June 30, 2011

Virgin Media and Spotify music service: update

Virgin Media is close to announcing a deal with Spotify and four record companies to launch a new digital music service – more than two years after first unveiling plans to do so.
The negotiations, with a deal now agreed in principle and “all but signed” according to sources, have taken such a protracted amount of time to complete because Virgin Media also had to separately agree terms with Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music and Warner Music as they have the power to veto any deal Spotify does.
Assuming the final details are smoothed out it is understood that Virgin Media plans a limited trial of the service over the summer with a full consumer launch planned for the fourth quarter this year.
Source: PaidContent.

Virgin Media launches the TiVo for new customers

July is when customers new to Virgin Media are able to order TiVo, and July starts tomorrow, so Virgin's marketing campaign kicks off this weekend with some new ads featuring Marc Warren and  "the best way to watch TV." I can't find the ads online yet but once I do I will post the videos.
We'll soon be sick of the sight of them no doubt, but at least we can fast forward through them these days.

June 27, 2011

Demand for more HD channels on Virgin Media still high

According to the week-long poll I've just run on this blog there's still a lot of frustrated Virgin Media customers out there waiting for more HD channels. Of the 765 who voted 296 (38%) want Sky Atlantic HD to be top of Virgin's shopping list, whilst another 202 want "other" HD channels and a further 92 seek the ITV channels in high def. In total that's three quarters of respondents think that Virgin Media should be prioritising the delivery of more HD content over improvements to TiVo (18% - let's be honest, it's pretty good already) and the roll out of 100mb broadband (a surprisingly small 35 votes).
Given that this blog is still primarily an HD forum, I guess it's not so surprising but I was taken aback as to how high the demand is for Sky Atlantic. It's a gaping hole in the VM channel line up and, as I've said before, I think it's time Mr Berkett's team sat down with Sky and thrashed out a deal. I've been fortunate enough to see Boardwalk Empire, Temple Gradin and Game of Thrones and they are all outstanding television, so isn't it about time we had them on Virgin Media? And how about a few other HD channels too? Surely the likes of ESPN America HD, History HD and Disney Cinemagic HD cannot be too expensive to close a deal on?
It's been a while since the arrival of the last HD channels on our platform, the long-promised Sky on demand content still has yet to arrive and best not mention the Sky Red Button service, so come on Mr Berkett, please listen to us and give us the additional HD services we long for.

Pay Per View event on TiVo

According to Media Boy's Blog:
Virgin Media has launched two new channels for TiVo viewers.

  • Channel 555 is for TiVo Pay Per View Events (on non-TiVo boxes it is on channel 0)
  • Channel 554 is an information channel on how to order Pay Per View Events, PPV Live Events Help

June 26, 2011

Weekly TiVo guides from Virgin Media

Virgin are sending out weekly guides to getting more from your TiVo. If you didn't received the first one this week you can see similar tips online at
Getting Started
Using Wishlists
Search & Browse
Apps & Remote Record

June 23, 2011

New V+ software

There is new software being rolled out to V+ boxes - I got mine overnight. As reported by Media Boy the new code has a number of fixes:
  • Clear any programmes that you haven't been able to delete.
  • The digits on the clock that comes up are also clearer.
  • Standby mode there are no green light around the control buttons.
  • The new code will start with ''UK5'' right now the V+ Boxes are running with ''UK4''
The new home page on V+ boxes is now:

1 TV Guide
2 On Demand & Catch up TV
3 Virgin Central
4 Interactive
5 Search
6 Help
7 Settings

A quick check this morning suggests that the Time Remaining bug has also been fixed.

June 22, 2011

Another TiVo review

This one's in PC Pro. Verdict:
A huge advance on the V+ box, with more capacity, features and better performance; the 1TB version is too expensive, though.
Incidentally, Sky has reduced the price of its 1TB box to £149 now.

June 21, 2011

TiVo iPhone and Android apps on the way

It is being reported that TiVo apps are on their way for both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. More details: TiVo iPhone and Android apps "coming soon"

June 18, 2011

What do you want next from Virgin Media?

My last post about Sky Atlantic still being a satellite exclusive provoked a fair amount of comment so I'm running a quick poll to see what the VMHD massive want next from Virgin Media. Given that Mr Berkett said a few years back that the company was no longer looking to compete with Sky in terms of owning or producing TV content any more, I've put a few options as to what some of VM's investment options are for the remainder of the year. My vote would be for Sky Atlantic HD, but let me know what you think.
(And I didn't include an "All of these" option as that wouldn't tell us anything!)

