December 07, 2016

Virgin Media's V6 - First Reviews

Or, more accurately, the first I’ve found. Here’s what Pocket-lint concludes about the new box:
It’s clear that the company has made every effort to take what is good about its existing TiVo platform and improve on it in every way.
It has clearly been inspired by Sky Q for several new features, but has also added a few of its own - such as the multiroom tech utilising existing hardware rather than different devices.
The future proofing also offers great potential, with Virgin Media telling us that the box could even be made compatible with cloud recording services somewhere down the line. And, for us, the speed of use over the existing TiVo box is almost enough on its own. It is lightning quick, easy to use and we’re looking forward to giving it a proper, real world work out soon.
Perhaps then we can judge whether it is able to topple Sky Q off its lofty perch. Or at the very least offer a credible alternative.
See the full review at Pocket-lint 

And here's what Trusted Reviews felt:
The Virgin TV V6 doesn’t look like much, but it is a massive leap from the existing software and hardware that the company has been rocking for years. I’ll need a thorough play through the interface to see if it really is as fast and smooth an experience as Virgin claims, but for now it looks like Virgin has managed to evolve its home entertainment offering into a modern and genuinely useful service. Watch out, Sky Q…
Read more at Trusted Reviews

Transferring recordings from your old TiVo to your new V6

There's been some confusion over this but, in a nutshell, you can't, so if you're swapping a TiVo packed with recordings for a shiny new V6 you will lose them when you hand over the box. However VM man Spiderplant does assure me that if you keep the TiVo as a second box and it's connected to the Internet you can stream those TiVo recordings through your V6.

December 06, 2016

V6 reviews welcome!

Hi all
Seasons greetings and all that from all of the team (i.e. just me) here at VMHD.
Unlike many of you I won’t be on the phone to Virgin today to order a V6 or two. The main reasons for this sloth are that my two current TiVos are working okay and I’ve got my left leg in plaster and can’t crawl about on the floor sorting out the usual cable chaos after an engineer’s visit. I’m also wary of new hardware (thirty years in IT does that to a chap), especially at this time of year, and my VM contract is up for renewal/cancellation in February so I may wait until then. Anyway...
If you have a new V6 and would like to share your first impressions with the VMHD community (the blog still gets over 50,000 visits a month) please email me your words of wisdom and I’ll post them here for others to enjoy.

December 01, 2016

Reaction to the "game changing" Virgin TV announcement

Well, that was pretty predictable: no sooner had Virgin Media finally let the cat out of the bag then the usual anonymous cynics were all over the cable forums berating the company for its lack of 4k content. Even the BBC put the boot in with some inaccurate reporting (later corrected). No HDR? What is Branson (sic) thinking??!! (Let’s not forget that HDR is not on BT or Sky Q yet either...)
I’m not saying the V6 is perfect in its promise, but it has to be a step up from the tired TiVos we all endure, surely? I doubt I’ll ever need to record six things simultaneously and I have no plans to buy a 4k TV anytime soon but a faster box is most welcome and the ability to stream my recordings to our second TiVo or to a device using the improving TV Anywhere App is most welcome.
And we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the box won’t incur a monthly charge. In fact the V6 is considerably cheaper for existing customers than originally rumoured. £49.99 sounds like a good deal to me, especially if they’re available to existing customers before the end of the year. I may even get an upgrade to a Superhub 3 from the dodgy wifi of my SH2, which would be neat.
The lack of a 2Tb disc is a little disappointing but it may come later - the TiVo “Cloud DVR” is not far away now, surely.
And let’s not slam the company for not having done any expensive deals with Sky or BT for their 4k sports channels. VM will most likely do what they did before with 3D and measure demand by making 4k movies available on demand for those desperate for the best. But don’t expect them to be cheap - they’ll be cinema ticket price expensive. A better bet may be if the rumoured Amazon App finally makes an appearance, but the announcement of the Virgin Store makes me think that this is perhaps less likely than we’d like.
So I take some heart from the announcement yesterday, even if it did fall short of being “game changing”. The Telly Tablet, for £299, may be useful in the kitchen or spare bedroom. The Store sounds promising. And I’ll take a V6 for my 1Tb TiVo for fifty quid - sounds like a good deal to me.
Where do I sign?

November 30, 2016

Netflix enables downloads for iOS and Andoid

Netflix has begun rolling out the ability to download videos from its streaming service to smartphones and tablets for offline viewing.
Eddy Wu, Netflix director of product innovation: “While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where internet is expensive or limited.”
The feature is available from November 30th on Android and iOS devices, and includes the bulk of the Netflix catalogue including both TV series and movies. The company says that more will be made available soon.

"Game-changing" Virgin TV launch

From Virgin Media:
  • New Virgin TV V6 box is our smallest, smartest and fastest box yet
  • Revamped Virgin TV Anywhere app to watch telly, recordings & on demand on smartphones and tablets
  • 14” HD Virgin TV TellyTablet for TV fans to watch what they want, where they want
  • Virgin TV kids app for great TV, games and books – without the tantrums
  • Launch of Virgin Media Store to give viewers a new way to own the entertainment they love
Today we’ve lifted the cover off of our new connected entertainment line-up delivering the UK’s best and most advanced TV service. The combination of smarter, faster products and services with top-notch programmes bringing people closer to the TV they love, wherever it is.

