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.
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.
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About as close as you can get..
would most likely be the PS3.
Freeview Inc PVR (PlayTV)
PSN Video Store
Not bad for 1 box that's £180.
"unfrorgiveably unusably awful crap boxes from Virgin"??
Think you're a bit out of date - the Samsung V+HD box I've got is works fine and I personally think is better than Sky's offering.. I am considering upgrading to the Tivo though as it has more storage space and more than a weeks tv guide (the only 2 things I find a pain sometimes)..
For an answer to your question
I used to have Virgin...
But then I had 4 outages, lasting 5-8 days each, in the space of one month, I was left without television from 20th December until 6th January, no refund, even after a letter to the boss, so I cancelled my subscription, and have been telly-less for two years, and I love it. Okay, I have reasonable broadband, so there is iPlayer and other services, but I
Like everything else with Virgin, when it works it's very very good, but when it's bad, it's horrid.
"The UI is maybe a bit slow ( but not as much as you say)"
Yes, yes it is as slow as I say. I know because I spent a frustrating time trying to set up recording for WSB by searching for "motorsport" under the "TV Channels"
"You can't watch LiveTV while searching OnDemand (Probably a marketing decision rather than a technical one)"
Yes, I know this and I really don't care why it is that way; it's a PITA and affects my experience as a user.
"You can't hide Unsubscribed channels - So what? If you're on the V+ package you probably have XL anyway."
I can't view them and I don't want to have them cluttering up the guide, that's why.
"Why would you need to use Ethernet and USB? The software has no function for that - the recordings are encrypted for a reason."
You assumed I want to lift media off the V+ box and you assume wrong. I want to view media I already have on my network. The V+ box is running on a Linux distro, including "smbfs" would have been a snap.
"Have you heard of a Wireless Router? Never trust bundled routers."
I'll agree on that, I'm using the bundled one at the moment but considering buying another one and chucking DD-WRT on it.
Most of the above will be moot once I get around to setting up Myth with Freesat. The V+ box will either be returned or can just gather dust.