January 31, 2012

Sky announces results and new services

From MediaGuardian:
BSkyB is to launch an internet television service in the first half of this year and will give customers the chance to pay for downloading films without a contract or satellite dish. Sky said the new service will allow customers to pay to watch its content on devices connected to the internet, including PCs, laptops, smartphones, games consoles and TVs. It will allow customers to choose whether to pay monthly, or rent a movie on a pay-as-you-go basis, it added. The new service will be available to non-subscribers via different packages. These include a monthly payment for unlimited access to Sky Movies, or viewers can rent a single film on a simple, pay-as-you-go basis.
BSkyB announced yesterday that the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player TV catchup services are to be available to its subscribers for the first time via the Sky Anytime+ video-on-demand offering.
Sky's new venture comes as it announced a slowdown in the number of subscribers signing up to its television services in the three months to 31 December. The figure was 40,000, down from 140,000 during the same period the previous year.

January 29, 2012

Sky Atlantic: one year old this week

It's been a year since Sky launched Sky Atlantic for its customers and Virgin Media baulked at the price Sky asked for it. In that time there have only been two series on the channel that have led me to rely on the "generosity of others": Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. Other than those two, for me attractions on the channel have been relatively light. Sure, Mad Men will be a treat when it finally returns but to be honest I've been less impressed than I thought I would be and certainly not tempted to abandon my TiVo and head for the dark side. There are a few great series being repeated - Seinfeld and The Wire are now being re-broadcast in heavy rotation on Atlantic - but I've got those on disc already as have most who know them.
Having said all that, I'd still love to have Atlantic, even just in standard def.
This week sees the first anniversary of the launch of Atlantic (Feb 1) and the following week has Virgin Media's Full Year and Q4 2011 Results and Strategy Update on Feb 8th, so if there is going to be any carriage announcement for Atlantic expect it in the next few days. I don't expect anything but you never know - I think we have all the Sky channels in standard def except Atlantic and of course we have Sky1, the movie channels and Sport 1 and 2 in HD on Virgin. We even have Sky Anytime (although I haven't seen any of the promised HD on that yet) so it's odd that Atlantic is still held back.
So maybe Virgin could spare a few quid from that mega broadband upgrade £120m they're spending and at least give us Sky Atlantic SD. Pretty please?

January 25, 2012

New TiVo upgrade roll out confirmed

According to my TiVo's Discovery Bar the latest software update mentioned in my previous post will be deployed at 3am between 31st January and 9th February for TiVo(s) left on overnight.

January 22, 2012

New TiVo upgrade being tested

Virgin Media is piloting a small new code release for TiVo in a small number of areas at the moment.
In addition to a number of fixes after this software release a number of unsupported Apps will cease to work as these Apps create stability risks to the TiVo platform.
Virgin says "We know you're interested in using this sort of companion app so we're hard a work adding adding new features to our forthcoming TiVo Buddy app which we'll be launching later this year."
Jason has a longer post on this if you want to know more.
UPDATED: the "Apps" referred to aren't on the TiVo but to control the TiVo from smart phones or tablets.

January 16, 2012

Sky Sports F1 confirmed for Virgin Media

Virgin Media has confirmed that it will carry Sky's new F1 channel for its 9th March launch - but not in HD. It will be available to subscribers to the Sky Sports channels for no extra charge.
Full details below:
"Virgin Media, one of the UK's leading entertainment and communications companies, will be making the new Formula 1 channel from Sky Sports available to Virgin Media customers, ensuring they will be able to watch every possible minute of the Formula 1TM Grand Prix 2012 season.
"The new channel, Sky Sports F1, will join Virgin Media’s TV service from its launch in March. The channel will be dedicated to comprehensive reporting of the world's most prestigious and popular motorsport series, including live coverage of every race, practice, and qualifying session. Martin Brundle, David Croft, Georgie Thompson, Ted Kravitz, Simon Lazenby, Natalie Pinkham and Steve Rider will bring viewers all the news, views and live action from the start of the new Formula 1 season.
"The channel will be added to the complete Sky Sports package available through Virgin Media, alongside Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports 4. Subscribers to this package will have the channel added automatically at launch. Sky Sports News is separately included in all pay TV tiers.
"Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this new channel right from the off as it’s certain to be an exciting Formula 1 season with a record number of races and six former or current world champions racing for the title.”
"Rob Webster, director of Sky’s commercial group, adds: “As the new home of the world’s most exciting motorsport series, Formula 1 is going to get the full Sky Sports treatment. Extending the distribution of our dedicated channel is great news for all Sky Sports subscribers, enabling millions of pay TV homes to enjoy the benefits of our innovative coverage and investment in must-see content.”

The new Lost?

Coming to Watch HD (channel 125) in March, from J J Abrams, one of the co-creators of Lost.

January 15, 2012

New and returning HD series on Virgin Media

Birdsong - January 22 at 9pm on BBC One
Homeland - Feb 18 on Channel 4
Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - January 26 on E4
Skins S6 - January 23 on E4
Mad Dogs S2 - January 19 at 9pm on Sky1
Spartacus Vengeance - January 30 on Sky 1
Alcatraz S1 - March on Watch (new JJ Abrams series)
Dexter S6 - Spring 2012 on FX
Falling Skies S2 - July on FX
Grimm - Feb 13 at 9pm on Watch
Leverage S3 - Feb 7 at 10pm on FX
Lost Girl S2 - January 19 at 9pm on Syfy
Suits - January 17 at 9pm on Dave
The Walking Dead S2(continued) - February 17 at 10pm on FX
True Blood S4 - Feb 5 at 10pm on FX

January 12, 2012

BBC F1 for 2012

The BBC's F1 line up for the forthcoming season is
  • China - 15 April
  • Spain - 13 May
  • Monaco - 27 May
  • Europe - 24 June
  • Britain - 8 July
  • Belgium - 2 September
  • Singapore - 23 September
  • Korea - 14 October
  • Abu Dhabi - 4 November
  • Brazil - 25 November
Still no word on whether Sky F1 or Sky F1 HD will be available on Virgin Media, so this may be the only F1 on VM

January 11, 2012

Reminders for TiVo via Net Remote

Andy has added a Reminders feature to the Net Remote application which allows users to programme reminders so that their TiVo box changes channel when the reminder time is reached.  He suggest that this might help people who are missing the reminder function that the V+ boxes had.
Details can be found on his website

Virgin Media plans to double the speed of its customers' broadband

Virgin Media is to spend £110m on the 18-month upgrade programme.
The company says that those who subscribe to its up to 10Mb service – 74% of its 4.1m internet subscribers – will see their speed double to 20Mb.
Those on its up to 20Mb tier, 12% of the total subscriber base, will see their speed tripled to 60Mb.
The 9% who take 30Mb broadband will rise to 60Mb.
And the 5% who take services from 50Mb to 100Mb will rise to a speed of between 100Mb and 120Mb.
The top-tier speed – at 120Mb it will be the quickest offered in the UK – will enable customers to download a high-definition movie in about five minutes.
"As people are increasingly doing more online, and getting connected to the internet with lots of different devices, having a fast, reliable broadband service should not be a luxury," said Neil Berkett, the chief executive of Virgin Media.
"We want to make sure that consumers have access to the best value broadband service and that means a superfast connection."
Virgin Media intends to mostly fund the programme with the remaining £100m of the proceeds of the sale of its 50% stake in UKTV to US TV company Scripps.