Underpinned by our ultrafast connectivity, Virgin TV includes the new 4K-ready V6 box, which is powered by TiVo software and built for apps, and a new HD TellyTablet created by Virgin Media and designed specifically as a personal smart TV to watch television in HD quality. Virgin TV also includes a revamped Virgin TV Anywhere app, a new ad-free kids app and the unveiling of Virgin Media Store.
Our new Virgin TV line-up raises the bar in home entertainment, marrying the latest and smartest technology with the very best TV programmes, all underpinned by our ultrafast cable network. This is game-changing TV. David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media.

Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo

The new Virgin TV V6 box is Virgin Media’s smallest, smartest and fastest box yet. It is half the size of the previous TiVo box with 10x the power and packed with a load of extra features.


The Virgin TV V6 box allows you to record six programmes while watching a seventh recording or stream from services such as iPlayer or Netflix. This increases to 12 simultaneous recordings with two Virgin TV V6 boxes.

Watching live TV, on demand programmes, or recordings doesn’t stop in the living room. The Virgin TV V6 box is designed so that recordings can be accessed and streamed on other TiVo boxes around the home. The new set-top box is completely compatible with our original TiVo box meaning that existing customers can keep recordings and transfer settings while updating their home entertainment.
Recordings, on demand programmes and live TV can be watched in one room, paused and continued in another room seamlessly through a Virgin TV V6 or TiVo box. Recordings and live TV can also be continued on a mobile device with Virgin Media’s TV Anywhere app.

All Virgin TV V6 boxes, including additional boxes around the home, support 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV with Netflix and YouTube available in 4K from launch and more programming coming soon. The Virgin TV V6 box is also High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatible so that, as more HDR content becomes available, a software update will be downloaded and Virgin TV customers can enjoy the very best 4K picture quality on compatible HDR TVs.

The Virgin TV V6 box menu will be familiar to existing Virgin Media customers. It’s powered by the very latest, intelligent TiVo software and has been built for apps which, in combination with the powerful technology inside the Virgin TV V6 box, mean that its image-based menus are superfast to navigate and apps such as iPlayer, Netflix and Vevo will open with lightning speed. It also includes smart search and SeriesLink+, which pulls TV programmes together into one place, allowing Virgin Media customers to easily access the great range of programmes on Virgin TV wherever they are hiding.

The Virgin TV V6 remote is smaller than the existing remote but will be instantly recognisable to Virgin Media customers so there won’t be any barriers to getting straight to the best TV. A new search button on the remote instantly fires up the TiVo brain meaning there are fewer clicks to the TV users want.

The RF remote now works even when the new set-top box is tucked away in a cupboard. Plus, if it’s ever lost, there’s a button on new set-top box which will make the remote beep so it can be rescued from the depths of the sofa.

Pricing for the Virgin TV V6 box is simple, transparent and will not incur additional monthly subscription fees. The new state of the art box will be available to existing customers on a Mix bundle or higher, before the end of the year. Existing customers will not need to change package to benefit.
New customers joining Virgin Media will be able to order the Virgin TV V6 box when choosing their TV bundle from January 2017.
The standard price of the Virgin TV V6 box is a simple £99.95 one-off upfront cost.
New and existing customers with a Full House 200 or VIP bundle will benefit from a promotional price of £49.95.

4Seven HD arrives on channel 203

It had been a Freeview exclusive but is now on Virgin Media, too. Also, the flagship 4HD has moved to 141 and More4HD is at 195.
Is there really a master plan behind VM's channel numbering or is it just the random, chaotic output of a traumatised, illogical mind?

November 15, 2016

Software update to address TiVo slowness

From Virgin Media:
Update to our TiVo boxes
We are aware that some customers have been experiencing some slowness when using their TiVo® service recently. We’ve listened to the feedback and have been working to understand what the problems are and how we can fix this. We want to ensure that we give our customers the best service we can and have been testing a number of changes to help speed up the boxes.
We’ve now started to roll out a new code to all our TiVo boxes to help make our TV service quicker, the plan is to complete the roll-out throughout the rest of November.
There’s nothing you will need to do as the changes will take place overnight and won’t affect any of your TiVo box settings or recordings. Please note if the TiVo box is switched off the code will then download when you switch it back on again; this normally takes no more than 30 minutes to complete.

November 11, 2016

TiVo preparing Mavrik Cloud solution

According to reports in the US TiVo appears to be preparing a new set-top called Mavrik that would stream video content over the web. It’s more than idle speculation though, as TiVo’s own web site already has published a page on how to ‘setup’ the Mavrik (since taken down).
There is no other information at the TiVo site on what the Mavrik does, but word is that it's the new incarnation of Mantis, the Cloud based DVR.
A little more info here:

November 07, 2016

Amazon app to launch November 10th?

According to MediaBoy’s blog, the Amazon video app will launch on Virgin Media TiVo boxes on November 10th. No confirmation yet from Virgin Media.


UPDATE: No sign or word of the Amazon video app on November 10th. There’s some speculation on Cable Forum that it is being delayed until the New Year, possibly to tie in with the roll out of the V6 hardware

November 03, 2016

November 30th for "something unmissable"

Virgin Media has sent out invites to the press for an event on November 30th, which the company says is for "something unmissable". I'd imagine that's going to be the official unveiling of the long awaited V6 4K TiVo box.

