January 20, 2017

Nialli's initial experience of the V6

I had my two TiVo boxes swapped yesterday for a pair of V6s. Here are my initial observations:

The Installation:
  1. It’s a pretty straightforward hardware swap – the most time-consuming part is when the engineer has to call VM to activate the boxes. Our man was on hold for around 15 minutes. As always, the hold music emanating from his mobile was dire…
  2. Total time to install both boxes was under half an hour
  3. The speed of the V6 makes the configuration a doddle. My boxes did three software downloads, each faster than the previous
  4. The EPG was fully populated within the hour – I seem to recall this could take several hours with the TiVos and even longer with the V+
  5.  I’ve got one V6 wired to my router using Ethernet. (My router is a SuperHub 2 in modem mode, connected to an Apple Time Capsule for reliable Wi-Fi coverage.) Our second V6 is just on the Wi-Fi, which meant it took a little longer to do the downloads as my Wi-Fi speed drop in the evenings (it was around 75mbps during the install). I didn’t have to hardwire the second box before the Wi-Fi option appeared – it just worked
  6. Overall, I was impressed. Our engineer didn’t know much about the new box and it was the end of his shift and my dinner was ready so I ushered him out of the door rather than have him attempt instruction. Besides, it's always more fun to play...
The V6:
  1. My two TiVos weren’t as sluggish as some people’s but even after a few hours I couldn’t go back. Has anyone else noticed how unbelievably nippy and snappy the V6 is?? I’m seriously impressed, and TiVo software running at this speed suddenly feels lively and modern
  2. If the V6 was the same size as the old TiVo then the design of the new hardware would feel like a throwback to the old cable boxes of the nineties, but it ain’t – it’s about half the width and it almost disappears in my TV stand. In fact the second box I’ve put on its side and tucked away behind the TV, so you can’t even see it
  3. Connecting the two boxes so they can share recordings works faultlessly
  4. Streaming to my iPad works fine too
  5. The TV Anywhere iOS applications no longer seem to have the connectivity issues I was experiencing with the TiVos
  6. The engineer left both of my original remotes as well as the new, which work fine with the V6s so I have spares now which is useful. The new remotes automatically control my Sony TVs, which saved me having to do that remote code fun and games to get the volume and on/off buttons working
Overall, I’m impressed and delighted with the new boxes. Well done Virgin Media!

January 13, 2017

Great service from Karl in Retensions

I called Retentions (as I was seriously considering a Now/Humax alternative to save money) and got myself upgraded to Vivid 200 broadband, two V6s (one off charge of £112) and my monthly bill DOWN by a tenner. Install date? Next Thursday. Very happy bunny. And we'll be doing some serious binge viewing this week of our old recordings

January 11, 2017

I'm back

Sorry it’s been so quiet on the blog over the last month or so. I managed to break my leg in late November and it limited the time I could comfortably spend on my laptop, and, unfortunately for the blog, working on my second novel took precedent.
Anyway, I’m back now, the leg’s on the mend and the second draft of the book is almost done. I still haven’t found time to call Virgin and ask them to swap my TiVos for V6s yet, and I’m unlikely to do so until I’ve waded through most of the recordings I’ll lose when I surrender my boxes.

Sky Cinema HD channels all renumbered

For once, a Virgin Media EPG shuffle that makes sense as the SD and HD movie channels from Sky swap places in the programme guide. Here are the new numbers:

Premiere is now 401
Showcase 403
Movie Greats 404
Disney 405
Family 406
Action & Adventure 407
Comedy 408
Crime & Thriller 409
Drama & Romance 410
Sci-Fi & Horror 411
Select 412

The renumbering shouldn’t affect any recordings or planned recordings you may have.

