June 23, 2017

Virgin Media issues important Super Hub security advice:

 Sofa Bear  said today (June 23rd):

The security of our network and of our customers is of paramount importance to us.  We continually upgrade our systems and equipment to ensure that we meet all current industry standards.

The strongest passwords have a mixture of character types and are more than 12 characters in length. Those that are less than eight characters and not mixed are at a higher risk of being hacked. "Password" is not a good password, but "yZ8_tr*3B!td2?" is.
While our Hub 3.0 already contains additional security provisions, if you have an older Superhub you need to make sure you use a bespoke password that uses uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and keep it longer than 12 characters.

These steps will show you how to change your password if you use a Superhub 1, 2 or 2ac.

1. Connect your computer to the Super Hub using an Ethernet cable
2. Access the settings page by entering the web address shown on the Super Hub sticker. For a guide on how to do this, please see Configure Advanced Settings on your Virgin Media Hub.
3. Click Wireless Network Settings
4. If it isn't chosen already, set the Security Mode drop-down menu to WPA Auto, and then enter your desired new passphrase into the Passphrase box. When choosing your new passphrase we recommend at least twelve characters with a mix of upper case, lower case and numbers. It should be unique: not something you use for anything else
Wireless-Network400%20arrow-passphrase.jpg
5.Click Save Settings, and then close the administration interface. All computers and devices that were wirelessly connected to the Super Hub will now be disconnected, because they will still be configured with the old WiFi network security key
6.Restart your computers and devices and try to reconnect to the Super Hub, and you should be prompted for the new passphrase. If you have difficulty in reconnecting to the WiFi network, follow our setup guides and remember to use your new passphrase:
Connecting a Windows device to your wireless network
Connecting an Apple Mac to your wireless network
Note: if you ever forget your new passphrase, you can set it back to the default by Resetting your Virgin Media Hub (this will also reset all other changes you have made to the Super Hub's settings)
7.Once all computers and devices are reconnected to the WiFi network, you can disconnect the Ethernet cable from the computer

All sound advice, but it sounds like the media's scaremongering again. This is posted by superuser Ravenstar68 on VM's Community Boards:
First off I read the BBC News Story and then decided to look for the which? articles that prompted it.
http://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/06/virgin-urges-super-hub-2-password-change/#?intcmp=HP.hero.small....http://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/06/could-your-smart-home-be-hacked/
So lets look at the reality.
1. Which? employed a dedicated company to hack the network in question.
2. It took them days to crack the default wifi passphrase
3. Most hackers are opportunists who won't take that much time and effort on a home connection.
4. Virgin set the default hub login password as changeme (change me) in addition when users log into the hub they are normally told to change this as well via a nag screen.
Virgin actually ran a story in the news section yesterday.
https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/News/Make-your-network-extra-safe/ba-p/3456004
Which includes advice on how to change passwords on older routers.
It should be noted that when the SH2ac came out Virgin introduced a requirement that if the password was the default, that users were required to enter the WPS Pin which was unique to each hub. So hackers couldn't breach the hub itself even of they gained access to the wifi network.
I do consider the headlines to be scaremongering, which is why I did my homework before posting.
Also note that 800,000 is the estimated number of SH2's on the network. Out of those:
Some users will automatically change the default SSID and passphrase as soon as they get the device.
Others can and do put the hub into modem mode and use their own router.
So while the general message is going out, the number of those at risk is lower than the quoted figure.

April 15, 2017

V6 update being rolled out

There's a new update being rolled out to V6 boxes to address some of the bugs.

If you have the update your firmware level will be 20.5.8.1.RC6-VMB-11-C68 (Home > Help & Settings > System Info > System Info). According to Virgin Media, the box should no longer crash if watching some shows; the wake up bug has been fixed and if you press play and then OK during playing back a recording it plays faster (but the voices don't go high pitched).