Stay tuned, folks

November 01, 2016

New TV Anywhere iOS app reveals V6 capabilities

Virgin Media updates its iOS TV Anywhere app over the weekend and in doing so, gave an early insight into the new TiVo V6 box’s streaming capabilities. If you check out the Help menu, you’ll find this:
ARE ALL RECORDED PROGRAMMES AVAILABLE TO WATCH OR DOWNLOAD ON THE APP?No. Some recorded shows cannot be streamed or downloaded to your mobile or tablet due to rights restrictions. Shows that can be downloaded will have the ‘Download’ button active. Shows that can be watched will have the option to ‘Watch on iPad’ when you select the ‘Watch Now’ button. If these buttons are greyed out then the show cannot be watched or downloaded. There may be some cases where you can stream a recording but not download it. If you cannot watch a show on your mobile or tablet, you will still be able to watch the recording on your TV.
HOW MANY PROGRAMMES CAN BE DOWNLOADED AT ONE TIME?You can download one show at a time. If you want to download more, we’ll pop them in a queue and they’ll start to download when the previous one is complete. When you select a show to be downloaded, you can choose the quality of the download – basic, medium or high. The lower the quality, the faster you can download it.
WILL PROGRAMMES STILL DOWNLOAD IF I CLOSE THE APP?No. You’ll need to keep the app open for the download to complete. If you close the app, the download will be paused. It will continue to download again when you open the app and are connected to your home WiFi.
WILL DOWNLOADS CONTINUE IF MY DEVICE AUTO LOCKS?When you’re downloading a recording, the app will prevent your device from auto locking. It’s a good idea to keep your device plugged into power when downloading though, so it has enough juice to last for the whole download.
HOW CAN I CHECK THE PROGRESS OF A SHOW DOWNLOADING?Go to My Shows and select the ‘On iPad’ or ‘On iPhone’ button in the middle of the screen. You can see the progress bar, MB and time remaining for the download. If the download is paused, you will see a downwards arrow. Just tap this to continue the download. You can press the pause symbol to pause the download
CAN I WATCH A SHOW WHILE IT IS BEING DOWNLOADED?Usually No. If the content provider has restricted the show, you’ll need to wait for the download to finish before you can start watching it. (Find the popcorn and get comfy on the sofa while you wait)
WHERE WILL MY DOWNLOADS APPEAR ONCE THEY’VE COMPLETED?You’ll find them in My Shows in the ‘On iPad’ or ‘On iPhone’ section. There will be an R symbol with a padlock when the download is complete and an egg timer will indicate that the show has been partially watched and will expire soon.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WATCH A DOWNLOADED RECORDING?Once you download a programme you will have a maximum of 30 days to watch it. Once you have started watching a programme you will usually have 48 hours to watch it before it expires. Sometimes expiry times vary between content providers.
HOW MANY TIMES CAN I DOWNLOAD THE SAME PROGRAMME?You can download a programme twice per household. If you download more than this, you’ll see an error message telling you that the show cannot be downloaded again. You can still watch this programme on your TV. The number of times a show can be downloaded can vary between content providers.
CAN I WATCH A LIVE OR ON DEMAND SHOW WHILE A PROGRAMME IS BEING DOWNLOADED?No, you’ll need to download the programme first – or do it later.
HOW MUCH STORAGE SPACE WILL A DOWNLOAD TAKE UP?When you select a programme to download, you can choose the download quality – Basic, Medium or Best. The default is set to Medium.
Based on which quality you select, it will tell you how big the file is before you download it. To give you an idea, an hour show is around 450MB for basic quality and 1 GB for best.
If you don’t have enough space on your device, you’ll see an error message letting you know you’ve run out of space.
SKY CINEMA & SKY SPORTSIf you’re subscribed to Sky Cinema or Sky Sports, you can watch those on your tablet or mobile with the Sky Cinema or Sky Sports app. Just download the apps, then select the Virgin Media logo on the sign-in page, and sign in with your My Virgin Media username and password.
The Sky Cinema and Sky Sports apps are available in the Apple App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and Google Play for Android mobiles and tablets. You can also watch online via the Sky Cinema and Sky Sports websites.
You can find out more about the Sky Cinema and Sky Sports channels here
Other Sky live and on demand channels such as Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Arts, Sky Living, Real Lives, Sky News and Sky Sports News HQ are available to watch on the TV Anywhere app or online, as long as you have them in your Virgin Media TV package.
DO I NEED A WIFI CONNECTION TO USE THE VIRGIN TV ANYWHERE?You need a WiFi connection to be able to watch live TV on the app, but on a 3/4G mobile connection, you can still manage your viewing, set recordings, browse the TV listings, delete recordings and more. To use the app at home as an advanced remote control or to watch or download some recordings (if you have a V6 box), your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch will need to be connected to the same router as your TiVo box.
CAN I USE VIRGIN TV ANYWHERE WHEN THE MY VIRGIN TV BOX IS SWITCHED OFF?If you have a V or V+ Box, you can use the app whether your set top box is on or off.
If you have a TiVo box, your app will still work when the box is in standby. However, it won’t work if it’s switched off. If you have a V6 box, you may also see this message if you’ve got your V6 box switched on but your Hub is switched off.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE OR CHANGE MY IPAD, IPHONE OR IPOD TOUCH?If you lose or change your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, you’ll need to download the app again. You’ll need to register your new one if you want to watch live TV using the app.
If you’ve lost your device, we also recommend changing your My Virgin Media account password. That way no one else can use your device to manage your TiVo box without your authorisation.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE VIDEO QUALITY?For streaming a recording, live or VOD, the app automatically chooses the best quality based on the WiFi connection. The picture quality for downloaded recording can be chosen if you have a V6 box. If you’re still having problems, try chatting with some experts on the Virgin Media Community forum

October 23, 2016

Best solution if your TiVo is running slow

Clear the cache in the memory:

Press HOME

Press Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up, Play Play (in a fairly quick succession)

Screen goes blank for 15 seconds and then things should show an improvement. It's still not exactly "snappy" but it's an improvement. 

