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TiVo Finally Launched By Virgin

David Gilbert


TiVo Finally Launched By Virgin

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.


December 1, 2010, 6:45 pm

At last! real competition for Sky+. Now if Virgin Media can just keep a few of the best channels and programmes television will move on to the next level. I had TiVo a few years back and it was amazing then. time will tell if Virgin Media get this right.


December 1, 2010, 7:06 pm

Just a note to say that Tivo was available here quite a few years ago but nobody bought into it. I remember seeing them for sale in Dixons and thinking about getting one while I was at uni but didn't have the funds.


December 1, 2010, 7:10 pm

"Another innovation sees the EPG allowing you to scroll back up to seven days to watch content from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five."

Hang on, by that do you mean that the Tivo seemlessly connects to iPlayer, 4OD ect from the EPG rather than having to launch a browser or red button ect? IF so then thats a brilliant idea, if not then ill just be off down the patent office...


December 1, 2010, 7:21 pm

Uh, sorry, I know I'm being thick here but about the monthly cost. Does that £26.50 compare to the current £23.50 a month price for XL and there's nothing else on top of it? So if you're currently a customer you're going to pay £239 for the box and installation and then £3 extra a month for TIVO?

If that is the case I may actually consider this once the reviews come in. The current V+ box is, frankly, pretty poor and for three quid a month I may consider it. That said I'd also like to know a) if we'd own the box rather than be renting it and b) if that's the case where do Virgin stand on warranty support if it breaks after a year. One of the advantages of the V+ box is it's only leased so whenever it goes wrong Virgin should, in theory, fix it.

David Gilbert

December 1, 2010, 7:29 pm

@Stelph Yes that is exactly what it means. The EPG as normal lets you look at future programming but with TiVo you can now scan backwards for up to seven days and see any content from iPlayer, ITV, Five and 4OD and any other channel offering catch up facility. Sweet.

@BOFH UK Sorry if there was some confusion but you have it pretty spot on. It will be only an extra £3 for the new service per month along with the £239 initial cost.


December 1, 2010, 7:58 pm

Still dont feel all that excited by this. Worth bearing in mind though when the Sky contract runs out next year i suppose.


December 1, 2010, 8:11 pm

@David: No need to say sorry, the confussion is Virgin's usual poorly wordered press release. One thing I really wish they'd sort out is the pricing structure, currently very very difficult to work out what exactly you're going to end up paying.


December 1, 2010, 8:57 pm

@BOFH - I agree 100% regarding Virgin's pricing info... they must write to me almost every week with some offer or other - and it's never very clear what you're going to pay for a specific mix of services.

Think it's a ploy to get you engaged with their sales team over the phone!

Presumably, this new TIVO-based service is good to go with all of Virgin's HD channels?

David Gilbert

December 1, 2010, 9:02 pm

@Kultivator It is indeed good to go with all the HD channels or as Virgin put it modestly in its release: "The platform will be supercharged by Virgin Media&#8217s unparalleled digital network, ensuring guaranteed quality of service, whether watching in Standard Definition, High Definition or 3D."


December 1, 2010, 11:00 pm

So if you're already on V+ you can pay an additional surcharge plus an additional one-off cost to replace the current lousy hardware? My tone probably betrays my feelings on this but even then it'd almost be worth it just to rid myself of: the screen artefacts, the weird hanging then catch-up after pressing buttons, the annoying blank info window and the crashing when watching HD in delay. Oh and I wonder if it's any quieter too.


December 2, 2010, 2:23 am

So as an existing quad play XXXXXXL subscriber I have to pay another install fee and another monthly charge to get this box, that sucks...


December 2, 2010, 3:07 am

@David Gilbert - thanks for clearing that up.

Anyone got any feedback on the quality / reliability of Virgin's broadband service. I'm a home worker, so quite dependent on a service that's not just fast, but dependable too.


December 2, 2010, 5:06 pm


I have Virgin's 50MB cable broadband, and it's great. I've found it to be 100% reliable, with no down-time at all, and the actual speed matches the advertised speed. Also, there are no download limits on the 50MB service.


December 2, 2010, 6:09 pm


Have the 20mb package and its been v stable both me and my wife use it to work from home.


I'd suggest getting them to swap out the box. We had an issue with ours getting v loud (HD on way out?) and they just swapped it out with a new one which was much quieter.


December 2, 2010, 7:56 pm


You're right but that's because you're using logic. Last time I had to change box I was forced to endure an endless round of pantomime performances first as they pretended to send magic fixing-fairy signals down the line followed by the all important unplug and replug approach to IT hardware repair solutions. This happened every day despite me telling them if they told me that one more time I'd go to Sky. The next day they fed me the same bull so I told them to terminate the contract. Hey presto the retentions department arranged a new box within 24 hours. It's a rather odd, brinksmanship approach to customer service!


December 3, 2010, 7:23 pm

@PimlicoSound / @OverThere - many thanks for your comments guys... your positive impressions have spurred me on to jump ship after the silly season is over!

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