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Virgin Media Launches Android TiVo App [Update]

David Gilbert

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Virgin Media TV Guide TiVo

Virgin Media has launched an Android app, which will allow TiVo users in the UK to remotely record programmes and see TV schedules for the next seven days.

The Virgin Media TV Guide app is now available in the Android Market and finally gives TiVo customers the functionality Sky customers have had for some time with the Sky Plus Record app. However, simply finding the app in the Market is a bit of a struggle. The app is titled the Virgin Media TV Guide app, which you wouldn’t instantly recognise as anything to do with TiVo. But it is, and once downloaded, the free app will let you choose which Virgin Media TV package you have and display the list of channels you are subscribed to.

Virgin Media TV Guide TiVo

However it is TiVo users who will find the app most useful. Having signed into your account, you will be able to browse the schedule and, if away from the house, remotely record any show, as long as it is 35 minutes prior to the show starting. You even have the option of recording a series link and cancelling a recording. The interface is decent, although from the small amount of time we’ve had using the app, it is far from speedy. You can chose to customise which channels are displayed each time you use the app – in a similar way to setting you Favourites on the TiVo box itself.

Alex Green, executive director of commercial TV and online at Virgin Media, said: "We think Virgin Media's TiVo Service is the best way to watch TV and our new mobile app enhances that experience by ensuring you'll never miss recording a programme whilst out and about. Our TiVo service already offers the most flexible and comprehensive recording options and features, which this new service complements."

The app is available now from the Android Market and is compatible with devices running Android 2.1 and above. A version of the app for iOS is in the works too.

Update (15/7/2011): Virgin Media has just been in touch to let us know that the iOS app is now available in the Apple App Store so all you iPhone users can now record while on the move.

A Scotland

July 11, 2011, 5:48 pm

I am thinking of switching from Sky to Virgin for TIVO and also for the better broadband service. Anybody had recent experience of Sky HD and Virgin TIVO that could offer up some pros and cons feedback?

It does seem that Virgin is more expensive overall and it does not seem to have Sky Atlantic, which would be a shame to lose.

HDRE

July 11, 2011, 7:23 pm

I'm a long time SKY scubscriber, and have had cable a number of times over the years. The new Tivo box is good (despite it not having Sky Atlantic... just got it my tivo...made by Cisco). The interface is crisp and bright (the EPG looks nicer than Skys) at first glance and the ability to get BBC iPlayer at a touch of a button is a fab feature, but it comes with issues (in my opinion). Firstly you can't scroll though the EPG find a programme and press for information whilst watching a channel. Unlike sky's remote where you had a back button, it's sorely missing on the Tivo handset and each button has it's own function, and they can be small and hard to find without looking at the remote. That said the ability to record 3 programmes at once whilst watching another already recorded is a great feature. If you want the extra functionality then switch, but if the EPG and usability issues are of prime importance then stick with the Fisher price of TV interfaces/remotes and keep giving to Murdoch.

David Gilbert

July 11, 2011, 7:44 pm

I would have to agree with HDRE regarding the interface. While it does look good, it's just not as intuitive as Sky's - though it offers a lot more functionality if you do get used to it. One of the best is the ability to scroll back up to seven days and if a programme is available on one of the catch up services then one click will bring you straight to it.
I've had TiVo now for about five months and am very happy with it. Sky Atlantic is the only channel really missing from the line up and as HDRE says, the ability to access iPlayer is a get addition.
This new app, while it may sound gimmicky, is also a bonus as I have found myself out of the house and wanting to record a show but having no way to do it.

Chris

July 11, 2011, 8:02 pm

I was doing this with my TiVo nearly 10 years ago, thanks to a community written project called TiVoWeb. I could remotely schedule recordings, modify my series links or even download recorded programs. I once wrote a small utility to automatically recode Rugby World Cup games for iPod and then post the recordings to a private FTP site - handy while on holiday.

I'm only pointing this out to illustrate how slowly STB tech has moved on in recent years. When I read this article, I can't help thinking 'great, but where was it 5 years ago?'. Perhaps closed systems like Sky are stifling development.

David Gilbert

July 11, 2011, 9:12 pm

That's a very interesting point Chris. Has it come to a point where companies are rehashing out out-of-use ideas, rebranding them and calling them new?

HDRE

July 12, 2011, 1:08 pm

Hi Chris, I would tend to agree that the limited number of real players is hampering innovation as the number of competing parties is only really Virgin in relation to SKY. If we had more serious players and therefore more competition we would have more innovation. The TiVoWeb project sounds great, and may have to be resurrected for people like me who have an Android phone that has been deemed incompatible with the App. Anyone know if the app can be found elsewhere to download?

Soapy

July 13, 2011, 3:41 pm

@ A Scotland

TIVO in itself is awesome from what dealings i've had on my son in law's, unfortunately (and i'm almost certainly not the only one who'll tell you this) Virgin Media are a nightmare. I've been with them for 3 years, during which time i may as well have had their customer service deparmtent on speed dial. I've gone from the full V.I.P package to a basic freeview one because i refused to continually pay for something i wasnt getting. I only retained the broadband out of the sheer terror of not being able to get online, but this too has been erratic at best. If it all worked properly it would be great, but then that's like saying if i had won the euromillions i would be a multi-millionaire; I didn't, and i wont be.

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