(Thanks to Graham Tuffnell for the tip)

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.
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
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 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.”

TiVo update details from Virgin Media

The update, which will see all Virgin Media TiVo boxes updated automatically over the next few weeks, will give the existing box some fresh new features to help search, find and save content on the service.
Virgin Media TV customers will be able to access the programmes they love more easily, with fewer clicks to content and more images. Through a new feature called Series Link+ customers will also be able to pull together more of the TV they love into one place  - from live TV channels, on demand and online services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
David Bouchier, Chief Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said:  “This update gives our box an even more intuitive intelligence while, crucially, retaining many of the familiar features  we know our customers love.  Series Link+ takes the convenience of finding and saving series to the next level by breaking down the divisions between traditional TV and on demand programming. 
“Series Link + will be available to all of our TiVo households, simplifying TV and bringing people closer to the TV they love.  This is yet another example of the work we’re doing upgrading Virgin TV, so keep your eyes peeled for more later this year.”
The main features included in this update are:
  • Smart search – found in on demand and catch up menus right at the top, it requires only the first letter of the programme title and the box does the rest to find the shows you love.
  • Series Link+ - this is all about bringing programmes together, no matter where they sit. By setting a Series Link+ for a particular programme Virgin Media’s TiVo box will not only record the entire series but will also find all of the related episodes available on demand and on platforms such as Netflix. All of these episodes will be put into one handy folder (My Shows) ready to watch whenever.
  • Fewer lists, less text, more images – On demand programmes will now appear as image-based tiles and subtle changes such as changing channel names to channel logos help to improve the functionality and access to the best programmes.
  • Continue watching – for years Virgin Media customers have been able to continue where they left off on their recordings; this feature will now apply to all on demand TV too.
  • Bookmarking – sifting through hours and hours of different boxsets and movies can be a tough task, but saving programmes and movies has now got much easier. Virgin Media customers can easily bookmark any programme whether it’s on normal TV, on demand or on Netflix. These programmes will all be put in a handy folder and in My Shows so that viewers can more easily get to the TV they love.
This update comes as Virgin Media is making significant changes to its TV service this year with an improved user interface, exclusive programming and a new set top box – the V6.

August 14, 2016

Will you be investing in the new Virgin 4k box?

Virgin Media is about to announce its new 4k service to compete with Sky Q and BT. I’ve put a small poll top right to gauge what the appetite for the new TiVo-powered box is. Are you an early adopter or are you more cautious with your cash?
Personally, I have no plans for a 4k TV so unless they’re adding something fantastically compelling to the service (‘liquid’ viewing and cloud recording have been suggested but may be restricted by Rights issues like those we have with TV Anywhere*) then I’ll be a late adopter, if I bother at all. It's all getting a wee bit too expensive for the content we have available.

* Anywhere there’s wifi, that is. A half-arsed service at best when it’s working, which mine currently isn’t...

August 11, 2016

New TiVo box - Virgin TV V6

Picture posted on Virgin Media’s corporate Twitter account today. All they are saying at the moment is that it is ‘powered by TiVo’ and 4K UHD Ready for Netflix and YouTube.
Smaller than the current box (assuming that’s not a giant remote control alongside) but not exactly stunning looks. Certainly NOT a TiVo Bolt then...

August 09, 2016

Sky Sports Mix "coming soon"?

It was announced as a ‘Sky Exclusive’ but there are rumours that Sky Sports Mix will launch on Virgin Media on August 24th at noon, the HD channel appearing 507. It may just be speculation though - the 507 slot was oddly left unused in the recent channel number shuffle - I’ll post here if there’s any official confirmation.

August 04, 2016

New TiVo software rollout underway

Our friendly Virgin Media insider Spiderplant has posted on Cable Forum that the roll-out of the new software started on August 3rd. Preston, Southport and Wearside were the first areas upgraded. Keep an eye on this Cable Forum Update thread for further news.
The main benefits of the update are:
  • Series Link+ which gathers recordings and on demand content together, along with some improved options in how the Series Link+ logic works.
  • Improved On Demand menus which make it easier to find new on demand content.
  • Improvements to the core system and fixes for previous know issues - for instance the Dolby Digital optical issue is now resolved.

August 02, 2016

Sky Sports in Ultra HD launches August 13th

And, no great surprise, it’s exclusive to the new Sky Q platform. There’s an interesting article here about the 4k Sky Sports coverage:

It’s heartening to see that our humble HD service won’t be affected: 
Will the UHD broadcast have a negative impact on Sky’s high-def customers? Steve Smith, director of Sky Sports Productions doesn’t think so, naturally. “The first thing to make sure is the HD picture doesn’t get any worse for subscribers who won’t be using the 4K broadcast. We definitely don’t want to downgrade their experience.”

