December 08, 2008

V+ update 'features'

There was a V+ update last week that seems to have added a new default requiring you to input your PIN to view any recordedings. That might be good for some families, but this one finds it a pain in the rectum. So, if you want to turn this 'feature' off, go to Settings, select Parental Control and set View Recorded Content to Off.
That's better :o)
Another feature I've discovered is that if you want the full EPG to display just your Favourites, press Home then Favourites. Pretty neat, too.
Not sure if there are other changes: over on the Virgin TV newsgroup I found this:
Today we completed the download of our latest software release (v. to our V+ customers. Key features of this sooftware are:
- easier set-up of HD
- the availability of standard resolution video over HDMI when in SCART mode
- a feature telling customers that they have an HDMI cable connected but are watching via SCART
- a key bug fix that can make boxes get stuck in a constant reboot cycle
- improved font for subtitles on channels that carry VBI subtitles
- ability to select the Favourites menu anywhere within the guide by pressing the FAV button
- numerous other bits to bring into line with standard boxes which were upgraded earlier in the year
Stephen Featham,
Head of TV Product Engineering, Virgin Media.


Gavin Emerson said...

Since this update, my V+ box has been much quieter in terms of program volume - has anyone else noticed this? (box is hooked up to Sony KDL-40X2000U via HDMI, nothing else has changed with regards cabling or hardware)

BikeNutt said...

Yes, a number of members (including me) have noticed this over at AVForums.

demented said...

The detecting a HDMI cable is a really, really big deal. If it makes it easier for people this is quiet but solid work, so many people asked questions on forums about how to do it. I'd heard that they improved 1080 support.

The vod updates are also nice. The play/pause etc looks much better but it is much more responsive.

demented said...

I wondered about the sound. BBC HD has gone from being the noisiest channel to one of the quietest :-/. I don't watch it that often though so it is hard to say, perhaps this happened a few weeks ago? Thinking about it I do think some of the other channels are a bit quiet.

Anonymous said...

wasn't sure where to post this, not sure if you are already aware but the BBC HD link for todays programs is no longer working

Nialli said...

Thanks. I've updated the link so it should work now.

Banjo Ted said...

Yep - definite drop in volume here too. Interestingly, though, whilst before the update I'd randomly be asked for passwords when viewing recorded material, since the update this has stopped happening altogether.

Anonymous said...

I had v+ installed today as I was offered a great deal, but I am shocked at how noisy the harddrive is! Whenever I watch a recorded program or delay tv or am recording a program it constantly clicks like a PC that has hardly any memory. The only time it doesn't make a noise is when I watch live tv, which is rare.

So maybe the v+ also suffers from too little memory or the software is so bad that it doesn't make proper use of it. If the engineer can't fix this I'm going back to sky+ cos this is a deal breaker.

I honestly don't know how anybody can put up with it. In terms of decibels its not excessive, it's just incredibly annoying like somebody constantly drumming their fingers in the same room

Nialli said...

I've had two V+ boxes over the last few years and neither has the clicking sound your's has. In fact in operation they've both been silent.
The engineer should swap it for you - it's not a common fault that I've seen detailed on any other forums.
Incidentally, it wouldn't be memory but more likely a problem with the hard disc - memory is solid state and wouldn't "click" - you get that on a PC with low memory because it's using the HDD as virtual memory - the V+ wouldn't do that.

Anonymous said...

Reading comments on the internet I understand that earlier boxes did not suffer from the noisy hard drive problem so that could explain why you have been so fortunate.

Yes I know that solid state memory doesn't click, but the point I was making is that if there isn't enough of it then additional memory will be used from the hard drive. This is a virtual memory technique called "paging" and too much of it is usually a sign of bloated/overambitious software or under spec hardware.

Even if I were to get a new box with a quieter hard drive I would still expect a failure within 6 months to a year because hard drive access is rampant. I have had my sky+ box for about five years with absolutely no problems.

Anyway, I will see what the engineers says tomorrow.

Nialli said...

There appears to be a lot of inconsistency with boxes from both Sky and VM. My current V+ is only a few months old, no clicking. I have a friend who has been through four Sky+ boxes in the last year.
Good luck with the engineer tomorrow - they are as variable in quality as the boxes!

Anonymous said...

I can now conclude my experiences with the v+ service and if I had to choose one word to describe virgin support system it would be "arrogance".

So the engineer came out this morning and as soon as he heard the sound of the HDD making its continual clicking sound in he said it was typical and he installed one just last week that did the same thing. I have no problems with this guy, he was perfectly polite and helpful if lacking a little knowledge of the inner workings of electronic devices.

I then phoned up virgin cancellations and they desperately tried to convince me that the fault was not normal and that their technical department reckoned it could be sorted. So they sent the same engineer back to my house twenty minutes later and guess what: all he could do was to stand at my door sheepishly admitting that he hadn't been told anything new to try!!!

Since he was there, we tried a couple more brand new v+ boxes from his van and they suffered from the same constant clicking sound. For anyone interested the manufacture dates of the three boxes tested were the 6th, 8th and 12th of December 2008. Could it be that pressure from Virgin managers thinking only of their bonuses leant on or bypassed quality control altogether? It's the only explanation I can think of for trying to pass on goods that are not fit for purpose.

Incidentally I spoke to one Virgin rep who said that she had had v+ for a few months and her box didn't make any noise at all, so this does add weight to problems arising in the system only recently.

Finally I called cancellations again and the rep I spoke to used innuendo to suggest I'm being picky for putting up with the noise. I told her how I'd never had any noise problems with my sky+ box and that my parents new sky HD box is perfectly quiet, at which point she launched into her sales pitch about how I am benefitting from not completely owning the box because the engineers have for my benefit called at my house twice at no additional cost! I wasn't laughing then but I now find the cheek of this hilarious!

I tried to explain that if you buy or rent something that is broken then it can hardly be called a benefit that an attempt is made to fix it - maybe after 6 months it can but not after a few days. Anyway I can put up with all manner of nonsense from support but the net result is that the fault cannot be cured and so I have no choice but to go back to sky.

One final observation is that the v+ EPG software not as intuitive to use as the sky+ EPG. I realize that v+ does more but where their features overlap, sky+ achieves it in a much less intrusive manner. Additionally the pause, rewind, fast forward features etc are (a lot) less responsive with v+ - you press one of the buttons and there is a delay before anything happens. It's not unacceptable by any means, but you definitely notice it after having used other EPGS like Tivo and sky+.

Sorry for the long post, hopefully my experiences may be of use to somebody out there and I may consider virgin again if ever the hardware/software is improved.