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Virgin Media V HD

Adding even more options is TV Choice On Demand. This will cost you £7 a month on Virgin's M+ and L packages and adds yet further on-demand content. This includes shows from HBO and Warner Bros, to name but two providers. We're not talking the odd episode from a series no-one wants to watch, either. Full seasons of heavy hitters such as Band of Brothers, True Blood and, um, Spongebob Squarepants are all available, with the majority in HD, too.

The on-demand catalogue isn't limited to TV programmes - there is also a broad range of films available. There are currently two ways to get your cinematic fix via Virgin Media. Either you can pay £5 a month for a PictureBox subscription or you can pick and chose from the Movies On Demand pay-per-view repository. An HD film from Movies On Demand could set you back as much as £5.99, but there are also SD films as cheap as 99p, so there is plenty of choice.

To its advantage Sky lets you watch any film (aside from Box Office titles) as many times as you want for as long as you keep it on your hard drive. Virgin Media, conversely, limits your viewing window to 24 hours. That's a minor frustration, though - how many times do you really need to watch New Moon before you get sick to death of it?

Virgin Media can claim an advantage over its rivals in that all of these films are available to watch immediately. Admittedly, if you have a fast enough internet connection you can stream movies next to immediately on an Xbox 360, but with Sky+ HD you either have to hope that the film you want to watch is about to play live or record it for later viewing.

It's this immediacy of access to so much content that makes the V HD so interesting, but that also proves the biggest annoyance. Because it doesn't have a hard drive, the times when content isn't available to watch via the catch-up service become all the more annoying.

No doubt the amount of content available on-demand is only going to increase, but until everything available in Virgin Media's linear broadcast line-up is also available on-demand, the inconvenient truth is that the lack of any local storage with the V HD box is an issue. Whether that's a deal breaker and you think you need the V+ HD box, only you can decide.

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