August 01, 2016

Universal HD and BBC Olympic channels arrive

BBC Olympics channels now available on the EPG:

HD channels 1-8 from 561 to 568.

Universal HD now live on 164.

July 22, 2016

VMHD hits five million pages served!

How about that? Almost ten years old and we’ve now served over five million pages to the great cable viewing public.

Virgin shuffling channel numbers next week

Virgin Media’s shuffling around some of its channel numbers on July 26th. Here are the HD changes:

BBC Four HD moves from 164 to 163 (why they haven’t moved it to the slot vacated by BBC Three SD (106) is beyond me)
Sky Sports 1 HD moves from 502 to 501, and similarly
Sky Sports 2 HD moves to 502
Sky Sports 3 HD moves to 503
Sky Sports 4 HD moves to 504
Sky Sports 5 HD moves to 505
Sky Sports News HD moves to 506
Sky Sports F1 HD moves to 508

Nothing in 507, which could be being left open for possibly Sky Sports Mix HD or whatever else they’ve got up their sleeves to (possibly) justify the cost of the Sky Sports lineup.

July 07, 2016

Ultra HD Sky Cinema on Virgin Media in 2016?

That's what this week's Virgin Media Presents email is promising!

Sky Movies is now Sky Cinema

SPECTRE + Sky Cinema round-up

What do you think of the new look? Welcome to Sky Cinema, the new (and improved) home of Sky Movies. Oh yes, it's had much more than just a name change…
Sky Movies customers can now kick back and enjoy more of the latest blockbusters than any other subscription service. And that's not even the half of it! You'll get a new movie premiere every single day, over 1,000 films to choose from on demand, new and improved HD as standard, sound closer to the cinema… (draw breath)… a chance to broaden your horizons with World Cinema Wednesday and, to give you even more to look forward to, Ultra HD films by the end of the year

July 01, 2016

New Now TV combo deals

Sky has announced the launch this month of new “combo” deals that will compete with Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT and the other multiplay vendors. Here’s the pricing with the Now TV Entertainment package, but you can have it with the Movies and/or Sports collections too:

‘Brilliant Broadband’ is speeds up to 17Mbps, ‘Fab Fibre’ (up to 38Mbps) and ‘Super Fibre’ (up to 76Mbps). Similarly, there are three call package options too. These are the self-explanatory: Pay As You Use package, the Evenings and Weekends option and Anytime Calls.

The cheapest combo comes in at £9.99 plus £17.99 line rental, though if you opt for an Unlimited Brilliant Broadband package, you’ll also need to part with a £40 set-up fee. That rises to £50 for Unlimited Fab Fibre and Unlimited Super Fibre.

One of the biggest attractions is the flexibility to change or cancel the combo whenever you wish, though that doesn’t apply to the 12-month Saver, which removes the setup fee.

Virgin’s list bundles are:

June 30, 2016

New Now TV box

The new Now TV Smart Box will be available as a standalone purchase for £40 from early July. That’s quite a price hike, but I think it’s still excellent value.

The new Now TV Smart Box is larger and slimmer than the current Now TV box, measuring 165 x 165 x 20.5mm (HWD), weighing 432g, it’s gloss black with the Now TV branding in blue. I think the logo that makes it look a bit cheap but that’s probably just me.

Sky has added a Freeview tuner to the box so it’s equipped with a digital aerial socket, alongside an HDMI out to connect to your TV. It has 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound over HDMI, but the video output is limited to 1080p full HD and the NowTV service is currently limited to 720p. Given that Sky’s regular satellite service is only 1080i, I’d expect it not to go up to full HD until Sky launches its 4K TV services. Other connections include an Ethernet port for a wired internet connection - the box does also have built-in wi-fi - a microSD card slot, and a USB connection for viewing media on external devices.

So not all the rumours were true. No 4k (never likely, despite the fact that it’s competing with Amazon and Netflix) and no built-in hard drive (and you can’t connect an external one), so there’s no option to record. However, you can pause live TV and rewind programmes by up to 30 minutes.

I'll do a separate post about the new Now TV Combo bundles that offer a combined Sky phone and Broadband package that make this a very real alternative to Virgin Media and the aging TiVo box.

June 19, 2016

TiVo Apps - the verdict

I ran a poll on this blog last week regarding the Apps on TiVo and I must say that the results probably aren’t a great surprise. Over half of the 280 respondents said that they never used the Apps, whilst a further third said they used them rarely. In fact, only 6% said they used them regularly, and I’m guessing that would be Netflix, iPlayer or Spotify (the first two might not be considered ‘Apps’ by most as they can be accessed without going into the Applications menus).
Not surprising though, given how shockingly poor the Apps are.

June 16, 2016


I normally try to keep this site on topic, but this week I’ve just published my first novel so I hope you don’t mind me just dropping a little ad on the right here for When She Was Bad, which is available on Amazon.

June 15, 2016

Sky Movies becomes Sky Cinema, and HD as standard from July 8th

Sky Movies is being replaced by Sky Cinema to give customers "even more of the biggest and best movies closer to cinema release than any other subscription service."
Launching on July 8th, Sky Cinema customers will receive a new movie premiere every day, more on demand films, pop up channels as well as better HD picture and sound quality. All of these extras are designed to take them "closer to the cinema experience," according to Sky.
Among the first films featuring on Sky Cinema in July are Spectre, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Ant-Man. In August, The Martian, Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens and The Man from U.N.C.L.E will be added.
And here's the important bit for us: Sky Cinema will be available at no extra cost to existing and new subscribers. This includes customers who currently access Sky Movies on NOW TV, BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.
HD content will be offered as standard to all Sky Cinema customers on the Sky and Virgin Media platforms.

