Virgin TV launches revamped box
James R | On 02, Dec 2016
Virgin TV has launched a revamped set top box that brings streaming and on-demand viewing to the heart of Virgin Media’s TV service.
The new V6 box, which is powered by TiVo software and built for apps, is 4K-ready, supporting Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV with Netflix and YouTube, with more programming coming soon. The 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 V6 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. It allows people to record six programmes while watching a seventh recording or stream from services, such as iPlayer or Netflix. This increases to 12 simultaneous recordings, if customers buy two boxes. Each box comes with 1TB of storage, allowing 500 hours of SD recordings or 100 hours of HD recordings.
Watching live TV, on-demand programmes or recordings is also being expanded around the home, with the V2 designed so that recordings can be accessed and streamed on other TiVo boxes around the home. Indeed, the new box is completely compatible with Virgin Media’s original TiVo box, which means that existing Virgin Media 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 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.
The new 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, with a standard price of £99.95 upfront. New and existing customers with a top-tier Full House or VIP bundle will be able to buy it at a promotional price of £49.95.
The V6 marks Virgin’s continuing commitment to its on-demand and streaming catalogue. In the last year, Virgin has stepped up its TV exclusives for on-demand viewing through its TiVo boxes, from Ash vs Evil Dead and gritty MMA drama Kingdom to Starz’s Magic City. These are available to Virgin TV Full House subscribers, and will soon be joined by TV rom-com Billy and Billie, which centres around two step-siblings who enter into a romance. Written by Neil LaBute (In The Company Of Men), starring Adam Brody (The O.C.) and produced for DirecTV, Season 1 is now available through Virgin Media boxes.
This comes alongside the integration of Netflix and iPlayer into the Virgin TV platform.
Next February, Virgin Media is also launching Virgin Media Store, which will allow customers to buy and download movies and TV box sets. The digital store will be available on Virgin TV V6 and TiVo boxes, desktop and a Virgin Media Store app for iOS and Android. Taking a leaf from Sky’s popular Sky Store, a DVD copy of any movie purchase from Virgin Media Store will be automatically put in the post for keeps. The streaming service will launch in February and will be available for non-Virgin Media customers on desktop and mobile.
David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, says: “At the core of Virgin TV is immersive, gripping and entertaining programming. Our Exclusives have quickly become the most watched on demand programmes on Virgin TV proving that partnering with the very best is what our customers love.”
“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,” he adds.