December 07, 2016

Virgin Media's V6 - First Reviews

Or, more accurately, the first I’ve found. Here’s what Pocket-lint concludes about the new box:
It’s clear that the company has made every effort to take what is good about its existing TiVo platform and improve on it in every way.
It has clearly been inspired by Sky Q for several new features, but has also added a few of its own - such as the multiroom tech utilising existing hardware rather than different devices.
The future proofing also offers great potential, with Virgin Media telling us that the box could even be made compatible with cloud recording services somewhere down the line. And, for us, the speed of use over the existing TiVo box is almost enough on its own. It is lightning quick, easy to use and we’re looking forward to giving it a proper, real world work out soon.
Perhaps then we can judge whether it is able to topple Sky Q off its lofty perch. Or at the very least offer a credible alternative.
See the full review at Pocket-lint 

And here's what Trusted Reviews felt:
The Virgin TV V6 doesn’t look like much, but it is a massive leap from the existing software and hardware that the company has been rocking for years. I’ll need a thorough play through the interface to see if it really is as fast and smooth an experience as Virgin claims, but for now it looks like Virgin has managed to evolve its home entertainment offering into a modern and genuinely useful service. Watch out, Sky Q…
Read more at Trusted Reviews

Transferring recordings from your old TiVo to your new V6

There's been some confusion over this but, in a nutshell, you can't, so if you're swapping a TiVo packed with recordings for a shiny new V6 you will lose them when you hand over the box. However VM man Spiderplant does assure me that if you keep the TiVo as a second box and it's connected to the Internet you can stream those TiVo recordings through your V6.

December 06, 2016

V6 reviews welcome!

Hi all
Seasons greetings and all that from all of the team (i.e. just me) here at VMHD.
Unlike many of you I won’t be on the phone to Virgin today to order a V6 or two. The main reasons for this sloth are that my two current TiVos are working okay and I’ve got my left leg in plaster and can’t crawl about on the floor sorting out the usual cable chaos after an engineer’s visit. I’m also wary of new hardware (thirty years in IT does that to a chap), especially at this time of year, and my VM contract is up for renewal/cancellation in February so I may wait until then. Anyway...
If you have a new V6 and would like to share your first impressions with the VMHD community (the blog still gets over 50,000 visits a month) please email me your words of wisdom and I’ll post them here for others to enjoy.

December 01, 2016

Reaction to the "game changing" Virgin TV announcement

Well, that was pretty predictable: no sooner had Virgin Media finally let the cat out of the bag then the usual anonymous cynics were all over the cable forums berating the company for its lack of 4k content. Even the BBC put the boot in with some inaccurate reporting (later corrected). No HDR? What is Branson (sic) thinking??!! (Let’s not forget that HDR is not on BT or Sky Q yet either...)
I’m not saying the V6 is perfect in its promise, but it has to be a step up from the tired TiVos we all endure, surely? I doubt I’ll ever need to record six things simultaneously and I have no plans to buy a 4k TV anytime soon but a faster box is most welcome and the ability to stream my recordings to our second TiVo or to a device using the improving TV Anywhere App is most welcome.
And we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the box won’t incur a monthly charge. In fact the V6 is considerably cheaper for existing customers than originally rumoured. £49.99 sounds like a good deal to me, especially if they’re available to existing customers before the end of the year. I may even get an upgrade to a Superhub 3 from the dodgy wifi of my SH2, which would be neat.
The lack of a 2Tb disc is a little disappointing but it may come later - the TiVo “Cloud DVR” is not far away now, surely.
And let’s not slam the company for not having done any expensive deals with Sky or BT for their 4k sports channels. VM will most likely do what they did before with 3D and measure demand by making 4k movies available on demand for those desperate for the best. But don’t expect them to be cheap - they’ll be cinema ticket price expensive. A better bet may be if the rumoured Amazon App finally makes an appearance, but the announcement of the Virgin Store makes me think that this is perhaps less likely than we’d like.
So I take some heart from the announcement yesterday, even if it did fall short of being “game changing”. The Telly Tablet, for £299, may be useful in the kitchen or spare bedroom. The Store sounds promising. And I’ll take a V6 for my 1Tb TiVo for fifty quid - sounds like a good deal to me.
Where do I sign?

November 30, 2016

Netflix enables downloads for iOS and Andoid

Netflix has begun rolling out the ability to download videos from its streaming service to smartphones and tablets for offline viewing.
Eddy Wu, Netflix director of product innovation: “While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where internet is expensive or limited.”
The feature is available from November 30th on Android and iOS devices, and includes the bulk of the Netflix catalogue including both TV series and movies. The company says that more will be made available soon.