June 14, 2016

TiVo speed improvements

I haven’t had the new update to the TiVo in my area yet (it’s still being tested in only a few areas) but this quick post from Jobbie8 at Cable Forum suggests it’s going to be worth the wait:
I’ve just had the new software update this week, the TiVos are so fast now, almost instant page loading and page up and down in TV Guide.
There’s also the suggestion on the same thread that resetting your Thumbs Up/Down in Settings can improve the speed of your box. I haven’t tried this but that would explain why one of my TiVos, which has lots of ‘Thumbs’ is notably slower than the other (which has none).

June 11, 2016

TiVo apps poll

The quiet announcement that the Spotify app is disappearing with the new TiVo software update is the latest step in the demise of the disappointing tale of the TiVo app. Do any of them work anymore? Has anyone got the patience to use the TiVo's cumbersome YouTube or BBC iPlayer sloths? They're either broken or unusably slow these days, which makes me wonder if anyone actually uses them. I've set up a poll (top right) to see what you think. Let me know.

June 09, 2016

Spotify leaves TiVo

Virgin Media chap Spiderplant has confirmed that the Spotify app on TiVo is no more.
“We’re sorry, the Spotify app is no longer available on Virgin TV. To carry on enjoying your Spotify subscription you can head online to
If you have your Spotify subscription through Virgin Media you’re still able to enjoy your full Spotify service across any of your other devices.”
It was not a great App (if I called it ‘weak’ I’d be being generous) but it’s another lost service for VM customers that I know people used. Originally it had all kinds of problems and I stopped using it when I found that I had to type in my email and password every single time I used it.
The NowTV box Spotify App is better, and even better are the desktop and mobile applications Apps which you can connect to Bluetooth speakers with.

June 07, 2016

TiVo to quit its US hardware business?

Tivo’s new management has suggested that it might get out of box retailing in the US and focus on software and services.
New owner Rovi’s chief financial officer Peter Halt’ said in an SEC presentation:
“What the consumer channel gives TiVo is a direct contact with the consumer and a very passionate loyal audience that gives them direct feedback, but being in the hardware business isn’t something that necessarily excites us.”
Instead, Halt suggests that deals with box-builders could be on the cards. “There are several box providers out there who are direct-to-retail. We’ll be looking at the possibilities of working with them, having them control the box.
“And while that would be a partnership and we wouldn’t get all the sales as a result, we think that’s probably a better way to approach the consumer space.”
Such a deal would maintain a presence in the consumer market, without the company having to continue designing and building its own hardware.
That would leave Rovi/TiVo focussing on its search capability and Tivo’s recommendation engine, which by the look of recent Virgin Media statements will be running on Liberty Global’s Horizon hardware in the UK before too long.

June 06, 2016

Now TV On Demand issue with episode 7 of Game of Thrones

Now TV users: if you’re trying to watch episode 7 of Game of Thrones on Monday evening, you’re probably having little luck as there’s something seriously at fault at stately NowTV manor. There is a workaround though: try playing the previous episode, fast forwarding to near the end and then click Play Next episode.
(Or, like me, give up with your legal box tonight and use naughty means to download it. You try to stick to being good but sometimes the buggers just won’t let you...)

June 01, 2016

New on Netflix in June

Lots of new stuff this month, including the first seasons of two great BBC series The Detectorists and Happy Valley
Full details on Vodzilla.

May 21, 2016

Virgin Media to stop ability to buy Sky Sports 1 or 2 on their own from June

From Recompu:
[Virgin Media] is getting rid of the option to add individual Sky Sports channels to a Virgin TV package, forcing customers to opt for a bundle of channels instead.
Currently you can take Sky Sports 1, home of Sky’s Premier League football coverage, or Sky Sports 2 for £21.50/month extra. This is cheaper than going for the Sky Sports Collection - which gives you Sky Sports 1-5 plus Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News HQ - for £29.25/month.

Virgin TV packages start at £20/month on their own, with no line rental needed. This means at the very least, you’ll be paying £51.75/month at the very least if you want to watch Sky Sports on Virgin TV.

