April 02, 2020

Suspending Sky and BT Sports during the pandemic lockdown - update

Virgin has updated the form where you can suspend payments for Sky Sports during the current pandemic crisis so that you can suspend payment for BT Sports too. Here’s the new form https://www.virginmedia.com/help/thinking-of-leaving/talk-to-us/submitted.
I’m on the Oomph package, and I’m seeing a monthly credit of £27 for Sky and £9.25 for BT.

March 30, 2020

Brand new in-cinema releases available to watch at home on Virgin for less

To help customers through the pandemic lockdown, Virgin Media has some brand new films on current release to watch now on Virgin Movies, and at a reduced price for Virgin customers. These are EmmaMilitary Wives, The Hunt and The Invisible Man are available to rent, £9.99 for 48 hours.
Also, from Monday 23rd March Virgin are giving over 2.7 million Pay Monthly customers unlimited minutes to landlines and other mobile numbers, plus a 10GB data boost, at no extra cost, for a month.


March 26, 2020

Pausing Sky Sports during the pandemic

https://www.virginmedia.com/help/thinking-of-leaving/talk-to-us

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Virgin Media is offering us the option of pausing our Sky Sports payments until live sport resumes. If you’d like to do this, please enter your details on this form on the above link and Virgin will pause your Sky Sports payments.
During this paused period, you will still be able to watch the Sky Sports channels. Virgin will make this change as soon as possible, if they need anything from you they will get in touch and there’s no need to call them.
(And you don’t need to do anything once live sport resumes, Virgin restart your payments automatically.)

March 25, 2020

Mixed messages on Disney+

Disney+ has launched in the UK and is available on Sky Q (but not in 4k yet) and various smart tellies. But it's not Virgin’s V6...yet.
Sky are boasting
‘We’ve partnered with Disney to be the only pay-TV provider to offer Disney+ on their platform.’ (https://www.sky.com/help/home/sky-tv/sky-tv-q/using-sky-q/q-tv-apps-test/using-sky-q-tv-apps/diagnostics/sky-tv-apps-on-sky-q/using-disney-plus)
but only last week Disney said they were still in discussions with Virgin and BT. Are Sky making this claim while the other suppliers finalise deals? I think they may be - they’ve made similar ambiguous claims before and we know the Sky/Disney deal is ‘non-exclusive’. And Disney+ hasn't appeared on NowTV yet we know that's a done deal as it's already been announced and that's a pay-TV provider (albeit owned by Sky). Don't give up hope on Disney+ on the V6 just yet.

March 09, 2020

Disney+ update

Just ahead of the Disney+ launch in the UK on March 24th, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Disney is in talks with Virgin Media to bring Disney+ to its devices in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
‘We have a long-standing relationship with Disney and are in talks about Disney+,’ a Virgin Media spokesperson said.
Last week, Disney and Sky announced a similar deal, which is a non-exclusive multiyear distribution deal with Disney+.
It is hoped that Virgin Media will announce a deal shortly. Stay tuned.

March 03, 2020

Disney + on Sky

Disney+, which is due to launch in the UK and much of western Europe on 24 March, is to be integrated into the Sky Q box, to be followed by Sky’s streaming service Now TV in the coming months.
Disney+ is also being made available as a standalone app. Sky’s deal with Disney is non-exclusive, allowing Virgin Media (and other providers) can agree their own distribution deals.
Content from Fox, such as The Simpsons, and Hollywood films will continue to be available on Sky TV and Sky Cinema as well as Disney+.

March 01, 2020

New TV Control app for mobile devices

Virgin Media has released a new version (4.5) of its TV Control app for iOS and Android devices. 
My first impressions are that it's faster and looks neater. It looks a little cramped on my iPhone 8 but I'm imagine it will be better on the larger screens of the iPhone X or 11, probably less impressive on an iPhone SE or older.
The reviews in the iOS App Store though are scathing. I found the previous version slow and it was always asking for me to log in again. So far, that hasn't happened with the new version and the release notes suggest that's been fixed, so fingers crossed.
iOS app here
Android app here
and Amazon has a Kindle Fire version too
 