There are new options in the power saving settings which at the bottom of the screen;
Always On
Connected Low Power - powers down after 4 hours but still lets you watch recordings on that box from elsewhere
Eco Low Power - box will power down after 4 hours

April 13, 2017

Superhub 3s becoming public wi-fi

Interesting but not necessarily good news if your broadband struggles at peak times.
https://arstechnica.co.uk/business/2017/04/virgin-media-wifi-public-hotspots/
For now only Virgin Media customers with the latest Super Hub 3 (Hub 3.0) are being opted into the new public Wi-Fi service. Virgin is trialling an update to the older Super Hub 2ac routers, too. The ISP says it will add "hundreds of thousands" of hubs by "later this year."
This won't be popular if download speeds drop due to network contention.

March 30, 2017

New boxes comparison from What Hi-Fi

No clear winner and that's an odd TiVo screenshot (taken from the website rather than a TV?) but this is a fair comparison of the latest offerings from Virgin, Sky and BT:
http://www.whathifi.com/features/bt-tv-g5-vs-sky-q-vs-virgin-tv-v6-which-best-4k-tv-service

March 23, 2017

TiVo developing for ... Sky Q?

Believe it or not, TiVo is providing Sky Q with a natural language, voice-based search solution, making it quicker and easier for Sky Q customers to find the content they are looking for. Honest.
More details here.

March 05, 2017

New function on the V6 remote

I found a new capability of the V6 remote the other evening: if I hold down the TV button for a few seconds it brings up my Sony TV's AV input menu. My old TiVo's remote doesn't do this but it's a useful feature and means I no longer need the telly's own remote very often now.

March 02, 2017

Where's the Store?

On November 30th Virgin Media announced:

Virgin Media Store
To give Virgin TV customers a new way to own the entertainment they love, Virgin Media is launching Virgin Media Store to bring viewers some of the biggest movies first out of cinema before they are available to buy on DVD alongside a huge range of box sets to download.
Through the Virgin TV V6 and TiVo boxes, desktop and a Virgin Media Store app for iOS and Android, viewers can simply browse the store, buy what they want and then watch it straight away on a TV or mobile device such as Virgin Media’s TellyTablet. For films, a DVD copy will be automatically put in the post for keeps. The Virgin Media Store will launch in February and will be available for non-Virgin Media customers on desktop and mobile.

No word of it since. Nor have I heard of anyone having a "Telly Tablet" either. Anyone know anything about these?

February 23, 2017

VMHD and 4k coverage

It was recently suggested that I update the focus of this blog (which is ten years’ old later this year) to campaign for more 4k content on Virgin Media, much like I originally did for HD. I’ve given it some thought but will keep it running with general Virgin Media TV news (including HD, Netflix and any 4k content) rather than running a 4k or HDR campaign. I’m more than happy to support anyone who wants to campaign and can help promote one on VMHD but I don’t have the time (nor a 4k TV) to run one myself.
Nialli

February 17, 2017

Another review of the V6 - three stars from What Hi-Fi

What Hi-Fi magazine’s review of the V6 is less positive than most, and is particularly negative about the lack of content and pricing on Virgin’s new box. Here’s what they conclude:
The V6 is a frustrating beast. Hardware-wise it’s mostly good, and if it doesn’t quite beat Sky Q it’s a fairly close-run thing.
The interface could do with a further refresh and it seems a little prone to crashes, but it’s a notable improvement on the TiVo box. If you’re a current Virgin subscriber and intend to remain one, you should upgrade for the speed boost alone.
But it all falls down a bit when it comes to content. There are no Sky Atlantic-rivalling exclusives here, and you can’t even pay extra to get Sky’s best shows on your Virgin box.
What’s more, there’s no 4K content outside of Netflix or YouTube. If that changes, the V6 might well be a proper contender. Until then Sky Q still leads the way.
Although What Hi-Fi has always been a bit of a rabid Sky fanzine I think the comment on the lack of 4k content is not so wide of the mark. It would be great if VM made some announcements on this front. Read the full review at http://www.whathifi.com/virgin-media/tv-v6/review#kajPdy2efVXYv9fT.99 They award the V6 three stars out of five, but I’d suggest the actual review is actually a fairer, four star one.