November 28, 2010

Virgin Media TiVo prices

Media Boy's Insider says
(Prices for TiVo):

Existing Customers
VIP= Free - Set-up fee £0 - Install fee £0 - Monthly fee waived on XL
XL TV/Triple = Free - Set-up fee £0 - Install fee £0 - Monthly fee waived for 12 months
Existing XL TV= Discounted - Set-up fee £149 - Install fee £40 - Monthly fee £3/pm

New Customers
(coming from competitor) Set-up fee £149 - Install fee £40 - Monthly fee £3/pm
(new intake) Set-up fee £199 - Install fee £40 - Monthly fee £3/pm

These are all subject to change but, this close to to launch I highly doubt it.

Virgin Media upgrading broadband services

Media Boy's insider says:
100Mb Tier of Service - four areas confirmed for launch on 7th Dec
He also confirms that as of next year Virgin will start to provide a free upgrade on the 20Mbs service to 30Mbs including a 3Mbs upstream.
This will be a free upgrade just like the 2-10Mbs and will start to roll out by the end of Q1 2011

November 23, 2010

November 21, 2010

The Future of TV - the death of linear TV?

This week's Click on BBC News had an interesting piece on the future of TV. No mention of Virgin, Sky or TiVo but more about the rapidly expanding alternatives such as Apple TV, Google TV and the high-end games consoles. I also found this Bloomberg story on how cable companies in the US are having to adapt to the challenges of alternative TV availability and the recession by offering lower cost bundles of channels. Interesting.
Mind you, Wired Magazine was suggesting a similar revolution in 2003 and is still talking about it in 2010.
Are the days of linear services on Sky and VM numbered? Will the future be, sports excepted, all On Demand? Who's best placed to benefit, Sky with its programming or Virgin with its broadband superiority? Discuss...

TiVo rollout update

MediaBoy's Insider is suggesting it won't be until March 2011 until there's a full roll out of TiVo, which is disappointing but I guess only to be expected.

November 17, 2010

From Cable Forum and PocketLint

This post on Cable Forum caught my eye this lunchtime:
"Sky sports red button = To arrive in January 2011, thats 100% btw
ITV 2/3/4 HD will launch in the first quarter of next year
Sky Atlantic will launch the same time as on the Sky platform
CBS Drama will launch in the first quarter There are no more exclusives for Sky anymore, The basic HD channels are in the process of arriving."
Also, checkout this story on PocketLint about the TiVo
Virgin Media has unveiled the first glimpse of its forthcoming TiVo-powered box which Pocket-lint understands to be on the back of installers' vans for initial roll-out in December. It is planned that a select number of Virgin Media customers will have the product in time for Christmas.

It is unknown at present how much the box will cost, either for the kit itself or installation, but Pocket-lint expects that to become apparent over the next couple of weeks.

The TiVo-powered service may also be available in limited numbers to begin with, as there isn't much time for the company's engineers up and down the country to install the devices before the holidays. But it is expected that availability will become much more widespread in the new year.

November 16, 2010

Virgin's TiVo - first pic

Virgin Media's own little teaser for the TiVo. (Thanks to Nial and Johnny for the links)

November 12, 2010

Spooks will return ... in HD

Did anyone else notice at the end of Monday's episode of Spooks the teaser for the next series (2011) was advertised as being on BBC1 HD? About bloody time too.

November 11, 2010

Rubicon cancelled before it hits the UK

The much-touted, critically praised Rubicon has been cancelled. US cable station AMC has announced that it will not be renewed for a second season so BBC4 and BBC HD will be showing the first and only season when it premieres the show shortly. A shame - I haven't seen it yet but it was regarded as a slow burning quality drama,  much like AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad. 
Not all bad news though from AMC: Walking Dead (showing here on FX HD) has been renewed for a second season.

Catch-up with Demand Five on Virgin Media

FIVE, FIVER and FIVE USA shows coming to Virgin Media’s Catch Up TV service
 Virgin Media today announced a multiscreen deal with Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd to bring programming from all of FIVE’s linear TV channels to its TV, online and mobile video on demand platforms from November. The addition of Demand Five to its pioneering TV On Demand service at no extra cost to customers makes Virgin Media the only TV provider to offer catch-up services from all four main terrestrial broadcasters, with some shows also available in HD. 
The new deal will see a range of quality shows added to Virgin Media’s ever expanding TV On Demand portfolio, from FIVE’s home grown shows such as The Gadget Show and Fifth Gear as well as popular US dramas including The Mentalist, Grey’s Anatomy and CSI: Miami.
(Official Virgin Media press release.)

