April 05, 2011

TechRadar pitches Virgin's Tivo against the Sky+ 1Tb

...and draws a pretty lame conclusion; Sky better for content, Virgin better for on demand. They like the simplicity of Sky's EPG but also impressed by the intelligence of the TiVo's interface. Hardly rocket science and to me it smacked a bit of "let's not piss off Sky". Full feature at TechRadar


paininthegulliver said...

Sky does have more content.

if you take all TV services including Movies/Sports/HD its actually about the same price for both TV services and you get something like 20 more HD channels on Sky.

Virgin for TV is ridiculously over priced nice EPG or not.

iggypopbarker said...

I thought it was a well balanced argument and couldn't detect any preference toward Sky. They basically state that Sky has more channels, HD and 3D whereas VM has a superb and intelligent EPG and unparallelled VOD. How can you dispute any of this?

Paul said...

"it smacked a bit of "let's not piss off Sky""
That is the sort of comment you expect to get from a Virgin Media ad sight.

Square eyes said...

Since when does content come into the arguement when they are comparing the boxes?

so the comment about HD & 3D is pointless. The TIVO box is cheaper & better.

Paul said...

"The TIVO box is cheaper & better."
Depends who you are.
New virgin customers - £199.
New sky customers - Free.Free box.Free installation.
Existing customers of both - variable,but not much different,depending on your package.
"Since when does content come into the arguement when they are comparing the boxes?"
Read the review,it compares the boxes and content.

Square eyes said...


you do not get a 1TB box free they are £250 with Sky, you only get a standard HD or Sky + free.

The review says compring TIVO against Sky HD 1TB

That to me say boxes

Nialli said...

@ Paul: "a Virgin Media ad sight (sic)"? I think you'll find this blog is sometimes anything but an ad for Virgin Media.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sorry square eyes on this occasion after disagree the comment about hd is not pointless,every review have commented regarding this.Most customers think it also,Just wish vm would notice it and finally do something about it.All we hear is coming soon.

streaky_7 said...

I must be reading it all wrong then. As surely content of TV is irrelevant when comparing the boxes. Because which ever box you get whether it be V HD, V+, Sky HD, SKY 1tb or TIVO the content is the same? No?

So if your comparing the boxes then you compare what the boxes have over and above the content. And if I'm not wrong TIVO wins? It has the same 1tb plus it can do all the other tricks the sky box can't. So it's a better box. If content is relevant then you could argue Sky basic Sky+ box is better than TiVo. Which it isn't.

Any argument over and above box performance isn't relevant to this argument.

Don't get me wrong, I too would love more HD channels and 3D channels just as Sky customers probably would love a better VOD service. But none of that is relevant to the title of the techradar article pitching TiVo against sky's 1tb box.

Anonymous said...

Great news over on cable forum,DF is saying that install free during april and vip 20/50 will not after pay the £3 per month charge.This is defo a game changer,I already have tivo and is it worth £149 a bit defo

streaky_7 said...

Thats the sort of news I like to hear. As you say, a game changer!

I think they will get a lot more early adopters if this turns out to be true!!!

Richard said...

I love the way reviews can come to a conclusion on this sort of box when they haven't spent much time with it. Tivo is so much better than any other PVR, and you understand why as you learn the tricks. A review doesnt give you this.
When we review a DAB radio, we don't review the content, why is content part of the story in this review.
Content is a sky vs virgin argument not a 1TB Sky HD box vs VM tivo box.
The battle of the boxes is about style, form and function (and price.

Square eyes said...

I am glad to see that I am not the only one who asked the question "what the hell has content got to do with the box". This is why I said "so commenting on HD & 3D is pointless" What have they got to do with the box.

Well to be honest nothing, when reading the review on the boxes, thought it was still wiping the ass of Sky.

Anonymous said...

Total agree with the wiping the ass of sky,But still need content now to support tivo.Just think that current content is not enough to tempt most sky viewers to cross back to vm,new channels should be a prioty to backup the very impressive tivo

Square eyes said...

That is not the point, when reviewing the box - review the box. The content does not form part of the box & its functions. The content is what you get provided with, it has no say in how the box operates.

Thats my point - the review was for the boxes.

Paul said...

"Thats my point - the review was for the boxes."
Good grief, read the review.
page 1.Ease of use.
page 2.CONTENT.
page 3.Price and conclusion.
It doesn't matter what you think the review should be about, it includes content.
It does tell you how the the boxes perform, but it bloody well includes, say it with me, Content.
And if Sky only had, lets say five crappy channels, you'd be jumping all over the content issue, instead of trying to make out its a non issue.

streaky_7 said...

