Different Roads

It's interesting to note how the UK TV distribution business is increasingly moving in two directions: Sky are emphasising HD whilst Virgin Cable are offering more and more on demand programming. Clearly, this is currently playing to their relative strengths - until they roll out broadband TV over their Easynet service, Sky can only offer time shifted programming and not true on demand. Meanwhile, Virgin have a full digital stack, so, disappointingly, only offer one HD channel - the BBC 'Preview' channel.

As Sky's CEO, James Murdoch steps up to run an even bigger part of daddy's empire, the only real advantage, however is sports content.

Virgin are offering Setanta's channels for free, but they'll need to do a whole load more than this to really make a difference. Football, especially, is a loss leader that makes this a very high stakes game to be playing in.