November 06, 2010

Disappointed by C4's The Event?

Me too - what a lethargic sub-Flash Forward waste of disc space. Try FX's The Walking Dead instead (FX HD, 10pm Fridays) - far superior and genuinely scary.
For those who missed this week's ad-free opening episode it is being repeated on Sunday (10pm), Monday (11pm) and Wednesday at 11pm.

TiVo in just over a minute

November 04, 2010

Now get really excited...

Here's the TiVo Premiere interface...

A little more info on the TiVo V+ box

Thanks to Media Boy and his insider for the following:
Virgin Media will launch the new TiVo powered STB to internal staff for trials next week.
The new box, as stated in the press release will feature 1TB of storage. After launch we will see the integration of the new Spotify service and Facebook, along with the option to stream and back-up recorded content to LAN devices (laptop and other STB etc), just like the US TiVo.
A new "peanut" remote will also be introduced and will differ slightly from the standard TiVo remote. Remote record will also be added.
The service will use its own dedicated modem (10Mb) for online content. The new HD EPG looks great and the overall feel is just like the current TiVo Premiere in the US.
Very interesting. The picture by the way is of the US TiVo Premiere, not the Virgin Media version - so that's what a "peanut" remote looks like!

November 03, 2010

BBC One HD launches tonight at 7pm

And they've put together an FAQ on it

Virgin announces Tivo 1 Tb V+

Press release: 
Virgin Media announces details of new TiVo-powered next generation connected TV service
  • New HD/3D set top box will offer 1TB of personal storage
  • Thousands of hours of TV on Demand instantly available
  • Dedicated internal modem to bring internet services and apps direct to TV
Virgin Media today announced the first details of its upcoming TiVo-powered HD/3D set top box which will give customers a whopping 1 TeraByte of storage for personal recordings.  The new HD/3D set top box will launch alongside Virgin Media’s new TiVo-powered next generation connected TV service scheduled for later this year, and will be capable of storing up to 500 hours of content. When coupled with Virgin Media’s pioneering TV on Demand service, the new service will give UK consumers unrivalled access to over 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music videos, including hundreds of hours of HD and 3D entertainment, plus catch up TV from the terrestrial broadcasters, all available instantly.
Powered by Virgin Media’s unique fibre optic network, the box will also feature its own dedicated internal modem able to deliver HD video and other online services without impacting customers’ regular broadband connections. As a result, Virgin Media’s new TiVo-powered service will not only be able to deliver linear TV alongside an unbeatable instant TV on demand offering but will also be able to support compelling online video in HD straight to customers’ TVs without having to sacrifice other online activities when in use.
Competitors’ ‘connected TV’ products rely on just one central broadband connection, typically DSL, making it difficult for families to watch online TV or TV on Demand and take advantage of the internet at the same time. With Virgin Media, a typical family enjoying the new TiVo-powered TV service alongside Virgin Media's ultrafast 50Mb broadband connection will be able to enjoy a seamless experience with incredible connectivity, allowing the whole family to watch, surf, and play, all at the same time without compromise.
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said: “Virgin Media’s next generation connected TV service - powered by TiVo - and combined with our superior broadband will blow other ‘connected TV’ products out of the water. We’re really proud of our new next-generation TV service which will appeal to anyone and everyone looking for the best of live broadcast TV, catch up, on demand and internet apps and services.”
No more details yet but should be imminent "will launch [...] later this year" which, given that we're already into November means in the next month or so. 
I've no idea what pricing will be; Sky's 1Tb Sky+ is £249 plus a £15 install for existing customers, but that's no real indicator as Sky customers then own their box, Virgin Media customers won't. Also, the TiVo service is a subscription service in the US, not sure if that will hit us or not. (Tivo US pricing can be found at More news, hopefully, to follow really soon.

November 01, 2010

BBC HD boss Danielle Nagler talks Picture Quality

With Wednesday's launch of the BBC One HD simulcast, Danielle Nagler has been discussing the thorny question of the picture quality on BBC HD with Digital Spy: BBC HD's Nagler on... picture quality.