Virgin Media launches the UK’s first next-generation entertainment platform
- Game-changing interface brings together the best of TV, on-demand and web through a single box
- Unique content discovery and personalisation tools
- A world of apps for the living room
The new service will lead a much-anticipated revolution in the way people find and enjoy their favourite content. An easy-to-use graphical interface will combine the live TV schedule with catch-up TV, a huge library of on-demand programming and popular web-based applications alongside a market-leading personal video recorder. As a result, Virgin Media customers will never miss out on great programmes and will find it easier than ever to discover new types of entertainment to match their tastes and preferences.
The platform will be supercharged by Virgin Media’s unparalleled digital network, ensuring guaranteed quality of service, whether watching in Standard Definition, High Definition or 3D. This also means that - unlike other internet enabled TV services - customers will be able to watch what they want at the click of a button, rather than waiting for time-consuming downloads. As Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo utilises dedicated channels of bandwidth, the user’s viewing choice will not come at the expense of their broadband connection, so households can watch and surf simultaneously without interruption.
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said: “This is a landmark moment in the UK’s digital revolution and vividly illustrates why Virgin Media is the only company who can provide the ultimate digital lifestyle. For the first time, viewers will have a truly personalised viewing experience so they can get the most out of the wonderful worlds of the internet and TV all in one place. We’re really excited to bring our customers what is just the first of successive generations of transformational services based on this unique TiVo-powered platform.”
The game changing platform features a highly intelligent recommendations engine which will learn to predict the type of shows that a particular customer loves and, just like a personal shopper, will recommend great content on offer. The superior search technology will find films, music, TV shows and online content as well as providing rich programme information and details about the actors and directors, allowing viewers to discover even more content connected to the cast and production. The user will be able to create a WishList™ search based on a particular show, theme, actor or director and all future content relevant to that will be automatically recorded.
The iconic peanut-shaped TiVo remote control will also give viewers the chance to rate shows through the instantly accessible TiVo ‘thumbs up/thumbs down™’ buttons. Using this feature to help ensure even greater accuracy, the intelligent service will provide suggested shows and store them in the ‘My Shows’ folder – so Virgin Media customers will never miss out, even when they didn’t set a recording.
As well as planning TV viewing over the next week, the service allows viewers to scroll backwards by up to seven days in the TV Guide and access catch up TV and programming information instantly. This will ensure catch up TV becomes simply a seamless extension of live TV viewing.
Through its dedicated 10Mb cable broadband modem, which is built into the personal video recorder, the new platform will also bring the ever-growing popularity of the app store to the living room for the first time, doing for TV what the iPhone and Android have done for the mobile phone. Built on an Adobe Flash-based platform, the latest videos, social networking and information apps will be updated regularly. The service launches initially with apps from major web brands including catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, videos from YouTube, shopping from the online marketplace eBay, Tweets from Twitter and photos from sites such as Facebook, and the app line up will expand over the next several months.
The service will be supported by a brand new set-top box offering 1 terabyte of storage – up to 500 hours of standard definition programming – as well as access to 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music on demand. In due course, there will also be the facility to set recordings remotely via online and mobile devices.
Featuring cutting edge hardware design, the Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo box will have three tuners*, allowing viewers to record two channels whilst watching a third so recording conflicts become a thing of the past. The future-proofed service will automatically be updated with new features and functionality as they become available.
Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo will begin to roll-out from mid-December. Standard price of £199**, plus £26.50 per month for the XL TiVo package which features over 160 channels, an unrivalled TV on demand library and access to all standard HD channels. For further information, or to register for interest in the Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo service, visit: www.virginmedia.com/TiVo.
* The service is launching with two tuners and will be updated with three tuners in early 2011.
** Standard £40 installation costs apply.
Update: According to Virgin's Twitter account, existing customers pricing details are yet to be released (thanks Rich99)