March 31, 2011

TiVo launch now April 11th - £149 plus £40 activation plus £3 a month for existing customers

Just received this from Virgin Media. It's addressed "Dear Dean" but I think it was for me...
Now here’s something you don’t see everyday. You’ve got the chance to be one of the first to order our amazing 1TB TiVo® box before everyone else because you’re a Virgin Media customer and you pre-registered your interest in our TiVo service.

During the week beginning 11th April, we’ll be opening an exclusive pre-sale event just for you, so you can order Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo. We’ll email you the details on the day and you can be one of the first to get your hands on our latest kit before it goes on general sale.
Here’s the deal:
1TB TiVo box £149.95 one-off activation fee exclusively for existing customers (everyone else pays £199.95) £3 additional monthly fee with TV XL
Our exclusive pre-sale event for the 1TB box is only available to you. Think of it as a little ‘thank you’ from us for being a Virgin Media customer and for being one of the very first to register your interest in our TiVo service.
We’ll email you again during the week of 11th April to tell you more. If you’d like to take another look at what our TiVo service can do, head over to our Discover TiVo site for all the details.
We’ll email you again during the week of 11th April to tell you more. If you’d like to take another look at what our TiVo service can do, head over to our Discover TiVo site for all the details.
Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox

The Virgin Media team

General: £40 installation fee applies. TiVo box remains property of Virgin Media. New 12-month minimum term contract applies. 1TB TiVo box: you must take, or upgrade to, TV XL to be eligible. If you cease to be an XL TV customer, we reserve the right to charge you the then applicable monthly TiVo charge (currently £8 for TV L or M+). TiVo is not available on TV M. Information about your TiVo use: By having the TiVo service and/or by using it you are providing your consent for us to use your viewing information to personalise your experience of the TiVo service (in addition to the other purposes set out in our privacy policy). We may share with third parties information about your use of the TiVo service in an aggregated form which will not personally identify you. This aggregated data may be used by those third parties for their marketing purposes (e.g. to improve their targeting of advertising based on user preferences).

Remote recording on the TiVo

Want to set a recording but away from home? Sky customers have had the capability for years and now Virgin's TiVo customers will enjoy a similar service.
Go to, log in to your account and you'll see an on-screen version of the EPG. Find the programme you want, click on it and then select 'record this episode' or 'record the whole series'. You get a confirmation back that the recording has been sent. Can't test it myself as still no TiVo, but not long now (hopefully)

TiVo recording

March 30, 2011

TiVo launch to customers: Monday April 4th

Still to be confirmed, but looks like next Monday. Thanks to Mr S. Eyes for the info.

March 29, 2011

Rubicon arrives on BBC 4

When the BBC lost Mad Men to the mighty cheque book of Sky Atlantic, we were promised another AMC quality product, Rubicon, as a replacement on BBC4. We then learned just a few weeks later that the series was cancelled after a single 13 episode season which meant that it was to be something of a brief encounter than a prolonged engagement.
Well the good news is that it is finally with us, starting on Thursday April 7th on BBC4. And the bad news is that it's not showing on BBC HD. The schedulers instead have two repeats of That Mitchell & Webb Look at 11pm that night in HD, but haven't the wit or the where with all to show Rubicon in high def. Crazy crazy crazy.

TechRadar TiVo review

Full review here.

  • Incredibly powerful
  • Huge range of functionality
  • Highlights the benefits of a cable connection
  • Makes finding content easy
  • TiVo recommendations are fabulous
  • Occasionally overcomplicates things
  • Lacks polish in several places
  • Could do with a QWERTY remote control

March 28, 2011

Sky Atlantic HD speculation

Spotted by Gunslinger on Cable Forum: Sky are no longer promoting Sky Atlantic HD as "free and exclusive to Sky customers" on One hesitates to draw hasty conclusions from such things, but could it be 'coming soon' after all?

March 27, 2011

F1 in HD

I'm not a fan so I didn't bother to tune in for the Australian Grand Prix but how did it look?

March 25, 2011

TiVo iPlayer app adds BBC HD programmes?

I saw this posted by DevilIncarnate over on a post on Cable Forum - it looks like the BBC iPlayer app on the TiVo box has now added BBC HD content, too. Can anyone with a TiVo please confirm?

Sky1 HD's Fringe renewed

It was back on our screens this week, looking glorious in HD, and will be back for a fourth season too: Fringe has been renewed by US network Fox despite pretty poor ratings in the US. Let's hope Sky airs it closer to the US broadcasts next season: the second half of the current (third) season took an age to reach these shores.
(Full story: Entertainment Weekly)

March 24, 2011

TiVo user guides

For those who weren't aware, two Virgin Media TiVo guides are available online:
TiVo Complete Guide
TiVo Quick Guide

Another TiVo software update released

Further to the post below I've learned from TiVo Community Forums that another software update was released this morning.  
  • New loader to resolve Cisco failure to boot STBs.
  • SD recording menus default for series link now set for New and reruns.
  • Recording capacity accuracy improved
  • In the VOD navigation pane, the “available until” pane is now displayed correctly.
  • Greying out of channels now recovers when RF is recovered.
  • Channel logos no longer overlap programme synopsis.