May 11, 2016

The end of the TiVo STB is nigh?
Liberty Global to create single advanced set-top for all EuropeLiberty Global is to consolidate its next-generation set-top platforms, including ultimately that of Virgin Media in the UK, as part of a project dubbed ‘Eos’ by the company.
Eos is in turn part of the wider strategic plan, formerly known as ‘Liberty 3.0’ and now, according to president and CEO Mike Fries, to be known as Liberty Go. This will see the company reduce costs across the board through, among other things, common technology platforms, and build revenue through marketing advanced services.
Speaking to analysts as Liberty Global reported strong first quarter results yesterday, Fries described Eos as “a set-top we plan to roll out everywhere at some point, including in that market [the UK]”.
Virgin Media announced yesterday that it planned to roll out a new 4K-ready box that will be based on its existing TiVo platform. Speaking on the analyst call, Liberty’s chief technology officer Balan Nair said that this would be a “pretty high-powered box that will get a refreshed TiVo UI on it later this year” but added that “our goal is to get Horizon across all of Europe” ultimately, referring to the advanced set-top platform already in use in multiple Liberty Global markets. He said that Eos would be the “engine for next generation video” for the company.
Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge, also on the call, said that the TiVo-based box would “give us a lot more functionality for our customers” and enable the operator to remain competitive with Sky. The latter has recently launched its own high-end box, Sky Q.
Mockridge said that Eos would be “a big part” of the company’s plan to improve its TV offering in the future.
Earlier on the call, Fries described Eos as a “project name for our cloud-based set-top box” that would be “trialing later this year” and would be “faster, cheaper and provide more functionality than today’s Horizon box”.
He said that Liberty’s new Wi-Fi router, the Connect Box, which is now available in multiple European markets, “sets us even further apart from the competition” by providing up to 1Gbps across in-home networks. “This is a big issue,” he said. “When you’ve driven average customer speeds up to 100Mbps but you don’t control the in-home WiFi router, customers complain.”
Touching on the broader Liberty Go project, Fries said that this would encompass measures to increase revenue as well as trim costs, with about 60% of the value creation coming from the revenue side. On the cost side, the company is centralising elements of its operation including product development, core network management, IT and its supply chain, including consolidation of its customer care operations.
Increasing revenue will be based on upping prices thanks to new products based on Horizon, WiFi and faster broadband speeds. The company is targeting building out to seven million new homes over three years, having added 210,000 new build homes in the first quarter.

May 10, 2016

Virgin confirms new 4k box for 2016 to What Hi-Fi

Virgin Media has confirmed a 4K set-top box is in development and due for release in 2016. A spokesman told What Hi-Fi?: “There will be a new set-top box coming later this year, and it will support Ultra High Definition video.
“Before that we will be updating the existing TiVO set-top box to make its menus slicker and more picture-based.”
The recent Telegraph article suggests that Virgin is preparing on an upgrade to its existing series link feature that will include on-demand programmes from Netflix and other sources.
What Hi-Fi adds that “The new Virgin 4K box is expected to offer a similar ability to Sky Q, allowing users to start watching a programme on a TV in one room, and then continue watching on a smartphone or tablet elsewhere.”
But will the new box be a TiVo or the LG standard Horizon beastie?

May 07, 2016

Virgin expands network and is planning to introduce fibre to the premises

Virgin Media has committed to provide fibre-to-the-premises to at least a quarter of the four million new homes and businesses being added to its network as part of its Project Lightning investment.

Virgin Media has said it will connect a total of 17 million premises to its network by 2019. The operator said the move would make it the largest wholly fibre broadband network in the country.

The operator has already begun rolling out FTTP in Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire, with work expected to begin soon in West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex. Virgin Media issuing new techniques including ‘narrow trenching to deploy fibre at lower cost and with greater speed than has hitherto been the case.

“While some companies talk a good game, Virgin Media is putting its money where its mouth is and laying fibre to the premise alongside our superior HFC network – delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds,” said CEO Tom Mockridge.

“In just over one year we’ve laid enough new cable to stretch all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats, reaching a quarter of a million more homes and businesses – and there’s much more to come.”

May 03, 2016

Rovi Acquires TiVo

Press Release from April 29th 2016

  • Two of the industry’s most influential players join forces to transform media and entertainment technology 
  • Best-in-class products and services to capitalize on evolving entertainment marketplace 
  • Combined IP portfolios of over 6,000 issued patents and pending applications $100 million in annual cost synergies – accretive to Rovi’s Non-GAAP EPS within the first 12 months 
  • Adopting “TiVo” as new company name 

Rovi Corporation (NASDAQ: ROVI) and TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO) today announced that Rovi will acquire TiVo for $10.70 per share in cash and stock for total consideration of approximately $1.1 billion.
The new company combines two media and entertainment technology innovators with complementary products, services, and intellectual property assets and a common mission to write the next chapter of the consumer entertainment experience.
The company will continue to be led by Tom Carson and upon closing of the transaction will adopt the iconic TiVo brand as the new company name.
“Rovi’s acquisition of TiVo, with its innovative products, talented team, and substantial intellectual property portfolio, strengthens Rovi’s position as a global leader in media discovery, metadata, analytics, and IP licensing,” said Tom Carson, CEO of Rovi. “It’s an exciting time as the media and entertainment landscape undergoes a significant evolution. The combined capabilities of TiVo and Rovi place us in a tremendous position to extend services across platforms and to a customer base that includes traditional, over-the-top and emerging players across the globe. By working together, Rovi and TiVo will revolutionize how consumers experience media and entertainment and at the same time build value for our stockholders.”
“We’re proud of TiVo’s strong innovation history and of the ongoing efforts of our team to provide best-in-class products for our loyal consumer and service provider customers,” said Naveen Chopra, Interim CEO and CFO of TiVo. “This transaction is the culmination of those efforts and the logical next step for TiVo. In joining forces with Rovi, our customers, employees and stockholders will benefit from being part of a more diversified industry leader with significantly greater market opportunities. Our combination creates a more influential global player with a commitment to product innovation, which will be incredibly well positioned to redefine television.”

Full press release here

April 29, 2016

Virgin doing the okey cokey with UKTV

According to the Telegraph, Virgin Media is weighing a bid for the BBC’s stake in UKTV. It’s only a few years ago that Virgin sold its stake in the company, a legacy from its Telewest heritage, in order to get out of the content game. Now it’s looking to dive back in as David Bouchier, the company’s television chief, said it would “absolutely” be able to take on the 50pc stake in a joint venture with the US media group Scripps.

