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A guide to cable TV channels in the UK

Cable TV is one of the ways that digital television service is delivered into peoples' homes. Usually, one of the cable deals also provides digital radio stations and facilities for customers to enter competitions or vote on reality TV shows. This article will talk about some of the many cable TV channels available in the United Kingdom.

How does cable TV work?

When you have cable TV installed, a digital signal is delivered to your home by the cable and the signal is translated by means of a set-top box. Cable TV is more often than not bundled with broadband internet, a home phone line, or both. In the United Kingdom, there are three cable TV service providers whose customers live in certain areas within the UK. As of 01.09.11, these three cable TV providers are only offering service to a little over half the population of the United Kingdom.

Smallworld Cable

Smallworld Cable services households in south-west Scotland and North West England. This service gives customers more than 120 channels. These channels include standard subscription services such as Sky Movies, Sky Sports and ESPN. There are also family and children's services such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Boomerang, Good Food and Home. If you want cable TV service delivered to more than one room in your house, you will need to pay extra.


WightCable is a cable provider for residents of the Isle of Wight. The channels available from WightCable include Yesterday, Alibi, Challenge, Eden, Discovery Channel, Sky Sports News, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Toons.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media is the largest of the cable TV providers, servicing more than half the households in the United Kingdom. If you want high definition TV and video on demand, you will need to be living in areas that are not served by Virgin's analog TV service. Some of Virgin's channels allow you to shop on TV. Virgin's shopping channels include QVC, Price Drop, Best Director, Gems TV, and Ideal World.
Virgin children's channels include Baby TV, Cartoon Network, Disney XD and Nickelodeon. News channels provided by Virgin include BBC News, Sky News, CNN International, Bloomberg Television, BBC Parliament and Euronews. Sports channels available from Virgin include Sky Sports, British Eurosport and Extreme Sports Channel. So, if you want cable TV and you live outside the areas covered by Smallworld and Wightcable, Virgin is your only alternative. Fortunately, you will probably find that one of their cable deals will suit your needs.

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