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.

VirginTVV6boxUI1small.jpg

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.

4Seven HD arrives on channel 203

It had been a Freeview exclusive but is now on Virgin Media, too. Also, the flagship 4HD has moved to 141 and More4HD is at 195.
Is there really a master plan behind VM's channel numbering or is it just the random, chaotic output of a traumatised, illogical mind?

November 15, 2016

Software update to address TiVo slowness

From Virgin Media:
Update to our TiVo boxes
We are aware that some customers have been experiencing some slowness when using their TiVo® service recently. We’ve listened to the feedback and have been working to understand what the problems are and how we can fix this. We want to ensure that we give our customers the best service we can and have been testing a number of changes to help speed up the boxes.
We’ve now started to roll out a new code to all our TiVo boxes to help make our TV service quicker, the plan is to complete the roll-out throughout the rest of November.
There’s nothing you will need to do as the changes will take place overnight and won’t affect any of your TiVo box settings or recordings. Please note if the TiVo box is switched off the code will then download when you switch it back on again; this normally takes no more than 30 minutes to complete.

November 11, 2016

TiVo preparing Mavrik Cloud solution

According to reports in the US TiVo appears to be preparing a new set-top called Mavrik that would stream video content over the web. It’s more than idle speculation though, as TiVo’s own web site already has published a page on how to ‘setup’ the Mavrik (since taken down).
There is no other information at the TiVo site on what the Mavrik does, but word is that it's the new incarnation of Mantis, the Cloud based DVR.
A little more info here: http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/tivo-mavrik-cloud-dvr-1201912538/

November 07, 2016

Amazon app to launch November 10th?

According to MediaBoy’s blog, the Amazon video app will launch on Virgin Media TiVo boxes on November 10th. No confirmation yet from Virgin Media.

Details: http://mediaboyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/exclusive-virgin-media-uk-to-launch.html

UPDATE: No sign or word of the Amazon video app on November 10th. There’s some speculation on Cable Forum that it is being delayed until the New Year, possibly to tie in with the roll out of the V6 hardware

November 03, 2016

November 30th for "something unmissable"

Virgin Media has sent out invites to the press for an event on November 30th, which the company says is for "something unmissable". I'd imagine that's going to be the official unveiling of the long awaited V6 4K TiVo box.

