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Virgin Media joins hands with TiVO to launch YouView rival

Video-on-demand service to start at £26.50 per month

Cable television and internet provider Virgin Media is teaming up with US digital-video recording group TiVo to launch its new combined television and broadband interactive platform later this month.

The BBC's own video-on-demand service, Youview, will not be up and running for at least another six months.

Virgin claims that the new service is a "game changing" combination of TV, VoD and internet services.

The service will offer 4,600 hours of TV shows and films; catchup TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5; a recommendation and personalisation engine; and access to partner websites. Viewers can also access internet services from brands including YouTube and eBay.

Virgin is initially planning to market the service to its 3.7 million existing customer base at a cost of £26.50 per month.

The new service will launch in mid-December, approximately six months before the launch of YouView, the BBC-backed venture to bring VoD to Freeview and Freesat.

While the company will accept registrations from new customers from 1 December, it said it would provide the service only in the New Year.

Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said eventually the service will do for TV what the iPhone has done for mobiles.

Virgin Media had attempted to block YouView after the two parties failed to reach a partnership agreement.