TiVo: not just the third tuner added

From the Virgin Media Community Tivo forum (and posted on other blogs too), here's a list of what was delivered with the recent "Third Tuner" software update on the TiVo boxes:

•3rd Tuner support

•Recommendations improved by incorporating customer collaborative Thumbs data into the Discovery bar and recorded recommendations

•Box no longer displays ‘Channel not authorised’ during normal channel changes

•Customers no longer PIN challenged on watershed compliant channels

•Bookmarks supported in Movies

•Trailers now available and working for movies

•STB no longer reboots when return path is lost.

•Green button now links to catch-up content correctly

• Music playlist fixes

• Metadata improvements

• Quicker to restore TV service after reboot

• Medium description utilised in VoD screens (adds rating guidance information)

• User presented with choice of HD or SD assets in ‘Get from On Demand’ screen

• Front panel LED’s now function when box is in standby

Also, HD capacity now shows at 125 hours rather than 99.

March 22, 2011

Mad Men latest

Latest reports from the US suggest that the much-anticipated summer premiere of Sky Atlantic's Mad Men will be delayed further. The US network AMC, series creator Matthew Weiner and studio Lionsgate are reportedly closer to a deal for the upcoming fifth season, but the protracted negotiations have pushed the production’s usual schedule. The show normally starts shooting in spring and debuts in the US July, but without an agreement in place don't expect season five any time soon. Who knows? We may even have Sky Atlantic HD by the time it debuts.

TiVo media launch: March 30th

Virgin has sent out invites to the media for a launch party on Wednesday, March 30th for "the launch of Virgin Media’s exciting new TV service"

March 21, 2011

More new HD series arrive

Returning soon to Virgin Media:
  • Desperate Housewives - second half of season 7 - April on 4HD
  • Doctor Who - April 23 on BBC One HD
  • Fringe - second half of the excellent third season - March 23 on Sky1HD
  • Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena - Mar 21 on Sky1HD
  • The Chicago Code - May on Sky1 HD
  • The Defenders - Apr 8 on FX HD
  • The Runaway - Mar 31 on Sky1HD
  • V - season two - Mar 24 on Syfy HD

March 18, 2011

Still waiting for TiVo?

Me too. Just got this email from Virgin Media:
Thanks for registering to be in the running to get one of 1000 TiVo boxes, to enjoy on us for a year.
As much as we’d have loved you to win one, sadly you weren’t successful in securing a free TiVo box in our prize draw.
If you’d like to upgrade to our supercharged TV service, just sit tight. We're launching in April so we’ll be in touch in the coming weeks with an exclusive offer, just for our customers.
So, sorry all, no Nialli TiVo review on this blog for another few weeks. Ho hum

March 17, 2011

Fringe returns to Sky1 HD on Wednesday, March 23rd at 10pm

I've just seen an ad on Sky 1HD for Fringe's return next Wednesday (it was originally announced as returning in April). Hurrah!

Third tuner activated on TiVo boxes (updated)

Thanks to Ben for the following info:
The third tuner on the TiVo box went live this morning. I can also confirm it will record three channels at the same time - I now have three programmes set to record at 10pm this evening, where last night it had found another showing of the lowest priority one.

There seem to be other small changes too but I'm sure more info will come throughout the day on the forums.
It's also just been Tweeted by Virgin Media:
virginmedia Virgin Media

TIVO:: Great news! We've just enabled the 3rd tuner on our TiVo-powered service! For more info on TiVo check out
And there are reports on the (ridiculously long) Cable Forum TiVo thread that HD recording space has increased too as part of the code drop, presumably as some development code is removed from the mix. HD recording time now increased from 99 hours to 125.
Can't verify this myself (still no TiVo call/email from Virgin Media) but hopefully the more fortunate can comment.

March 15, 2011

How Virgin Customer Service deals with questions about Sky Atlantic

Amusing-but-true from The Guardian:
Never let it be said that Virgin Media lacks a strategy to deal with the absence of shiny new Sky Atlantic from its screens. We only mention this after Monkey's uncle called the cable operator to inquire if it would be available to Virgin customers any time soon. The operator sounded mildly confused – we may paraphrase slightly – before searching his "system" for information. "Oh, here's something," he said, before appearing to read something from his screen. "Virgin Media customers will start calling and asking about Sky Atlantic. Do not tell them it won't be available to them. Instead emphasise all the great entertainment channels we have on Virgin Media." He added: "So in answer to your question, I don't know. You'll have to phone back on Tuesday."

March 12, 2011

BT Vision v Sky v Virgin Media

On The Register there's a pretty detailed comparison of the three main pay-TV providers for those not sure which will best suit them come the analogue TV turn off next year. Virgin Media comes out top, scoring 80% despite the review not covering TiVo, whilst Sky is scored down at 75% due to Sky's lack of a decent on demand service (Anytime+ is still "coming soon" for many areas). BT Vision lags last with a 70% rating, picture quality being the main criticism.

