January 25, 2013

3D TV - it's dead Jim

Is there a future for 3D in the living room? I've never seen the appeal and am not a fan of it down at the local Picturehouse either. January's Consumer Electronics Show has for many performed the last rites on the struggling domestic tech:
From The Guardian's CES report:
New technologies dominate attention, not unlike crying babies, but the expo is just as notable for the technologies which appear to gasp, wheeze and die.
Many in Las Vegas agree that this year's biggest tombstone is for 3D. Last year's big thing, the great hope for TV makers desperate to boost sales, flopped in stores. Too expensive, too annoying, too limited, whatever the reasons, manufacturers got the message and switched to developing sharper "ultra HD" 2D screens.
Compared to last year, when you seemed to be offered 3D shades for every presentation, TV-related or not, this year only a few bothered. "Dead, dead, dead. Dead," said one buyer at ShowStoppers, a sideshow event held across from the convention centre.
And the BBC:
 "everyone has finally accepted that 3D TV is dead," with the glasses being reserved for gaming and the cinema.
 Does anyone watch Virgin's 3D on demand content? Give me HD any day.

January 23, 2013

Picturebox HD free in February

It's been a good month for Virgin Media film fans who don't pay the king's ransome demanded by Sky. First there was the arrival of TCM in high definition to sit alongside Film4 HD, and now they've announced free Picturebox for customers for the whole of February. Highlights for the month include
Love Actually, ET, the excellent Mystery Men, Incredible Hulk, The Hulk, Lost in Translation, Hellboy II and Scott Pilgrim.
Details on the VM website.

January 17, 2013

TCM HD and Cartoon Network HD arrive

Official confirmation from Virgin Media on the Turner HD channels:
Virgin Media has announced the arrival of two new vibrant HD channels, TCM HD (416) and Cartoon Network HD (732), plus the addition of TCM 2 (417) to its TV service at no extra cost, bolstering the total number of HD channels now available to 39.
Over the coming months the new line-up of Turner Broadcasting channels will see the arrival of legendary award-winning classic and contemporary movies in splendid HD, with titles including An Affair to Remember, Thomas Crown Affair, 300, The Fugitive, The Matrix and In Her Shoes.
TCM HD will also be showing a range of epic series for the first time in native HD which will include, Band of Brothers, Deadwood (S3) and exclusive to TCM Hell on Wheels Series 2 (from the makers of Mad Men and The Walking Dead) and all new Wild Boys (S1).
With only a few weeks to go until the half-term holidays Cartoon Network is hosting daily HD telly marathons to keep the whole family entertained, including Ben 10, Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball, The Regular Show and Johnny Test, as well as CGI series Dreamworks Dragons: Riders of Berk and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Virgin Media TiVo® customers will also be able to test their puzzle solving skills with two interactive games. By simply pressing the red button on their TiVo remote they’ll be transported into the wacky world of Tom & Jerry’s Hidden Maze and the Scooby Doo Creepy Cake Factory, plus even more Ben 10 and The Amazing World of Gumball content is available through Virgin Media’s exclusive Cartoon Network TiVo app.
Entertainment from Cartoon Network, Cartoonito and Boomerang will be made available on Virgin TV Anywhere across a range of devices, as well as 3D on demand on Virgin TV later this year.
Richard Wheeler, head of content acquisition at Virgin Media said: “What better way to kick-start the new year than announce the launch of two new HD channels for our customers at no extra cost. With half-term and major movie events like the Oscars just around the corner there’s plenty of action and entertainment for all the family on Virgin Media TV in HD.”
Anthony Lukom, Turner UK general manager and managing director adds: “It’s fantastic news that Virgin Media customers now have the opportunity to watch TCM’s vast library of films and first run cinematic series such as Hell on Wheels and Wild Boys, as well as Cartoon Network’s much loved kids’ shows in HD quality format. This is another exciting step in our network’s continuing evolution, giving our growing audiences outstanding viewer experiences.”

January 15, 2013

Turner HD channels to arrive on VM this week?

Media Boy's insider has revealed that two new HD channels are coming to Virgin Media this week as part of the XL package: TCM HD and Cartoon Network HD. Hurrah!
TCM 2 is added to the M+ package. Hopefully we'll get Turner's CNN in widescreen too?
Still now word on any additional Sky channels yet.

January 11, 2013

VM adding channels in January?

Rumours have started again that VM are planning to add channels this month. Speculation appears to centre around those hardy perennials Sky News HD, Sky Sports News HD and Sky Atlantic SD, and there's also the Turner HD offerings (TCM and Cartoon Network) being suggested. Active thread over on Cable Forum.
Meanwhile, ITV1 reverts back to being called ITV next week and BBC1 Scotland HD launches for those north of the border.

January 09, 2013

TiVo Mini Extender announced in the US

TiVo in the US has announced the TiVo Mini, a smaller, more efficient set-top box that extends a TiVo into other rooms of the house. The Mini can connect to the TiVo via Ethernet or coax and has HDMI output as well as component and composite. More details on Endgadget. No word if this will be available for Virgin Media TiVo users.

January 04, 2013

New and returning US HD imports

If you are wondering when your favourite US imports are returning, check out this useful site: GeekTown

January 02, 2013

That number on Sky Sports live footie

Sky Sports live coverage of Premiership games has recently included a rather obtrusive multi digit number in the bottom left of the screen. This started at the end of last year and is apparently an initiative by Sky to clamp down on personal Sky Sports subs being used in commercial premises (mainly pubs I guess). (It's not just on Virgin Media - it's the same for Sky subscribers, albeit in a difference position on the screen.)
I found it annoying but noticed at the weekend that the number disappears if you pause a match and then restart it with a second or two's delay. Much better.