"Game-changing" Virgin TV launch

From Virgin Media:
  • New Virgin TV V6 box is our smallest, smartest and fastest box yet
  • Revamped Virgin TV Anywhere app to watch telly, recordings & on demand on smartphones and tablets
  • 14” HD Virgin TV TellyTablet for TV fans to watch what they want, where they want
  • Virgin TV kids app for great TV, games and books – without the tantrums
  • Launch of Virgin Media Store to give viewers a new way to own the entertainment they love
Today we’ve lifted the cover off of our new connected entertainment line-up delivering the UK’s best and most advanced TV service. The combination of smarter, faster products and services with top-notch programmes bringing people closer to the TV they love, wherever it is.

Underpinned by our ultrafast connectivity, Virgin TV includes the new 4K-ready V6 box, which is powered by TiVo software and built for apps, and a new HD TellyTablet created by Virgin Media and designed specifically as a personal smart TV to watch television in HD quality. Virgin TV also includes a revamped Virgin TV Anywhere app, a new ad-free kids app and the unveiling of Virgin Media Store.
Our new Virgin TV line-up raises the bar in home entertainment, marrying the latest and smartest technology with the very best TV programmes, all underpinned by our ultrafast cable network. This is game-changing TV. David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media.

Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo

The new Virgin TV V6 box is Virgin Media’s smallest, smartest and fastest box yet. It is half the size of the previous TiVo box with 10x the power and packed with a load of extra features.


The Virgin TV V6 box allows you to record six programmes while watching a seventh recording or stream from services such as iPlayer or Netflix. This increases to 12 simultaneous recordings with two Virgin TV V6 boxes.

Watching live TV, on demand programmes, or recordings doesn’t stop in the living room. The Virgin TV V6 box is designed so that recordings can be accessed and streamed on other TiVo boxes around the home. The new set-top box is completely compatible with our original TiVo box meaning that existing customers can keep recordings and transfer settings while updating their home entertainment.
Recordings, on demand programmes and live TV can be watched in one room, paused and continued in another room seamlessly through a Virgin TV V6 or TiVo box. Recordings and live TV can also be continued on a mobile device with Virgin Media’s TV Anywhere app.

All Virgin TV V6 boxes, including additional boxes around the home, support 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV with Netflix and YouTube available in 4K from launch and more programming coming soon. The Virgin TV V6 box is also High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatible so that, as more HDR content becomes available, a software update will be downloaded and Virgin TV customers can enjoy the very best 4K picture quality on compatible HDR TVs.

The Virgin TV V6 box menu will be familiar to existing Virgin Media customers. It’s powered by the very latest, intelligent TiVo software and has been built for apps which, in combination with the powerful technology inside the Virgin TV V6 box, mean that its image-based menus are superfast to navigate and apps such as iPlayer, Netflix and Vevo will open with lightning speed. It also includes smart search and SeriesLink+, which pulls TV programmes together into one place, allowing Virgin Media customers to easily access the great range of programmes on Virgin TV wherever they are hiding.

The Virgin TV V6 remote is smaller than the existing remote but will be instantly recognisable to Virgin Media customers so there won’t be any barriers to getting straight to the best TV. A new search button on the remote instantly fires up the TiVo brain meaning there are fewer clicks to the TV users want.

The RF remote now works even when the new set-top box is tucked away in a cupboard. Plus, if it’s ever lost, there’s a button on new set-top box which will make the remote beep so it can be rescued from the depths of the sofa.

Pricing for the Virgin TV V6 box is simple, transparent and will not incur additional monthly subscription fees. The new state of the art box will be available to existing customers on a Mix bundle or higher, before the end of the year. Existing customers will not need to change package to benefit.
New customers joining Virgin Media will be able to order the Virgin TV V6 box when choosing their TV bundle from January 2017.
The standard price of the Virgin TV V6 box is a simple £99.95 one-off upfront cost.
New and existing customers with a Full House 200 or VIP bundle will benefit from a promotional price of £49.95.