Virgin Media Adds 11 Free TV Channels: Crime to Comedy

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Virgin Media o2 is giving its users a new treat, adding 11 brand-new Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) channels to its lineup, bringing a wealth of new content to customers at no extra cost.

These new channels promise to cater to a wide range of tastes, from the culinary adventures of Big Zuu’s Big Eats to the thrills of Flipping Bangers and Deal Masters and even fan-favourite concerts featuring the likes of Mariah Carey.

The new channels will be automatically added to Virgin TV 360, Stream, and V6 boxes, and will be integrated into the existing electronic TV Guide, even though they are based on streaming.

What Are FAST Channels?

Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels have been gaining significant traction in the UK and globally.

Man streaming video on a laptop
Moving to streaming

FAST channels are a hybrid of traditional TV viewing and streaming – they require a broadband connection, and the content is streamed to you – but the channels resemble old-school linear channels, with programmes “airing” according to predetermined schedules.

FAST channels are free, as the acronym suggests, but they rely on an ad-based revenue model (not to be confused with paid streaming services that, these days, also show adverts – unless you’re willing to pay even more).

These channels provide an array of linear, themed streaming channels and on-demand content at no extra cost – but with advert breaks.

This model is becoming increasingly popular in the streaming TV arena, with several major players launching their own FAST channels – such as Amazon’s popular Freevee platform, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel and more.

Freevee prime video pc screenshot
Amazon’s Freevee FAST platform

Virgin Media Doubling Down On FAST Channels

Virgin Media O2 started entering the FAST channel arena in July 2023, when it integrated 14 Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV channels into its Electronic Programming Guide (EPG).

Among the channels added back then were Inside Crime, featuring in-depth explorations of the UK’s most infamous crimes, Homes Under the Hammer, dedicated to the popular auction series, and more.

By integrating FAST channels directly into the EPG alongside its current linear channel line-up, Virgin Media TV aimed to simplify the viewing process for its customers, with both types of channels living together on the same TV Guide.

Virgin Media Stream new channels NOW

The New Virgin Media Channel Line-Up

This week, Virgin Media has announced the introduction of 11 new FAST channels, enhancing the variety of entertainment available to its TV customers.

These new channels provide 24/7 access to fan-favourite TV shows across genres, including music concerts, lifestyle, and reality TV.

Here’s the full list of new channels:

History Hunters (A+E Networks) – The channel assembles a quirky crew of some of Britain’s finest historians and beloved celebrities, including Tony Robinson, Professor Alice Roberts, Al Murray, and Ross Kemp, to delve into history in exciting ways you have never seen before. Shows include River Hunters, Digging for Britain, Shipwreck Treasure Hunter, Al Murray: Why Does Everyone Hate the English? and Walking Through History.

Deal Masters (A+E Networks) – Deal Masters is a channel focused on the world of business and entrepreneurship. It features shows like Flipping Bangers and Garage Squad.

Flipping Bangers a-e
Photo: A&E

Qello Concerts (Stingray) – Qello Concerts is a channel that offers a wide variety of full-length concerts and music documentaries. It features performances from artists across multiple genres.

Trace Sports Stars (Trace) – The channel that provides an inside look into the lives of top athletes and sports personalities. It features interviews, documentaries, and behind-the-scenes content.

Real Crime (Little Dot Studios) – The channel that delves into true crime stories and investigations. 

Real Life (Little Dot Studios) – Real Life is a channel that showcases extraordinary real-life stories and experiences. 

ZenLIFE (Stingray) – ZenLIFE is a channel that offers a variety of content dedicated to mindfulness, wellness, and relaxation. It features programs focusing on yoga, meditation, and healthy living.

UKTV Play Laughs (UKTV) – UKTV Play Laughs is a channel that brings together a collection of comedy shows and stand-up specials. It features content from UKTV’s Dave, Gold, and Alibi channels, such as Hypothetical, Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable, Judge Romesh and Comedians Giving Lectures.

UKTV Play FAST channels

UKTV Play Heroes (UKTV) – The channel allows viewers to join frontline medics and police at life’s most dramatic moments, with inspiring stories of the everyday heroism of paramedics, doctors, nurses and the police. 

UKTV Play Full Throttle (UKTV) – UKTV Play Full Throttle is a channel that offers a range of high-octane content, including car shows and adrenaline-fueled adventures. It features shows like Bangers & Cash, Architecture the Railways Built, Warbird Workshop, Yianni: Supercar Customiser and more.

UKTV Play Uncovered (UKTV) – The channel is aimed at enquiring minds, and delves into the darkest corners of history and engineering. Audiences are invited to explore the extraordinary, from the battlefield to the home front, ancient monoliths to modern myths

David Bouchier, Chief TV and Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “Having launched 30 streaming channels in the last year alone, we are constantly striving to offer our customers even more entertainment, providing them with easy access to shows we know they’ll love, at no extra cost.”

How To Watch The New Channels

The new FAST channels will be accessible to all Virgin Media TV customers at no extra cost, along with the existing collection of 19 channels.

To access these channels, customers will need to have one of Virgin Media’s newer set-top boxes: TV 360, Stream, or V6.

Virgin Media TV 360

TV 360 is Virgin Media’s “traditional” TV platform, offering access to 190 channels and up to three mini 360 boxes around the home for a full multi-room experience.

Virgin Media TV 360
Virgin Media TV 360

It also provides access to the Virgin TV Go app, so customers can stream their favourite content from their phone or tablet whenever and wherever they like.

Virgin Media Stream

Stream (see our review), available to both new and existing customers who take a Virgin Media broadband-only or broadband and landline bundle, offers complete flexibility with a 30-day rolling contract and no ongoing cost beyond the streaming subscriptions they choose to subscribe to.

Virgin Media Stream hero collage
Virgin Media Stream

Stream customers can also benefit from Stream credit, which provides a 10% saving on select streaming services added via their Virgin TV bill.

In addition to these two boxes, the new FAST channels will also be available on the V6 box – Virgin Media’s previous-generation set-top device.

To access the new FAST channels, customers simply need to navigate to the relevant section on their EPG using their remote.

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