September 26, 2016

Another suggestion for speeding up your TiVo

Thanks to a couple of guys for the following comments after my previous post:

Jaunty wrote:
Suggestion here to remove the smart card if you still have one in the back and reboot. Does seem to have helped me.
http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Virgin-Media-TiVo-service/TiVo-really-slow-since-upgrade-June-2016/td-p/3144867
And Jay added:
Taking the card out of the back improves performance massively night and day. Way more than formatting the box. Life saver! :)
It’s a little disappointing that our mate at Virgin Media engineering, Spiderplant, is less convinced:
Removing the card makes no difference. If it went faster, that would be because of the reboot.
I don’t have a card in my new TiVo so I can’t check this out for myself but if anyone else does it, can they please let me know how they get on?

September 22, 2016

TiVo too slow? Maybe try this

Here’s a suggestion for those who are struggling with their TiVo boxes post the recent software change:
I have no big issues with the speed of my TiVo. My main box is a 1Tb Samsung but it is a recent replacement after my previous one had developed disc problems. That means I have only Series Links and Wish Lists from the last few weeks, no Favourite Channels and I’m not currently using Suggestions. My disc is only around 25% full at the moment. And guess what? The box works fine for me - it’s not as zippy as the Now TV box but it is not noticeably slow either.
If you have a TiVo that’s incredibly lethargic and are okay to sacrifice your existing recordings (you’ll lose your recordings if you leave VM anyway of course) it may be worth reformatting the TiVo’s disc and seeing how it performs before jumping ship. Not a permanent solution, but it may sort things out for you until the new TiVo arrives for your consideration.

September 16, 2016

Here's what the price increase letter says...

Just got mine as an email:

From 1st November, your bill will be going up by £3.49 a month
Dear XXX,

We know when prices go up it's never welcome news. That's why we've been busy making your Virgin Media experience bigger and better than ever before. Take a look below to see how much more you can enjoy.
The good stuff just keeps coming
The new Virgin Media WiFi app is here on iOS.
We've now teamed up with The Cloud and Arqiva to give you thousands of WiFi hotspots nationwide. Our new app automatically connects you to secure hotspots in places like airports, cafes and high streets. Download and register now on your iOS device (it's available on Android™ soon).
All the football, brilliantly brought together.
Only we bring you all the live Premier League games from both Sky Sports and BT Sport in one package. That's 14 more Premier League games than last season. Plus with BT Sport we've got every live televised UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game.
We're rolling out improved Virgin TV.
We're updating your TiVo® box to include our amazing new Series Link+, which will save whole series, record live TV and find shows on demand in places like Netflix and Catch Up. This service is unique to our customers, so if you haven't got it yet, it'll be with you soon.
The fastest widely available broadband around.
We're proud to have the UK's fastest widely available broadband. Our super reliable network offers speeds of up to 200Mbps - that's more than twice as fast as BT's and Sky's top speeds. And with unlimited downloads you can stream, game and much more, even at peak times.
Peace of mind is built into all our packages.
With inclusive servicing and repairs, you can relax knowing if your kit needs to be repaired or replaced we'll take care of it without charging you a penny - unlike Sky who charges £65 for call-outs once your Sky+ box is out of warranty.
To help you make the most of your entertainment, you can also download a helpful guide with handy hints and tips for all your services at virginmedia.com/makethemost
We really hope you'll want to carry on enjoying it all. But if not, don't worry - you can change your package at any time. Or you can cancel it before 31st October 2016 and you won't pay any cancellation charges. Just click here for more information.
Kind regards,
Mark Davidson,
Executive Director, Customer Care
Things to Note
If you are on a promotional offer we will honour it. Some of your increase may therefore happen at the end of your promotional offer. Visit virginmedia.com/discovermore to find out more.
If you are one of the thousands of customers that have Line Rental Saver you will continue to benefit from this fantastic offer. Some of your increase may therefore happen at the end of your Line Rental Saver period.
Information and prices correct at the time of going to press.

TiVo US getting a new User Interface

In the US it has been announced that the TiVo brand is getting an interface refresh to bring it up to day with people’s current viewing habits. The next-generation user interface is designed to 'allow for even better TV content discovery and predictions, a customisable viewing experience and overall less time spent fiddling with the remote', according to a report on Endgadget.
“We are transforming TV viewing into an easy, personalized experience,” TiVo’s Chief Design Officer Margret Schmidt said. “The new UX brings the content the viewer wants right up front faster through expanded discovery and predictions from their own cable subscription and the best online video sources. In short, we designed this UX so the viewer spends less time searching channel guides and opening apps and more time enjoying their favourite shows.”
You can't tell much from the single screenshot supplied by TiVo but apparently the interface also includes TiVo’s innovative new Prediction technology, which goes a step further than basic recommendations to predict which shows you want to watch at that moment.
As we have now sadly come to expect, there’s no word yet when exactly this update will be released or even if it will ever hit the Virgin Media hardware in the UK. Also, TiVo's new parent Rovi apparently has a history of showing off next-gen guides that never get a real release, so don't hold your breath.

September 10, 2016

Virgin Media price rise: customers have had enough

After Virgin Media announced yet another 2016 price rise for customers whilst offering even less for our money I ran a poll to gauge customer dissatisfaction. I expected some kick back, but nothing like the fury the latest hike has stirred.
There was a sizeable vote: 420 votes cast, and the response can broadly be split into thirds:

  • A third of existing customers say they will leave for other providers (Sky, BT, Now, etc)
  • A third will call to downgrade their services to cheaper options
  • A third will wait to see how the long-promised new TiVo box will be priced before making a call

What is remarkable is that just 4% still consider Virgin good value. That’s damming, and alarm bells at Liberty Global should be ringing with that kind of response from their existing customer base.
VIRGIN MEDIA, ARE YOU LISTENING?? Here are some of the responses you have been posting following the price rise announcement: Customer Dissatisfaction

August 23, 2016

HD Sky On Demand movies appear to be on the wane

Since the update to the TiVos the entire HD category has disappeared from the Sky Cinema On Demand section. Although there are still a handful of HD movies if you dig around in the various genre categories, the vast majority only appear to be available in standard definition.
Can anyone from Virgin Media explain this? Is it temporary or another example of Liberty Global’s “charging more but giving customers less” strategy?

