Virgin Media has finally launched its much vaunted next-gen and web-enabled TiVo service with over 160 channels, 1TB of storage, three tuners allowing you to record two channels while watching another and up to 4,600hours of TV, movies and music on demand.
News of the Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo has been with us for over a year now, but finally today Virgin Media has given us some real details about the device. It will be rolling out here in the UK mid-December and will cost £199 with £40 installation fee. Subscribers taking the Virgin phone package will be shelling out £26.50 a month with non-phone subscribers paying £32.50 each month. While the three tuners function will be coming online in early 2011, the TiVo box will ship initially with two tuners. This compares favourably with the price of the Sky+ HD box at launch of £299 and the Humax Freeview+ HD box currently on sale for £296 for a 500GB version.
While the television watching public in the States has had TiVo for quite some time now, we here on this side of the pond have had to look on enviously. What makes TiVo so much more special than say Sky Plus? Well, it is a far more sophisticated way of recording programmes. It will actually record the programmes for you, based on what it knows about your watching habits and TiVo will learn over time, what it should and shouldn’t record and store them in the ‘My Shows’ folder.
The peanut-shaped TiVo remote control will also give viewers the chance to rate shows through the instantly accessible TiVo 'thumbs up/thumbs down' buttons. Another innovation sees the EPG allowing you to scroll back up to seven days to watch content from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. Virgin has also indicated it will be rolling out a remote record facility for mobile devices in the coming months.
The box also has an inbuilt 10Mb cable broadband modem which will help you access the all new app store on your TV. Built on an Adobe Flash-based platform, the latest videos, social networking and information apps will be updated regularly. Initially there will be apps from major players such as BBC iPlayer, YouTube, eBay, Twiter and Facebook the app line up is set to expand over the next few months.