Virgin Media is to offer customers 40 free-to-air channels and 25 digital radio stations through a set-top box. However, the service is limited to those who sign up to a Virgin Media broadband package. Broadband ISP Virgin Media was previously known as NTL:Telewest.

Up to now Virgin Media's TV services have been available only via cable. Virgin Media now offers broadband through normal phonelines as well as cable and is keen to meet its coverage targets.

Virgin Media is keen to attract customers after its public falling out with major rivals Sky. The box will be free to any Virgin Media non-cable customer taking the £20 a month 8Mbps (megabits per second) broadband and Talk Anytime phone bundle.

Virgin Media's Philip Snalune said: "Launching a basic TV service into non-cable areas enables us to expand availability of our quadplay of broadband, phone, mobile and TV.

"This is just the first step and our aim is to offer more advanced TV services in all areas throughout 2008.

"The digital switchover is just around the corner and we can now offer consumers across the UK a simple and low-cost way of making the digital leap, even if they can't get cable services," said Snalune.

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