But the point is, as it says in the header, it's a review between a sky+ 1tb box and TiVo. Which should have nothing to do with content. As some of us, as I believe reading back, some of us pointed out and justified isn't a relevant issue when justifying the boxes. If you include content then arguably ANY sky box would beat TiVo. But content is irrelevant when comparing boxes.

Content is comparing sky and vm tv. In this case sky would probably win depending on your view on VOD.

When comparing any boxes out there TiVo would probably win due to the extras it does over and above having a recording capability and 1tb hard drive.

The title of the review says it is comparing a TiVo box and a Sky+ 1tb box. So in that case, surely TiVo wins????

Jacqueline said...
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Paul said...

I'm going to say this once more, for all the idiots out there. The blog is about Techradars article. An article with the headline
"Virgin Media Tivo vs Sky HD: which is best for you?"
and a sub-line
"The UK's two biggest Pay TV providers go head to head"
and in the article it has a page, titled, CONTENT. On the last page, price and conclusion, the writer gives you his point of view on "both" content "and" boxes.
Some people here need to read things properly, and be rational, instead of having the need to say things like "surely TiVo wins????"
Its immature,,,grow up.

streaky_7 said...

@ Paul

HAHA - your funny. you call me an idiot and then suggest I am immature.

I believe I can have an opinion just like you clearly feel you can. Only I don't resort to calling people idiots and immature.

I stand by my point which I have made but can only apologise if it has made you so angry - may I suggest some anger management classes to relieve you VM frustrations?

Joking aside, I know what your saying Paul, I haven't denied there is a section in the review for content, BUT, all I and some others are saying, is we believe content isn't relevant when comparing the boxes. Because it doesn't matter what box you compare, Sky will arguably always win as the content doesn't change with a box. We just felt like a review from someone like TechRadar would have kept it down to the performance of the machines.

Which goes back to Nialli's original point of "it smacked a bit of "let's not piss off Sky"". As I think he felt content was only reviewed to give the article balance because if it were just on the boxes, dare I say it, surely the Tivo wins???

Seriously though, I know you are frustrated at some comments including mine, but remember points of view can get lost in emails. I'm sure if we were talking in person our points of view wouldn't come across in the way they sometimes can appear in text and we would have a very pleasant conversation without frustrations boiling over.

Hope you have a good day!

Richard said...

if they are reviewing the box, they they should discuss the features properly and not gloss over them.

the review barely mentions wishlists and browse.
* neglected to mention that you can look for programs by title not time. (major thing for tivo)
* focused on the epg. which is a table of content and the VM is just as easy as the sky... just different (use the blue button rather than tabs)
* neglected to cover how recording season pass is more versatile (new or old progs. how many, channel independent)

it was obvious the reviewer is familiar with sky and has no 'real life' experience with tivo. therefore they could compare what they know (the sky box) with equivalent tivo functions. as such they end up with the content war because in their eyes the difference is minor and tivo does everything sky+ hd does.

as for 3d content. VM does 3d content with on-demand (if tivo doesn't it will shortly i bet)
it took me 20 seconds to confirm this with a google search.

it is a shame because it is a missed opportunity and very sloppy review where the content wasn't validated.
when I was a product manager at a s/w company, I would have responded to this type of article to highlight the inaccuracies.

Richard said...

@ streaky and paul... calm down
content shouldn't be part of the discussion but is for valid reasons.

my personal view is there is plenty of content on VM and the argument is a nonsense.

HD content may be less but as mentioned in a different thread most is just rehashed content noone watches anyway.
as the tivo box (and v+ box) upscale then most people dont notice the difference in most programs anyway. The article neglected to mention HD is free with VM (except premium channels) but at a cost with sky.

the other channels that are not on VM and are on sky will be low aspiration channels on the whole. hence why vm hasnt got them. OK there are some exceptions but VM will buy some over time.

Is sky Atlantic really a reason to go to sky? I think not.

Is tivo a reason to go to VM? maybe but not yet as people dont get it, as demonstrated by the article which is not well written.

Paul said...

"The article neglected to mention HD is free with VM (except premium channels)"
And this differs from Sky, how?

streaky_7 said...

I think he means sky charge something like £10 a month for HD channels. Regardless of which ones you are entitled too based on your tv package.

Whereas all HD on VM is free apart from movies and sports where there is an additional £7 charge.

Richard said...

From Sky site...
With Sky+HD, you could access over 50‡ HD channels, including Sky Atlantic HD, Sky1 HD and Sky Living HD, plus your everyday favourites like BBC One HD and Channel 4 HD. The HD channels you receive depend on your Sky TV package – just add the HD Pack for £10.25 extra a month.

Nialli said...

Another review, this one lighter than a slice of Nimble, from the Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology/2011/04/08/virgin-media-tivo-115875-23045950/. Never one to shy away from a wee dig at Sky ;o)

Paul said...

