Virgin Trains launches free on-board on-demand service
James R | On 06, Jun 2016
Virgin Trains has launched a new on-demand service, providing on-board entertainment to passengers for free.
Called BEAM, the app will stream 200 hours of films and TV episodes, plus magazines and games, directly to customers’ own devices.
The BEAM system, which is available now on all Virgin Pendolino services on the West Coast route, is complimentary to all Virgin Trains customers and compatible with both Apple and Android devices (a browser version is on the way soon for laptops and other devices).
Content includes a selection of old and new films, such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bridesmaids, Theory of Everything and Despicable Me 2 as well as a mix of popular box sets and TV series from the BBC’s House of Cards and Poldark to Sky’s Fortitude.
To keep the kids busy, BEAM will have a separate section for children, playing popular TV shows like Peppa Pig, Ben 10 and Horrible Histories. A selection of leading magazines will also be available, including Newsweek, Men’s Health, Top Gear, Total Film, Hello, Grazia, Living Etc., Ideal Home and Marie Claire.
The service, developed in conjunction with GoMedia, will refresh its library every month, with two movies added every month, TV shows updated every six months and the magazine collection updated regularly to offer the latest issues. And if a customer reaches their destination before the end of their film, BEAM will remember where it left off, allowing customers to resume viewing on the return leg.
Patrick McCall, Co-Chairman for Virgin Trains, says: “The new BEAM app will make our passengers’ journeys fly by, feeling like they’ve arrived at their destinations before they know it. We’ve worked really hard to provide a fantastic range of entertainment to cater to all of our customers’ tastes and are really proud to offer this service that is the first of its kind to the train industry.”
“The new service is more advanced than the systems currently available on planes,” he adds, “as customers use their own devices, which normally have larger screens with better picture quality than standard seat-back devices.”
Indeed, the travel entertainment industry is gradually shifting from seat-back devices to individual devices, with airlines such as Norwegian offer similar services, but on a pay-per-view basis.
90 per cent of Virgin Trains passengers on the West Coast Mainline will have access to the service from today. BEAM will arrive on East Coast services from this week and then roll out across all Virgin Voyager services by September 2016.
The only catch? While the entertainment streams from Virgin’s on-board server (not requiring any data), you’ll need an Internet connection to get the app. Free Wi-Fi is being rolled out during 2016 across Virgin Trains managed stations on the East Coast route, but you will need to download BEAM before you get on a Virgin train.