Feeds

BT vs Sky vs Virgin

Top pay-telly providers go head to head

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Next page: Telly Phone

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi
These are the movement detection devices you're looking for
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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?