Virgin Media TiVo customers in the United Kingdom will be able to access Netflix through their set-top box. Users will be able to search and browse titles across the range of movies and television programmes available on the platform, including Netflix and other apps such as the BBC iPlayer. It is the first time that Netflix will be available through a pay-television operator.

Beginning with a pilot to 40,000 Virgin Media TiVo homes, the Netflix app will be available to 1.7 million Virgin Media homes later in the year.

The Netflix app complements over 6,000 hours of On Demand entertainment available on Virgin Media.

“Netflix is a fabulous addition to Virgin Media TiVo, enabling our customers to enjoy even more of their favourite shows and movies simply and easily — all through their TV set-top box and at outstanding value,” said Dana Strong, the chief operating officer of the cable company.

“Virgin Media TiVo offers different ways to watch, either subscription or pay per view, all seamlessly integrated for simple, intuitive viewing so there’s a world of great entertainment at your fingertips and everyone can be sure of the perfect TV moment.”

Bill Holmes, global head of business development, Netflix, said: “The UK has given Netflix a fantastic welcome and we’re excited to be partnering with Virgin Media to bring an amazing Netflix experience to Virgin Media customers.”

For the pilot, the Netflix application will be available in the Apps & Games section of Virgin Media TiVo with Netflix members able to log-in using their existing Netflix credentials and new members able to sign up for Netflix via the app. Netflix will be rolled out to all Virgin Media TiVo customers following the successful completion of the pilot later this year.

The deal with Virgin Media is the first time that Netflix will be available through a pay-television operator. Rather than competing with Netflix, the cable company is able to embrace and extend its offering. It is breakthrough for both parties. It marks a bridging of the world of traditional pay-television and so-called over-the-top services that have been seen as challengers to incumbents.

Virgin Media is now a part of Liberty Global, which now has 25 million customers across 14 countries.