From streaky_7
"Whereas all HD on VM is free"
no it isn't, because he goes on to say
"apart from movies and sports where there is an additional £7 charge."
Just £3.25 less, for less premium channels.
And Sky are expected to drop the extra charge for HD, as they did for Sky+.

Nialli said...

Sorry Paul, but you're wrong on this. VM customers only pay for the Sky Sports & Movies combination: the other HD channels we get are included in the regular TV packages. Not true of Sky.
Also, that "Sky are expected to drop the extra charge for HD, as they did for Sky+" rumour has been doing the rounds on forums since HD first arrived and is still just wishful thinking.

Paul said...

Thats why I highlighted "movies and sports"
Not wrong at all.
The dropping of the Sky+ subscription was only "rumour and wishful thinking". But it happened.
Virgins XL package, without a phoneline, costs £30.50 a month. Thats without Sky movies and sport, thats an extra.
Films on demand?
Picturebox, £5.00 a month. But not a great selection.
Filmflex, from 99p.
Virgin are just as good as Sky at taking your money.

Richard said...

@paul - this is going way off track.
If you want a discussion on HD, we can also go into the technicalities of what an HD transmission really means and the quality of the source material. Then we can get picky on which HD service is better. However this forum is the right place for this discussion.

the comment about HD pricing was to illustrate the poor quality of the review with a lack of basic information which is public domain when you have a look at the company web sites for VM and sky.

The article comments on half information not the full information about various points. ie not well written. I think I can assume we all agree on this point.

A review cannot comment on rumour or speculation in its comparison.

Richard said...
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Richard said...

this is going way off track.

the comment about pricing was just to illustrate the quality of the review being poor.

constant half truths in the article with a lack of research and checking of basic information.

Richard said...

@ Nialli re mirror article

you should put this as a main entry to the blog. its short and sweet as you say but it focuses on the USPs so removes the clutter that distracts.

Paul said...

And the daily mirror would never have a bad thing to say about a Murdoch product,ever.

Square eyes said...


Prior to HD being launched back in the days of NTL & Telewest, a customer who only had a "solus" TV - That is TV only - that customer always paid a higher premium for there package.

The premium was always increased by £5-6, now the company name is Virgin it still has not changed its policy regarding "solus" TV packages. Hence why if you have TV only you pay that little extra.

M+TV - £12.50
LTV - £17.50
XLTV - £30.50

These prices are exactly the same for a customer that does not have a V+, VHD or Tivo box.

Each of the above packages contain HD which is given free, the only HD channels which are charged for are "sports & movies" and that is because of an agreement with Sky that Virgin would not provide these free like the rest of the HD content. Unlike Sky who charge for £10 subscription for HD on whichever package you have with or without the premium channels - sports & movies.

Paul said...

@ square eyes.
"Each of the above packages contain HD which is given free, the only HD channels which are charged for are "sports & movies""
Thats not strictly true though, is it?
If your an m+ or L customer you only get the terrestrial channels and Film 4 in HD. To get all the HD channels these customers have to pay an extra seventeen and thirteen pounds respectively. Thats quite a hike, and to me, its the same kind of tax that Sky inflict on its customers.
If and when Sky drops the ten pound charge, are you going to say their HD is free? or will you move on to the Sky charge too much argument?
At the end of the day, the only truly free HD (but only terrestrial channels), comes from Freeview and Freesat.

Square eyes said...


I would like to know which planet you live on.

Sorry Nialli I know you want us to try and cut out the remarks about other posters, but this guy does not have a clue what he is talking about.

I know you tried to explain, which to me was simple to understand, perhaps we need to use a crayon or draw a picture - you tell me!!!

Paul said...

@ square eyes.
Why don't you explain? Nothing I've said is wrong. M+ and L customers get the same HD channels as Freesat customers. To get more, they pay extra. Am I wrong?

Square eyes said...


Completely wrong, VM customers get HD channels FREE, the packages differ and customer pay a different cost for the packages.

With Freesat & Freeview yes you get the basics, yes with M+ & LTV you also get the basics, however you do do not pay any extra just because they have HD channel, you pay extra because the content line up give you more channels which are not available on Freesat or Freeview- example - Sky 1 & 2, Universal etc...
The XLTV package is £26 and you receive all the HD channels if you have a V+, VHD or Tivo. If you dont have one of the above, just a standard digital box you still pay £26 for the XLTV - so the HD is included at NO EXTRA COST.

If you have Sky and have 1 mix or 6 mixes you still get charged £10 for HD if you want HD programmes.

1 mix - £19 without HD
1 mix - £29 with HD

6 mix - £25.50 without HD
6 mix - £35.50 with HD

And one last thing, Sky will not remove the charge for HD or the multiroom, that rumour has been floating around for years. Perhaps what you should do, is research stuff and investigate before making ridiculous statements.