Feeds

BT vs Sky vs Virgin

Top pay-telly providers go head to head

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Going Underground

Virgin Media's fibre optic cable TV is available to about half the population, being concentrated on bigger towns and cities. Virgin Media is also testing fibre over telegraph poles for less populous regions.

Virgin Media TiVo box

Standard monthly prices are £6.50 for the M+ package (65 channels), £12.50 for L (100 channels) and £24.50 for XL (160 channels). There are six HD channels in the M+ and L packages (from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and FilmFour) and 17 in XL. The full line-up is here. Some catch-up and on-demand content is HD.

Premium Sky Sports and Movies channels range from an extra £14.50 a month to £29.50 for a bundle, plus another £7 for their HD versions. FilmFlex has 500 new and classic movies on demand ranging from 99p to £4.99. TV Choice is free to XL subscribers and includes various series collected in ‘boxed sets’. There’s no 3D channel but movies such as Step Up and Joe Dante’s The Hole were on-demand as of March 2011. Subscriptions cost more if you don’t take a Virgin phone line but there are often introductory offers too.

There are three types of box: the V-box is HD/3D ready and it can be used without a pay-TV subscription. There’s an optional £49.95 one-off charge to ‘activate’ HD. It cannot record but accesses catch-up and on-demand (free or pay-per-view). The V+HD box is the entry-level digital video recorder (DVR), offering 160GB (80 hours of SD telly). The £49.95 HD activation charge is mandatory and there’s a £5 monthly service charge unless you take XL. The TiVo-powered DVR is a new premium option, costing £199 upfront, excluding installation, and £3 extra on top of the required XL subscription – but look out for future promotions.

The TiVo has a 1TB hard drive and ‘time travelling' programme guide to scour upcoming schedules or delve into last week for catch-up broadcasts. It has extensive searches by title, keyword, genre, actors or directors. Personalised searches are stored in wishlists, for example, to always record anything directed by Danny Boyle or starring Jeff Bridges. It also learns what you like and suggests other things. TiVo has its own 10Mbps internal modem and a separate subnet to avoid congesting your broadband speed.

Virgin has an on-line Media Player – less comprehensive than Sky’s – and a version for mobiles.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Telly Phone

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.