August 21, 2016

Price hike dissatisfaction

If people act this time rather than moan, it looks like many of us have had enough of the constant price hikes from Virgin. I wonder if anyone from Virgin Media is monitoring the online reaction to the latest price rises? Alarm bells ringing yet or will they wait until a couple of quarters’ results come in, showing a higher level of Sky, BT or cord cutting migrations and then start to wonder how they got it so wrong?
Charging existing customers for an expansion of their network that only benefits new customers and not the loyal customers who are now leaving in droves makes no business sense whatsoever.
For the second time this year I’m running a poll - was the third price hike this year enough to make you jump ship to other providers? Vote now, top right.

August 20, 2016

See Premiership goals early on the Sky Sports App

If you subscribe to Sky Sports on Virgin Media and have the App installed on your phone or tablet,you can watch all of Saturday’s Premiership goals before they’re broadcast in the evening. It’s advertised as exclusive for Sky TV customers before 10pm but my VM login worked fine today.
Just so’s you knows.

August 19, 2016

Yet another price rise - where's Ofcom??

Virgin Media has announced yet another above-inflation price hike coming in November. Unbelievable. As you’d expect, the supposed service watchdog, OFCOM, is nowhere to be seen as we get ripped another one by Liberty Global’s atrocious ‘giving customers less for more’ strategy.
Prices will increase £3.49 a month for the majority of customers.The company said it was writing to customers about the changes, which will take effect from November 2016. Line rental will increase by £1.01 a month, which will be included in the increases for television and broadband bundles that include a landline.
“We do everything we can to keep prices competitive while striking a balance with investing in more of what our customers want,” lied a Virgin spokesman. Really? Well I for one, with my decrepit TiVo boxes, intermittent broadband outages, a TV lineup that’s outpaced by a ten quid Now TV box and the dodgy Superhub 2 wifi feels very much underserved and ripped off these days. Care to respond Virgin Media?
Incredibly, this is the third price rise many of us have had this year. On 1 February they increased prices by an average of 5.4%, and on 1 June we were told to swallow another increase for the Sky content.
Apparently customers will be given 30 days after receiving notification to move to another provider without penalty if they do not want to pay the new rates. Will we be ‘permitted’ to downgrade our service without penalty if we stick with Virgin Media?

August 15, 2016

Virgin Media Q2 results

Whoops. Missed these when they were published earlier in the month. Here is Virgin Media’s latest results press release:
Operating and financial highlights
  • Superior bundles, new build and continued low churn helped deliver organic customer additions of 24,000 in Q2, compared to a 12,000 loss in the prior-year period
    • Record Q2 organic customer additions of 31,000 in the U.K versus 8,000 loss in Q2 2015; approximately half of Q2 customer growth in the U.K. from new build
    • Combined U.K. and Ireland churn of 13.9% in Q2, with record low of 13.8% in the U.K.
  • Q2 organic RGU additions increased significantly to 50,000, compared to a gain of 1,000 in Q2 2015
    • Improved RGU additions year-over-year across our product portfolio, driven by 39,000 broadband internet and 27,000 fixed-line telephony additions
    • U.K. RGU additions of 66,000 represent our best U.K. Q2 growth since 2008
  • Q2 mobile net additions improved to 25,000, up from 7,000 in Q2 last year, while growth in postpaid mobile additions improved to 41,000, compared to 36,000 last year
  • Project Lightning on track to build more than 500,000 new U.K. premises in 2016; 85,000 premises added in Q2
    • Customer penetration, ARPU and build costs remain in line with business plan
  • Targeted investments to enhance our customer offer and drive sales in the U.K. and Ireland
    • Signed three-year sponsorship deal with Premier League football club, Southampton FC
    • Commenced roll-out of new TV interface & added more on-demand programming in the U.K.
    • In July, launched 4G and Freestyle mobile in Ireland with a selected range of handsets
  • Announced proposed acquisition of UTV Ireland and programming agreement in Ireland with ITV plc
  • Rebased revenue growth of 3% in Q2 (£1,197 million) and H1 (£2,375 million)
    • Increased sales and marketing delivering H1 volumes to drive H2 revenue and OCF growth
  • Operating income decreased by 24% (£79 million) in Q2 and by 16% (£168 million) in H1
    • Lower operating income primarily due to increases in related-party fees and allocations and higher depreciation and amortisation
  • Rebased Segment OCF growth of 1% (£533 million) in Q2 and 2% (£1,054 million) in H1
    • Growth negatively impacted by favourable nonrecurring items in the prior year including a £12 million reduction in local authority charges in H1 2015 (£7 million in Q2 2015)
  • Property and equipment additions were 23.5% of revenue in Q2 and 23% of revenue in H1 
  • Long-term debt hedged against currency fluctuations

Commenting on these Q2 2016 preliminary results Virgin Media Chief Executive, Tom Mockridge, said: “More homes and businesses than ever before are voting with their feet and moving to the better quality ultrafast broadband offered by Virgin Media.
“Customers are fed up with the slower broadband offered by providers operating over the ageing national telephone network.
“The proof is in the pudding. In areas with Virgin Media, more customers moved to us during the quarter than BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone combined.”