June 16, 2011

Nurse Jackie becomes another Sky Atlantic exclusive

This is all getting so predictable: barely a week after Sky acquired the exclusive rights to E4's leading export Glee for Sky1, in it moves again and now BBC2's Nurse Jackie will be exclusive on Sky Atlantic from season three.
It's getting to the point where it is difficult to find any new US imports of note on the non-pay channels and those that do emerge and build an audience are soon gobbled up by the Sky chequebook as soon as the rights are renewed.
And there is still no news to report on Sky Atlantic appearing on Virgin Media soon, which is getting to be something of a joke now. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it has rapidly become an essential part of the UK pay-TV landscape and surely the VM management need to hammer out a deal now. Okay, so Mad Men won't appear on it until 2012 but the recent HBO exclusives of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones have been essential viewing for those who enjoy quality entertainment yet we're denied them, despite shelling out over £1200 a year for our home entertainment.
Is it really "a more exciting place to live" now, or should we start to "believe in better"?

June 13, 2011

Creating a Film folder in your TiVo My Shows

For those wanting to tidy up their My Shows listing by putting all recorded films in a single folder stomachmuscle posted this over on the VM TiVo forum in case you missed a similar suggestion posted on this blog a couple of months ago.
  • Make a Wish List, don't put any keywords in, just set the category to FILMS
  • Make the maximum amount of saved programmes equal to one
  • You now have a wish list search that will save one movie into a folder called FILMS - you have no control over the first movie that is recorded
  • However any movies that you subsequently choose to record will also save into the folder called FILMS

New mobile version of this blog

Those clever folk at Blogger have added a new mobile-friendly version of this blog, so if you access it from a mobile you should see a simpler, easier to navigate version.

June 07, 2011

Virgin announces Wimbledon in 3D

Press release:
We’re delighted to be offering our customers their second Grand Slam tennis tournament in 3D following on from the success of our exclusive coverage of the Roland Garros French Open – the first 3D tennis in the UK.
Virgin Media TV customers will be able to watch the Wimbledon men’s and women’s finals in 3D for no extra cost on channel 187. Customers who don’t have a 3D TV can still watch the tournament live in regular 2D in either SD or HD on BBC1 (channel 101) and BBC1 HD (channel 187).

June 06, 2011

More4 HD expected in 2011

According to this document from Channel 4, we should be seeing an HD version of More4 this year.
Channel 4 has been commissioning and transmitting programmes in HD since the launch of C4 HD in December 2007. With the launch of E4HD in 2008, Film4HD in 2009, and the anticipated launch of More4HD in 2011, HD has become core to C4 commissioning and transmission activities and Channel 4 now takes the view that HD is becoming the standard technology across television production. As such from 1st July 2011, Channel 4’s standard delivery requirement will be the High Definition format.
Incidentally, I'm surprised to see Film4 HD is still a Virgin Media exclusive - I would have thought Sky would it too by now.

June 05, 2011

3D failing at the US box office

Good news if, like me, you don't like 3D movies at the cinema: two of the summer's 3D blockbusters have proven far less successful at the US box office than expected - could the awful sunglass experience be on the way out? According to Entertainment Weekly:
The last two weeks will not go down as 3-D’s greatest moment. First there was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which earned just 46 percent of its $90.2 million opening from 3-D showings. That was the second-worst 3-D debut — on a percentage-of-gross basis — since November 2008. And then Kung Fu Panda 2‘s three-dimensional screenings could muster only 45 percent of its $60.9 million opening. For both films, nearly two-thirds of moviegoers opted for the 2-D version. Depending on who you ask, that’s either an indication that audiences are starting to reject 3-D cinema, or simply a blip in 3-D’s otherwise promising future. But Wall Street investors aren’t liking what they’re seeing, causing shares of the leading 3-D technology company RealD to tumble 26 percent the last two weeks.
Of course there may well be other factors influencing audiences (both films are sequels, albeit with reviews that promised "a bit better than the last one") but it would be great to see cinemas in the UK at least giving us the option of 2D showings for some of the better films foisted upon us as over-priced 3D.

June 03, 2011

(Not very good) TiVo photo App added

Virgin Media has launched a new Photo Gallery App on the TiVo, meaning that you can browse your Facebook, Flickr or Picasa photo albums on your TV. The app also allows users to create slideshow galleries of images.
To use it you have to create a TiVo Apps log in if you haven't got one already (www.virginmedia.com/mytivoapps). Just tried it with my Flickr account: it's nothing special but seems to work if a wee bit slow.

June 01, 2011


It's long, it's not all relevant to VM's TiVo, but it's a cracking read nevertheless. Check out http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=419994 for an insight into how TiVo works in the US and may well work here in the not-too-distant future.
Update: try this link for more pertinent info
TiVo Premiere FAQ
(Thanks Jon)