In August, Virgin Media announced a new 200Mbps broadband plan "designed specifically for gamers". A few weeks ago, it became the last major mobile service provider in the UK to launch 4G services, with monthly data rollover and free data for WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Today, the company has made a further announcement, focusing on customers of its TV service.
Virgin Media is one of the UK's few 'quad-play' service providers, offering TV, broadband, landline phone and mobile services. It's now boosting its TV offering with the launch of the "powerful new V6 box".
Its styling may be something of an acquired taste, and without a frame of reference, the V6 might well appear massive at first glance. But Virgin Media says it's the company's "smallest, smartest and fastest box ever. It's got 10x more processing power than our current box and it's half the size."
Perhaps the most significant feature of the box isn't its design, but the fact that it supports 4K resolution, allowing users to watch Ultra HD content, including 4K streaming via the Netflix and YouTube apps.
It has 1TB of storage, which Virgin says will let users record around 500 hours at standard definition, or 100 hours of HD. Additionally, you can record six programmes simultaneously while you watch or stream another, as well as being able to pause a programme in one room, and continue watching elsewhere on another box, or through the Virgin TV Anywhere app. Virgin also says that you'll be able to stream "selected recordings" from the box to a mobile or tablet.
Virgin added that it's made "simple changes" to the interface on its TV box, making it easier to find content. It's also promising further additions to its TV offering in the coming months:
- In December, it will launch the Virgin Media Store, "a digital locker where you can buy and keep movies, and get top TV shows"
- In early 2017, it will release a new ad-free Virgin Media Kids app with thousands of hours of content from the BBC, Cartoonito and others, including popular shows like Sesame Street
Finally, it also announced the new 14-inch TellyTablet, describing it as "a personal smart TV - designed and built to watch the best TV in HD quality around the home". The Android tablet has two USB ports, and Virgin says it "can be used as an extra monitor if your laptop is compatible".
The new V6 box will be available to existing customers on a Mix or higher bundle from December, and to new customers from January. Customers on a Full House or VIP bundle will be able to get the box for a one-off payment of £49.95 for a limited time; those on other bundles will have to pay £99.95.
As for the TellyTablet, Virgin Media says it will be included it as part of its Freestyle plan, or customers can choose to purchase it for £299 upfront.