March 31, 2014

New stuff on Netflix on TiVo

Netflix additions recently will excite those lacking a Sky Movies sub - say hello to Avengers Assemble, Toy Story 3 and a host of other new arrivals. There's a refresh of the BBC archive too by the look of things, with the first two seasons of Sherlock available. Fuller details over at

No Horizon box for Virgin Media customers

At a recent Broadcasting Press Guild event Virgin Media head honcho Tom Mockridge said that the success and continued growth of Virgin Media TiVo meant that Virgin Media wasn’t planning to introduce Liberty Global's Horizon box to Virgin Media customers at any point soon.
Mockridge said: “It’s a bit like saying Virgin Media’s not a brand that Liberty Global uses in other markets. They haven’t turned up here and said ‘we’ll take away the red paint and slap Liberty on everything.’ “The [TiVo] boxes deployed today have been very successful here. The strongest mantra we take is that our customers like it.”
Sensible chap, and hopefully that will quieten the "Horizon on its way" doom merchants on some forum, as should the fact that more than two million of us have TiVo now.

March 21, 2014

Virgin Media boss on Amazon Prime talks

According to The Guardian, Virgin Media has held talks with Amazon about putting its video-on-demand service Prime Instant Video on TiVo and is " certainly open" to the idea, according to Virgin's boss Tom Mockridge.
Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild event in London, Mockridge was asked if he had had discussions to carry shows from Prime Instant Video. He replied that, "the honest answer is we have talked to them" and "we are certainly open to it", but " it takes two to tango" and said there is nothing to report currently as Prime is still "working out" their proposition.
He went on to say that Virgin had "no interest at all" in entering the fray over football rights, arguing that the company could secure the rights for its customers  through its relationship with rights holders such as BT, Sky etc.
The full article is available here: The Guardian

March 16, 2014

Sky Atlantic

Still no word regarding it turning up on Virgin Media, but I've just noticed that Sky's Now TV is still offering the Entertainment Package (Sky Atlantic et al) for just £4.99 a month. I thought it was an introductory offer but it's still a fiver. For me, that's worth it, especially given the line up this spring.
Anyway, for those craving Sky Atlantic Now TV's On Demand includes all three seasons of Game of Thrones, all six of Mad Men and the much talked about True Detective. I'm impressed and will be signing up again in April for my annual fixes of GoT and Mad Men (there's been little to lure me these last few months).
It's not HD but the SD's good and I've had no picture problems. You can get a NowTV box for £9.99 or LG Smart TVs and XBox owners have it as an App.

March 14, 2014

VM Superhub 2 users

I don't have one, but if you do, you should look to change the admin password as there's a (theoretical) vulnerability that could leave your internet security exposed.
Here are more details

March 13, 2014

TiVo Netflix updated

Netflix on the TiVo has had an early spring clean and looks slicker and sleaker to my eyes.
UPDATE: some interesting comments from Jaimie below on this

March 12, 2014

Netflix adds Homeland and American Horror Story

Two of the most talked about new series of recent years are both to debut on Netflix UK this month: TiVo subscribers to Netflix will be able to stream the first two seasons of both shows from March 13th.
The first season of Homeland was very good, the second less so and best not mention the third. American Horror Story (an FX regular) is disturbing and not for the feint hearted.

March 05, 2014

BBC3 to go online only

The BBC's reporting it so it must be true!
BBC Three is to be dropped from TV schedules and will move online, as part of the BBC's cost-cutting plans.
It means shows such as Don't Tell The Bride and Pramface will only be available through the iPlayer, rather than Freeview, satellite or cable.

March 03, 2014

Petition to stop the "Family Filters"

That last post from me seems to have set more than a few pulses racing, so if you want to do something about the "Family Filter" censorship you may want to sign up for the petition that is on the Government's own e-Petition web site. Here's what the petition supports:

Do not censor the Internet 
Responsible department: Department for Culture, Media and Sport 
We believe there are two important problems with the government's plans to filter the Internet:
- Censorship by default:
The main role of these filters is to block web pages that are judged as being inappropriate even though their content may be perfectly legal. The filters would be activated by default which means that by default the UK's Internet would be censored.
Those who would like to use filters for their Internet already have many possibilities today, free and/or non free. We do not need government legislation to decide what is appropriate.
- Population profiling:
Subscribers who wish to not use the government's filtering system will need to contact their ISPs. This implies a record of citizens who may be potential "extreme pornography" consumers. We oppose a government database that would hold the names of those who wish to have the possibility of viewing legal content that may be categorised as "inappropriate".
You can sign up for the petition here.

March 02, 2014

Virgin Media turns on its "Family Filter"

I try to keep my politics away from this blog, but the news that Virgin Media has now been forced by the Government to introduce an ill-conceived "family filter" (aka "porn blocker") really winds me up so if you'll permit me, I'm just going to vent a little spleen here.
I have a family, but my daughter is over 20 now and I have no desire whatsoever to curb her civil liberties, nor those of my wife and me. We're all adults in this household.
But we're going to be asked by the Government (and we all trust Cameron and his GCHQ spies) if we want our internet filtered, not just for pornography, but for access to any sites featuring drug use, hate speech, violence, self-harm or suicide. At least, that's today's list. Tomorrow's may filter left-wing news sources or NSA revelations or anything the Daily Mail wants to block.
But more to the point, how many charities or genuine sites are going to get blocked as their coverage of legitimate problems of society are caught up in the over-zealous algorithms and false positives that such clumsy, ill-conceived technology will inevitably use?
Virgin is the last of the big four ISPs to comply to the government-mandated directive - BT, Sky and TalkTalk are already there. All new VM customers will be asked whether they want the filters turned on or off, and we'll all be asked by the end of the year.
Virgin's system works at a network level which means all devices in a house which connect via its router will be subject to the same filtering system. Maybe in time it will be refined, but if it is as clumsy and pathetic as the Torrent sites blocks then I don't think anyone benefits one way or the other.
I won't get into a debate here about the harm (or value) of pornography in today's society - personally, it leaves me pretty cold - but this is an extremely slippery slope we're on now, when state censorship and surveillance is being applied to us all. It is an irresponsible knee jerk reaction to a media-generated moral panic.
Even if you want your family's internet censored, think twice before saying yes to the Government's nanny state controls - other, more effective family filtering solutions are available.
(I've added a poll (top right) to see how the VMHD massive feel about this.)