February 21, 2020

TiVo to be replaced by Horizon - confirmed

Liberty Global’s fourth quarter results filing arrived this week which finally shone some light on Virgin Media’s TV strategy. Liberty has confirmed that TiVo’s long-standing reign at Virgin Media in the UK will soon end and be replaced by the Horizon 4 platform:
Virgin Media will soon roll out the company’s new user interface, Horizon 4, on its V6 boxes (replacing TiVo), and the ongoing integration of OTT apps such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
“We are open for business when it comes to app integration,” Liberty Global Chief Executive Mike Fries said.
The Horizon 4 rollout in the UK will also mark Liberty Global’s expansion of a video product that utilises the Reference Design Kit, a pre-integrated, open source software platform being managed by Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter.
“We think it will be transformational to the consumer experience in the same way X1 was for Comcast,” Fries said. “The bundle matters, and video is a big part of the bundle.”
More from Fries, the financial results and an update on Project Lightning: https://www.lightreading.com/cable-video/liberty-global-sizing-up-partnerships-to-expand-reach-of-virgin-medias-network/d/d-id/757527

The sharp-eyed among you may notice that Horizon is being built using Comcast technology. Comcast is the owner of Sky.

January 29, 2020

Disney+ App for Virgin Media?

According to a report in The Telegraph, Disney+ may be integrated into Sky Q at launch. That means Sky Q users will be able to access content through the Sky interface, similarly to how Virgin Media currently incorporates Netflix and Amazon Prime on the V6. Here are The Telegraph headlines, and you can read more about Disney+ here.
Sky is on the verge of a deal with Disney to bring the Hollywood superpower’s new streaming service to millions of British homes.
The pair were this weekend putting the final touches to a multi-year partnership. Sky’s rivals Virgin Media and BT will be able to carry the Disney Plus app, however, they will be unable to offer Disney Plus fully integrated with other programming.
It is understood that work is already underway to launch the service on Sky alongside its broader British debut on March 24.
So it will be a ‘Sky Exclusive’, but only in as much as that will initially be the only platform where it will be integrated into the Q search. What is not expected though is that it will be included in the monthly cost of Sky Q, which means that if you want much of the programming that was previously available on Sky Cinema (Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney) you’ll have to pay a little extra.
The good news is that it is anticipated (by The Telegraph at least) that Virgin will have the Disney+ App on the V6 at the time of launch too, as well as the more recent models of smart TVs and other streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire. No word yet if it will be added to the Now TV devices.
Disney has confirmed that Disney+ will cost £59.99 for an annual subscription (£5.99 per month). Those are the two available tiers, and you can cancel at any time. Either tier gets you four concurrent streams, unlimited downloads with a maximum of 10 devices and the option to create seven profiles. Disney UK doesn’t specifically mention resolution though, just ‘high-quality’ viewing. In the US Disney Plus had a wealth of 4K HDR content available at launch, including 91 movies from Marvel, Pixar, Disney, and Lucasfilm, as well as a small-but-growing cache of streamer’s original series like The Mandalorian.
It looks like it will be widely available, unlike Apple’s streaming service Apple+, which has a handful of good shows but isn’t yet on many devices except those from Apple, Amazon and Samsung.

January 17, 2020

LaLigaTV HD on Virgin Media

Over the last few years Sky Sports has lost the rights to many of what used to be the main attractions to their sports channels. Various golf, rugby and tennis competitions have signed deals with various non-Sky channels and even the cash cow Football hasn't been immune to the lure of other broadcasters, notably BT.
The Spanish top football league was something that disappeared quietly from Sky a few years ago, yet the cost of Sky Sports across all platforms has continued to rise regardless of so much top tier sport being found elsewhere these days. Funny that.
Fans of the Spanish take on the beautiful game have had their work cut out in recent years as it’s only been (legally) available online (with a few matches broadcast unheralded on ITV4) but now Virgin Media customers have a new dedicated HD channel on channel 554, LaLiga TV.
It’s available at no extra cost to current Premier Sports subscribers or you can sign up for a combined subscription to both Premier Sports and LaLigaTV for £9.99 per month.