Stay tuned, folks

November 01, 2016

New TV Anywhere iOS app reveals V6 capabilities

Virgin Media updates its iOS TV Anywhere app over the weekend and in doing so, gave an early insight into the new TiVo V6 box’s streaming capabilities. If you check out the Help menu, you’ll find this:
ARE ALL RECORDED PROGRAMMES AVAILABLE TO WATCH OR DOWNLOAD ON THE APP?No. Some recorded shows cannot be streamed or downloaded to your mobile or tablet due to rights restrictions. Shows that can be downloaded will have the ‘Download’ button active. Shows that can be watched will have the option to ‘Watch on iPad’ when you select the ‘Watch Now’ button. If these buttons are greyed out then the show cannot be watched or downloaded. There may be some cases where you can stream a recording but not download it. If you cannot watch a show on your mobile or tablet, you will still be able to watch the recording on your TV.
HOW MANY PROGRAMMES CAN BE DOWNLOADED AT ONE TIME?You can download one show at a time. If you want to download more, we’ll pop them in a queue and they’ll start to download when the previous one is complete. When you select a show to be downloaded, you can choose the quality of the download – basic, medium or high. The lower the quality, the faster you can download it.
WILL PROGRAMMES STILL DOWNLOAD IF I CLOSE THE APP?No. You’ll need to keep the app open for the download to complete. If you close the app, the download will be paused. It will continue to download again when you open the app and are connected to your home WiFi.
WILL DOWNLOADS CONTINUE IF MY DEVICE AUTO LOCKS?When you’re downloading a recording, the app will prevent your device from auto locking. It’s a good idea to keep your device plugged into power when downloading though, so it has enough juice to last for the whole download.
HOW CAN I CHECK THE PROGRESS OF A SHOW DOWNLOADING?Go to My Shows and select the ‘On iPad’ or ‘On iPhone’ button in the middle of the screen. You can see the progress bar, MB and time remaining for the download. If the download is paused, you will see a downwards arrow. Just tap this to continue the download. You can press the pause symbol to pause the download
CAN I WATCH A SHOW WHILE IT IS BEING DOWNLOADED?Usually No. If the content provider has restricted the show, you’ll need to wait for the download to finish before you can start watching it. (Find the popcorn and get comfy on the sofa while you wait)
WHERE WILL MY DOWNLOADS APPEAR ONCE THEY’VE COMPLETED?You’ll find them in My Shows in the ‘On iPad’ or ‘On iPhone’ section. There will be an R symbol with a padlock when the download is complete and an egg timer will indicate that the show has been partially watched and will expire soon.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WATCH A DOWNLOADED RECORDING?Once you download a programme you will have a maximum of 30 days to watch it. Once you have started watching a programme you will usually have 48 hours to watch it before it expires. Sometimes expiry times vary between content providers.
HOW MANY TIMES CAN I DOWNLOAD THE SAME PROGRAMME?You can download a programme twice per household. If you download more than this, you’ll see an error message telling you that the show cannot be downloaded again. You can still watch this programme on your TV. The number of times a show can be downloaded can vary between content providers.
WILL I GET 48 HOURS TO WATCH MY DOWNLOAD IF I START WATCHING ONE DAY BEFORE THE CONTENT IS DUE TO EXPIRE?No. Downloads are only available to watch before they expire
CAN I WATCH A LIVE OR ON DEMAND SHOW WHILE A PROGRAMME IS BEING DOWNLOADED?No, you’ll need to download the programme first – or do it later.
HOW MUCH STORAGE SPACE WILL A DOWNLOAD TAKE UP?When you select a programme to download, you can choose the download quality – Basic, Medium or Best. The default is set to Medium.
Based on which quality you select, it will tell you how big the file is before you download it. To give you an idea, an hour show is around 450MB for basic quality and 1 GB for best.
If you don’t have enough space on your device, you’ll see an error message letting you know you’ve run out of space.
SKY CINEMA & SKY SPORTSIf you’re subscribed to Sky Cinema or Sky Sports, you can watch those on your tablet or mobile with the Sky Cinema or Sky Sports app. Just download the apps, then select the Virgin Media logo on the sign-in page, and sign in with your My Virgin Media username and password.
The Sky Cinema and Sky Sports apps are available in the Apple App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and Google Play for Android mobiles and tablets. You can also watch online via the Sky Cinema and Sky Sports websites.
You can find out more about the Sky Cinema and Sky Sports channels here
Other Sky live and on demand channels such as Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Arts, Sky Living, Real Lives, Sky News and Sky Sports News HQ are available to watch on the TV Anywhere app or online, as long as you have them in your Virgin Media TV package.
DO I HAVE TO BE A VIRGIN MOBILE CUSTOMER TO USE THE VIRGIN TV ANYWHERE APP?No. You just need to be a Virgin TV customer.
DO I NEED A WIFI CONNECTION TO USE THE VIRGIN TV ANYWHERE?You need a WiFi connection to be able to watch live TV on the app, but on a 3/4G mobile connection, you can still manage your viewing, set recordings, browse the TV listings, delete recordings and more. To use the app at home as an advanced remote control or to watch or download some recordings (if you have a V6 box), your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch will need to be connected to the same router as your TiVo box.
CAN I USE VIRGIN TV ANYWHERE WHEN THE MY VIRGIN TV BOX IS SWITCHED OFF?If you have a V or V+ Box, you can use the app whether your set top box is on or off.
If you have a TiVo box, your app will still work when the box is in standby. However, it won’t work if it’s switched off. If you have a V6 box, you may also see this message if you’ve got your V6 box switched on but your Hub is switched off.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE OR CHANGE MY IPAD, IPHONE OR IPOD TOUCH?If you lose or change your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, you’ll need to download the app again. You’ll need to register your new one if you want to watch live TV using the app.
If you’ve lost your device, we also recommend changing your My Virgin Media account password. That way no one else can use your device to manage your TiVo box without your authorisation.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE VIDEO QUALITY?For streaming a recording, live or VOD, the app automatically chooses the best quality based on the WiFi connection. The picture quality for downloaded recording can be chosen if you have a V6 box. If you’re still having problems, try chatting with some experts on the Virgin Media Community forum

October 23, 2016

Best solution if your TiVo is running slow

Clear the cache in the memory:

Press HOME

Press Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up, Play Play (in a fairly quick succession)

Screen goes blank for 15 seconds and then things should show an improvement. It's still not exactly "snappy" but it's an improvement. 

(Thanks to Graham Tuffnell for the tip)