April 27, 2016

HDR television explained

I've just come across an article at What Hi-Fi that explains the science and benefits of HDR (High Dynamic Range) television:
Every few years, manufacturers come up with a whole bunch of new tech, most of which has a confusing acronym. UHD and 4K. HDCP. OLED. And those are just the first few that come to mind.
The latest? HDR. But what is it and why it will make your TV picture look better than ever? Read on for all you need to know about HDR TV technology...


April 25, 2016

New TiVo boxes delayed until 2017

According to an article in Sunday’s Telegraph, we’re not going to see the new TiVo hardware until next year:
At the turn of the year Virgin Media will launch a new set-top box to rival Sky Q, with ultra-high-definition pictures and a similar ability to sling programmes to tablets and smartphones around the home. Beyond that, there will be a major overhaul of the ageing plumbing that powers Virgin Media’s broadcasting, to allow it to shift to Liberty Global’s next generation distribution system, Horizon, which is already in use elsewhere in Europe.
That’s disappointing to say the least as the initial rumours were of a new TiVo for this summer’s Olympics.
Whilst I appreciate that there may be considerable challenges in rolling out new equipment to the cable network Sky’s Q technology has hardly been a trade secret, and Virgin/Liberty aren’t really in a position to give Sky a year’s head start on modern technology and retain customers.
The Telegraph article also talks about ‘making the pipes sing with content’, which is a poetic turn of phrase but pretty meaningless when a subscription to NowTV Entertainment delivers more compelling content (Sky Atlantic, ITV Encore, etc) and better curated box sets for £6.99 a month on a cracking little badged Roku box that costs £14.99, less than Virgin’s hard sold monthly fixed phone line cost.
With Q stealing away VM’s last remaining high end customers and NowTV and BT luring the core middle of the TV market the Virgin television business is relying on the apathy of customers reluctant to change suppliers rather than any compelling USP to keep us on board.
Virgin’s answer, according to Chief Digital Entertainment Officer David Bouchier, is to go back to the content market again. But in returning to that particular table Virgin will find only slim pickings indeed as Sky has tied up the US networks HBO and ShowCase whilst BT has AMC. Throw in the competition for programming from a rejuvenated Five (now owned by Discovery) and the occasional big US swoop by Channel 4 and there’s precious little left worth talking about.
Virgin does have Netflix of course, but today’s smart TVs deliver over the top services much slicker than the TiVo, and often have the Amazon Prime network available too. There’s no mention of Amazon coming to the TiVo these days, which means the odd underwhelming pick up like Kingdom and Ash vs Evil Dead are hardly going to sustain existing customers or attract new ones.
It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs. Although the Telegraph can run some puff about how efficient Liberty Global is with it’s economies behind the scenes it can’t really hide the reality of a TV offering that has lacked the necessary vision, attention and investment for far too long, a typical example of a media company that’s been run by accountants who have turned a blind eye to the opportunities of today’s technology and compelling content.
Jam tomorrow maybe whilst raising prices today? Who is gullible enough to fall for that?

April 19, 2016

Yet another price rise for Virgin Media customers

From the Community Forums:

We’re raising our prices because Sky is increasing their cost to us
Sky has increased the cost for Sky Movies and Sky Sports to their customers including us, and unfortunately this means we’re having to pass on the increase to our customers too, from June 1st 2016.
This way we can continue to show you all the best sport and movie channels in HD and over 1000 movies on demand.
We’re campaigning for a fairer deal for fans
The way live Premier League rights are sold is continuing to drive up the price for broadcasting live games. We’re campaigning for #moreballs, so we’ve asked the regulator Ofcom to look into the way TV rights are auctioned, to secure more games and a better deal for UK football fans. Currently, an element of these price rises eventually ends up hitting the pockets of fans.
Whilst we don’t agree with the bidding system, the customer is the most important focus for Virgin Media. Throughout 2016, we will continue to increase both the sports and entertainment content on Virgin Media TV.
We’re bringing you an unmissable sports and movies line-up
More Premier League action than ever next season – exclusive live coverage of every available game whether on BT or Sky (including 126 games in total on Sky Sports, 10 more than this season), plus all the new Friday Night football and Super Sunday action.
Exclusive live coverage of all the golf majors from Sky Sports, the new home of golf – including The Open at Royal Troon for the first time, plus all the play from The Ryder Cup, the European Tour and PGA Tour.
Every practice, qualifying and race in the Formula One™ calendar – with more than half of them shown exclusively live on Sky Sports.
More of the latest blockbusters – five new premieres a week on Sky Movies, many shown 12 months before online subscription services, so get ready for Jurassic World, Ricki and the Flash, Hot Pursuit and loads more.
Exclusive pop-up channels and movie seasons – so you can enjoy the greatest collections of Hollywood hits, with the likes of Sky Movies May the 4th Be With You and Queens of Comedy.
So, more balls (to use VM’s own phrase) from Virgin and Sky. Sky satellite customers are getting a similar hike, too, but I’ve not seen anything announced yet for Now customers. Sky Q customers are getting a hike on that service too, just weeks after it started shipping to paying customers.

Interesting that the VM announcement, currently tucked away in their Community Boards, doesn’t mention how much the increase is. I hear it’s £2.50 a month, which is on top of the increase we all saw earlier this year.
Bloody hell.