March 11, 2011

The TiVo remote

Branson on TiVo

Richard Branson has little to do with the day-to-day running of Virgin Media these days - he's just the face we all associate with the Virgin brand. He still emerges from his tropical paradise lifestyle though when there's something new to promote, so T3 has a few comments from him on TiVo:
"I think that it is fantastic," Branson told T3 in an exclusive interview.
"There's numerous things one can do and I think that we have finally got a weapon that can give Sky a run for their money.
"We may well get thousands of people switching over from Sky to Virgin; it's a weapon that we've got that they can never develop which obviously gives us a bit of an advantage."
Of course it's doubtful that his Necker Island is on the Virgin Media network, but I'm sure he could get one of the early TiVo boxes easier than some of us loyal VIP50 customers...

March 10, 2011

BBC focussing on more HD than 3D

Rather than invest in 3D the BBC intends to place greater focus on making high definition production and distribution an "integral and seamless" part of its operation. (source: Telegraph)
The BBC is planning a series of limited technical trials of 3D production technology, including at Wimbledon this summer, but described them as “experiments” designed to “explore the creative potential of the new format, evaluate the different technology options and help us contribute to the standardisation process”.

Quite right, I say. Although Virgin has only dabbled in 3D with some on-demand films and documenataries, all the 3D hype on Sky has reportedly only attracted around 70,000 subscribers to its new 3D TV channel since it launched in October last year.
I'm somewhat surprised to see the BBC HD channel still showing a number of BBC1 shows (isn't that what BBC1 HD is for?) - you would have thought they could fill it with content from BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, BBC News and the children's channels. It would also be good to see the iPlayer HD content include complete series (like they do in SD) rather than just episodes from the last seven days - maybe that will be addressed when the TiVo iPlayer App is fully available and has HD content.

March 09, 2011

500Gb TiVo on its way

Virgin are going to be launching a 500Gb TiVo box shortly, no dates yet but I'm reliably informed by Square Eyes that it will be £49.95 with the £40 install, customers must also sign up for 12 months Tivo (£3 a month). All subject to last minute price adjustments of course, but expected to launch very soon. Mr Eyes reckons that the V+ is likely to be phased out, and the Tivo style box will take its place - that would seem to be borne out by the fact that the lucky few who have had TiVo installed have been allowed to keep their existing V+ boxes as a second box - Virgin dont' appear to be recovering them for redistribution.
For those who want to go TiVo but haven't fancied the price of entry, this cheaper box would appear to be a mighty fine deal.
I'd imagine the hardware will be the same as the 1Tb TiVo only with a smaller drive. I've also heard that a third box, with a 250Gb drive may complete the lineup later in the year. No idea on pricing or dates.

March 08, 2011

Ordering TiVo online

Regular Cable Forum poster and VM employee Digital Fanatic says:
I've been told that pre regs will receive a special email with ordering details, you will then order online before any other customers.
Once all pre regs have install dates, then it will be opened up to other customers and then new customers after that.
You should get your email towards the end of the month [March]...It's going to be quicker than calling everyone and you should have an install in April.
For those of us still waiting for that call (and from the poll I ran on the blog, that's 91% of the 500+ respondents) it's been a frustrating wait but hopefully almost over. Let's hope we get a discount that makes it worthwhile.

March 04, 2011

If you have TiVo, get on the map

TiVo Central has an interesting map showing where UK TiVo users are based: TiVo map

Extensive review of TiVo on Pocket Lint

Long review and some great pictures of the TiVo over on PocketLint. Here's their summary:

So there you have it the Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo box – not just an upgrade for the company, but perhaps television per se. At £199, the “activation fee” may seem steep to some, especially when combined with the £40 installation cost and £3 per month extra on the bill, but not only is it cheaper than Sky’s initial HD device was when it was launched, it’s also a small price to pay for a remarkably powerful slice of technology.
It does suffer from the occasional gltch, after all these are early days and teething troubles are to be expected, but it is undoubtedly the future of TV. And it’s here. Now.
Once you’ve spent some time navigating around the gloriously designed menu structure and search functionality, you may never want to rely on plain old linear TV again. It’s all well and good having a billion HD channels, but if you can’t choose what to watch when you want to watch it, and in such style to boot, then what’s the point. There’s never anything good on.
There is on Virgin Media’s TiVo box.

Read more: Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo review - Pocket-lint

Treme, Entourage season 7 on iTunes

Cover ArtIt looks like some of Sky Atlantic's HBO series are appearing legitimately on the UK iTunes store after all. Boardwalk Empire has still to appear, but both Treme and Entourage season 7 are available with a "season pass". What is more Treme is cheaper than the forthcoming DVDs from the US (£16.99) but episodes are only appearing after being broadcast on Sky Atlantic.

March 03, 2011

New blog poll for TiVo

I've added a poll to see how many visitors to the blog registered an interest in TiVo and have been called by Virgin Media. Please let me know what you think. Poll closes midday next Monday.

BBC iPlayer launches on TiVo

BBC iPlayer launched on TiVo yesterday (Wednesday) via the red button. Discussion thread here: Apparently it's still in beta so HD will come later (you can access HD content in the VM VoD menus) and the App comes via the TiVo's dedicated 10Mbs connection.
More content than VM's V+ iPlayer selection, including radio and subtitles.