’t get on Virgin. You can’t record these channels at all, not even with an additional box.
There is a cost attached. It’s £7.99 a month, though it’s usually possible to get this down to £5 a month, or even less. I pay around £3 on average thanks to combining different deals and promotions. I’ve more on these offers and free-trials on my NOW TV deals page.
Switch away from Virgin for all ten channels
If you’re fed up with Virgin, or just want to access all the channels, then you can look to switch your TV service elsewhere. The full set of channels is available via Sky, BT or TalkTalk. Of the three, it’s only Sky TV that you can get without having your broadband with the same provider.
You’ll also need to be out of contract with Virgin to move penalty free. If that’s not the case you’re better off waiting to avoid hefty charges. For those who really do want to move and can, then shop around for the best deals. I’d always go via a cashback site too for extra money back on your new contract. Here’s my guide to switching broadband and TV company.