July 20, 2018

Five HD channels going, six arriving

HD channels that will disappear on Sunday with the departure of the UKTV channels from Virgin Media:
  • W HD (191)
  • Dave HD (194)
  • Alibi HD (200)
  • Eden HD (249)
  • Good Food HD (280)
New HD channels arriving are:
  • Paramount Network HD (124)
  • Premier Sports (127 - subscription free for two months)
  • Quest HD (194)
  • C&I HD (200)
  • History HD (245)
  • Love Nature HD (247)
I'll miss Eden HD, which was a regular destination in our house.
That's five gone, six incoming. There are more SD channels going and arriving - get the full list of arrivals here: https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/News/UKTV-Channels-List/ba-p/3775318
It's interesting to note that the two sides in the dispute can't even agree as to the reason for the channels departing. Virgin waffle on about the On Demand rights not being available but UKTV point to Virgin offering a lower price for the channels. I suspect the truth is somewhere between the two. I also think this could be a big problem for both companies if the dispute rumbles on into the autumn - maybe we will see a speedy resolution and then we'll have some additional HD channels as well as old favourites returning?

July 19, 2018

July 11, 2018

BT Sport 4k UHD on Virgin Media from July 30th

A new multi-year agreement will make BT’s 4K channel available to Virgin TV Full House and VIP bundle customers at no extra cost, from July 30th.
Virgin and BT’s partnership has been extended in a multi-year agreement spells good news for sport fans who own a 4K TV, Virgin TV V6 box and subscribe to Virgin TV’s Full House or VIP bundles - it will see them automatically gain the BT Sport 4K UHD channel (531). New and existing Virgin TV customers signed up to its Player or Mix bundles will be able to add all BT Sport channels, including the 4K one, to their package for £18 per month.
BT Sport’s coverage includes UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Premier League matches, the FA Cup, European Rugby Champions Cup and MotoGP - some of which will be offered in 4K.
Here's the official Virgin Media Press Release

June 19, 2018

Sky Cinema On Demand HD movies return on the V6

It's taken a while, but I've just noticed that HD versions of the vast majority of Sky Cinema On Demand movies are now available on my V6 boxes. We used to have these a few years ago but in recent times the only HD On Demand movies were the newest to Sky Cinema. Now they're back.
There are a few still missing (for example, I only see SD versions of Amistad and An Affair To Remember) but everything else seems to be in both an SD and HD version.

June 06, 2018

May 31, 2018

BBC World Cup in 4K via iPlayer

You'll be able to watch all 29 of BBC One's World Cup games in 4K on iPlayer - but it will be a effectively a beta trial as only a limited number of viewers will be permitted. 
The BBC has confirmed it will broadcast all 29 live matches due to be shown on BBC One on its iPlayer service in 4K and HDR (high dynamic range). You'll need a compatible 4K TV or 4K set-top box running a compatible version of the BBC iPlayer app to take advantage of both picture technologies.
No details on ITV coverage yet, but the ITV Hub doesn’t even offer HD currently. 

May 23, 2018

UEFA Champions League final in 4K UHD on Virgin Media

BT Sport is to air this year’s UEFA Champions League football tournament final in 4k for the first time as part of a trial of 4K UHD TV on Virgin Media’s platform.
BT Sport’s coverage of the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Kyiv, Ukraine this Saturday will be the first time live football has been broadcast in 4K UHD on Virgin TV and will be available in a variety of ways to Virgin TV customers.
Subscribers to Virgin TV’s Full House offering with a new V6 box will be able to watch the game on BT Sport 2 HD on channel 528 and will be presented with the option of watching in UHD on both BT Sport 1 HD and BT Sport 2 HD by pressing the red button on their remote.
In addition, all Virgin TV customers with a V6 box can watch the game in UHD through Virgin Media’s showcase channel – channel 100. Any customers wanting to watch the game in UHD will require a compatible TV set. Virgin Media has already made Netflix and YouTube content available in UHD on the V6.
 David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media, said:
“The UEFA Champions League final is the biggest night of the year in international club football and we know our customers will relish the opportunity to get as close as possible to the action by watching in Ultra HD. Showing this game in Ultra HD is another example of our fantastic sports offering and look out for more exciting announcements to come in the near future.” 
 BT is separately making the Champions League final available in 4K UHD free of charge on its YouTube channel, the BT Sport app and btsport.com as well as for its TV subscribers on BT Sport 2 and the BT Sport 4K UHD channel.

Press blue for HD

A new feature is being rolled out on Virgin's TiVo boxes. If you're watching the SD version of a channel and press the blue button, it will change to the HD version if available. No word yet if or when this will arrive on the V6 boxes.
Virgin Media are also retiring the old V and V+ boxes, which means the entire network will be TiVo this year.

May 22, 2018

UHD on Virgin Media this weekend

Eurosport is launching a temporary UHD service with coverage of the Roland Garros French Open across Europe. UHD coverage of the tennis tournament will be available in the UK on Sky Q and Virgin Media, as well as in Germany (via HD+), Spain (Orange) and France (Canal Digital). The service will launch on Sunday 27th May, except for Sky Q users, where the channel will be available from Monday 28th May. Viewers require a Sky Q 2TB box, multiscreen subscription and a 4K UHD TV. Virgin Media offers UHD content on its V6 box. UHD coverage is restricted to the Philippe Chatrier centre court. It also represents the first time Eurosport has broadcast a live sporting event in Ultra HD in multiple markets at one time following Eurosport Germany’s successful transmission of the Bundesliga fixture between 1 FC Koln and Borussia Dortmund in Ultra HD in February.

April 19, 2018

Sky announce Spotify on Q but still no date for HDR or "Q over web"

Sky's results for the last quarter show the familiar pattern of adding more customers and the company, in the throes of takeover talks with 20th Century Fox, announced that Spotify will be on the Q boxes by the end of the week. Remember when our TiVo boxes had a Spotify App that was so flakey and useless it was pretty much unusable? I bet nobody misses it. Spotify software can be frustrating (ever used it on an iPhone? Ever wondered where all your disk space has gone??!).  Spotify on NowTV isn't any better, but hopefully on Sky Q it will be fully functional, which would be an improvement - it could hardly be any worse.
(Personally, I prefer Apple Music to Spotify: Apple's software and sound quality are, on my systems and to my ears, superior and they pay artists twice as much as the pittance offered by Spotify. But I digress…)
Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning Sky is that there's still no date set for the arrival of Sky Q over the internet, which I know is a service of some interest to visitors to this site.
Over on Cable Forum, there's a poll asking if VM TV customers are looking to switch to the new Q web service. Here's what I contributed:
I'm a "maybe". I currently have the full VM TV (whatever that's called these days) and top it up with Netflix and the occasional month with NowTV when there's something I fancy on Sky Atlantic. I can't have a dish on the outside of my home and have never wanted to directly line Murdoch's pocket, but neither of these will be relevant in 2019. We've been NTL/VM TV customers since the late nineties.
We're under contract until next January and we are in no hurry to leave VM/Netflix as, Atlantic aside, they give us everything we want to watch at an affordable price. But I'm intrigued by the new Sky Q and when it finally launches I'll consider the price (I'm on a good deal at the moment and I'm not prepared to pay more) and reports on its reliability. Having said that, I'm more likely to drop VM TV and just use Netflix and NowTV, possibly with a Freeview recorder, than try something new and probably flakey at launch. At the moment, Mrs Nialli is very happy with our pair of V6 boxes and her Netflix/VM combo, and that's probably the biggest factor of all...
But never say never, which is why I've said 'Maybe'.