Virgin media launches "next generation" platform

Virgin media, the third-largest media provider in the UK, announced today that they are launching a new generation entertainment platform which takes video-on-demand one step further.

The new platform combines a TiVo with internet broadband which will ultimately bring a completely different user experience to your living room.

Content will be delivered using a 10 mbps cable broadband modem which is built into the video recorder which is plentiful to stream video from sites such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer. Additionally, the TiVo comes with 1TB of storage to store all of your media needs.

The idea behind the platform is that you can access content you couldn’t access otherwise – for instance, access to BBC iPlayer, YouTube, eBay, Twitter and even Facebook. The list will continue to grow as newer applications are built using a platform built around Adobe Flash.

As expected, the pricing for this package doesn’t come cheap with the TiVo box alone costing £199 and with a £40 installation fee the price soon starts to rack up. You can also purchase a XL TiVo package which costs £26.50 per month with a Virgin phone line, although it includes over 160 channels.

Cindy Rose, Executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin said "This is a landmark moment in the UK's digital revolution and vividly illustrates how Virgin Media is the only company who can provide the ultimate digital lifestyle,” She later said “We're really excited to bring our customers what is just the first of successive generations of transformational services based on this unique TiVo-powered platform,"

The platform will begin rolling out in mid-December. It will be interesting to see how many of these are sold over the Christmas period.

Image credit: Virgin Media

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29 Comments

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How is this different to my Virgin HD+ box that I have now. Except it has a bigger hard drive. Maybe its easier for them to produce apps for it but as an end user I don't really care.

It is expensive. Especially just to get access to things that you get free elsewhere (PC, iPlayer on Wii etc). I'm looking forward to YouView more (http://www.youview.com/). That seems a lot more open and will be a lot cheaper as it is essentially freeview with an internet connection

Dont be watching iplayer or youtube all day, as youll probably get throttled!!!..

Hardly revolutionary, but would be god if the box would become a network streamer/router so you could pipe contnet around your home network.. dont this would happen, so thanks.. but no thanks!!

Ive already got mini atom based pcs connected to my tv's, so this doesnt interest me at all.. I would however appreciate a reduction in the standard V+ prices though :-) but thats not likely to happen either...lol!!

Cox cable in the USA launched this already a few months back... full access to their OnDemand library via IPTV on their network over a Tivo Premier box and it didn't use your internet connection for it, it used a dedicated IP connection on their network that was seperate from the internet connection

Fact is for me, I had Virgin and i know what they are like.
Bell cable media taken over by NTL taken over by Virgin media, it wasn't until Virgin that i realised how bad service could be. No end of problems, first time I have ever had to call a support line and it was a complete waste of time on a number of occasions, and all their fault. After 11 years with a great service I switched within 12 months to Sky. Im sure Sky will be no better in the long run but it would take a lot for me to ever go back to Virgin.

I wish I could get cable in my street. I hate Sky and there Sky+ service, while a great idea on paper is poorly implemented. Virgin Media cable TV is far superior.

Looks ok but why don't they hurry up with the upload increases. They have done a lot so far but there is a massive gap between now and June where only a few places are getting the upgrade. Most places aren't being upgraded until June-August.

Lets guess they are going to roll out 100MB download in between ? Who cares about the download 50MB in enough.

Gaffney said,
Looks ok but why don't they hurry up with the upload increases. They have done a lot so far but there is a massive gap between now and June where only a few places are getting the upgrade. Most places aren't being upgraded until June-August.

Lets guess they are going to roll out 100MB download in between ? Who cares about the download 50MB in enough.

The upload increases are already out.

Gaffney said,
Looks ok but why don't they hurry up with the upload increases. They have done a lot so far but there is a massive gap between now and June where only a few places are getting the upgrade. Most places aren't being upgraded until June-August.

The usual reason why virgin take so long with these types of upgrades is they do each segment of the network, and monitor it for a while to make sure there aren't any people who're abusing the service. of course there are going to be people who test ride the new upload speeds but as soon as that levels out and they know there aren't several people on the same ubr kicking the arse out of the upstream, they can move on to the next segment of the network.

They learnt, and still fail at times even now, that doing a mass upgrade and then 'flipping' the switch for everyone dosen't work. Last time they tried it, it pretty much killed the network for months due to bad balance of the the network with bandwidth heavy subscribers.

I used to be on virgin media, and had to change to bt when I moved last year, after trying both I prefer cable by far.

nevann said,
What's a TiVo?

It's a relatively high end (comapring to the usual junk boxes cable companies give you) cable box that is also a digital video recorder

I dont understand how they can offer this when my 10mbs Virgin line is limited to 256kbs and cant even stream iPlayer or Youtube.

Virgin are one of the worst companies out there and I cannot warn you enough about how bad they are. Dont respond to complaints, raise prices 1 month into contract and limit internet speeds on all of their packages when they decide you have had enough internet for the day.

I hope this fails.

shadowmatt said,
I dont understand how they can offer this when my 10mbs Virgin line is limited to 256kbs and cant even stream iPlayer or Youtube.

Virgin are one of the worst companies out there and I cannot warn you enough about how bad they are. Dont respond to complaints, raise prices 1 month into contract and limit internet speeds on all of their packages when they decide you have had enough internet for the day.

I hope this fails.

That`s pretty naff, when i was on the 10Mb package my speeds where pretty much allways bob on no matter what time or how many ISO`s i`d downloaded. Try cableforum.co.uk quite a few Virgin staff go on there so maybe than could help work out why your connection is so slow. Do you have fibre optic or is is it ADSL?

shadowmatt said,
I dont understand how they can offer this when my 10mbs Virgin line is limited to 256kbs and cant even stream iPlayer or Youtube.

Cable modems are configured with a config from head end, the modem address is then monitored for bandwidth allowance via your UBR. Its simple enough for virgin to set all these tvio boxes onto a alternate 10MB config file then you use for your computer's broadband.

shadowmatt said,
I dont understand how they can offer this when my 10mbs Virgin line is limited to 256kbs and cant even stream iPlayer or Youtube.

Because it's a dedicated 10mbps line, seperate from the user's Internet connection, and not subject to the same traffic management.

Another hideous box.

Tivo might be cool though.

They seem to be launching with a two tuner version then later, a three tuner version. Having Sky+, two tuners really isn't enough sometimes.

OceanMotion said,

They seem to be launching with a two tuner version then later, a three tuner version. Having Sky+, two tuners really isn't enough sometimes.

The hardware for 3 tuners is built in, as the box was specially built by Cisco. There's development on the go to enable the 3rd tuner by a software update in early 2011.

Left Virgin for Sky around 8 months ago for the simple reason they seem to like to shaft existing customers at the expense of new ones. May move back once the 12 month contract with Sky is up and will no doubt get a much better deal. May even look into getting one of these if the price drops a bit or they do any `deals`.
Virgin teaser http://tivo.virginmedia.com

StevenNT said,
Well you could have spoken to Virgin Media retentions department to get a better deal. Does work it seems.

Didn`t for me, they wouldn`t give us a HD box and still came out a fair bit dearer!