The long awaited roll out of Nagra 3 by Virgin Media to encrypt their cable services has begun, with Leeds being the first area of the UK to be upgraded to the new system.
According to unconfirmed reports, it will be rolled out across the South of England over January, the Midlands by February, and the North West of England by March. By Easter, all of Virgin Media’s cable services should be running with Nagra 3 encryption.
This will make it virtually impossible for anyone to view premium cable channels broadcast by Virgin Media except by legitimate paid subscribers, resulting in a serious blow to existing cable pirates.
The news has long been expected, after Nagra 3 was rolled out in the Republic of Ireland earlier this year, and hardware upgrades to allow for it to be rolled out in the UK have been sent out through 2009.
While cable pirates will no doubt be disappointed that their favourite premium cable channels will no longer be available for free, Virgin are offering two months free upgrade on their TV services to new and existing customers.
If cable services are no longer wanted, then Sky has been providing special offers on Sky + and Sky HD for the Christmas season to bring in subscribers to premium channels.
Of course, there are also options to use Freeview, Freesat, or even use satellite equipment to explore the range of Free To Air (FTA) channels, which do not require subscription services.
In the meantime, when approached by Techwatch for comment, a Virgin Media spokesperson replied “We do not comment on security issues.”