June 29, 2014

Another weekend, another Virgin Media outage

Sad to report that my house in Greenwich, south east London, is experiencing yet another weekend of Virgin Media outages. A few weeks back we had no internet for the weekend, now we more of the same. The service has been down 24 hours now with access so intermittent it's unusable, and the TV service is buggered too - nothing whatsoever on the V+ and the TiVo picture is present but unwatchable - freezing and breaking up every few seconds.
Customer Service proved to be a disappointment - I reported the problem yesterday, spent fifteen minutes reporting the TV problem, then had to go through the whole rigmarole again with the broadband guy - shouldn't this all be joined up? I reported the issues at lunchtime and it was acknowledged as an area problem as they'd had several customers call, but the Status page wasn't updated until late in the afternoon. They've booked me an engineer for Tuesday but it's a network problem, not local, as my neighbours are similarly afflicted. That's poor.
My family's losing it's patience with Virgin Media and I must admit I am too. Our broadband service has deteriorated dramatically this year, especially in the evenings and across the weekends (when we actually have it) and I've been told by the guys on 150 that the service won't be rectified until "later in the year". Strewth. We pay for high speed broadband (I'm on VIP) - we are getting under 1mb downloads.
Not at all happy. I never intended this blog to become a modern day "NTHell" site, but I fear it could be heading that way.

June 24, 2014

Additional Sky Sports channels in HD update

Media Boy on his blog is reporting that Sky Sports 3, 4 and F1 will arrive on Virgin Media in HD on July 20th, just in time for the German Grand Prix that day which is not on the BBC (unlike the British Grand Prix on the 6th).

June 21, 2014

Believe in...trying harder

Now TV emailed me this morning offering me two months of their Entertainment package for £2 a month. You can't argue that Sky don't try hard, especially the marketing department. It's a shame the infrastructure supporting the service hasn't been built sufficiently to deliver a suitable service at peak times to meet demand.
Only a few weeks back there was talk of a price rise to £8.99 a month (from £4.99 a month), so they must recognise there's been a litany of serious problems and customers are hacked off and unlikely to return for a sub standard service of buffering and availability issues.

June 17, 2014

Game of Thrones season 4

Sky Atlantic only broadcast the last episode of the current season of Game of Thrones on Monday evening, but BlinkBox, the Tesco service, already has it available for non-Sky customers on the streaming service - check out BlinkBox Game of Thrones. £17.99 for SD, £23.99 for HD. It's also available (for slightly more) on GooglePlay. That's bloody quick availability - NowTV customers probably won't get a playable version through on demand for a few more days yet!
The Blu Ray and DVD won't appear until next Spring, unless the folk at HBO have a change of heart. (I was surprised to see this year's HBO biggie True Detective out on disc earlier this month, just a few weeks after Sky finished broadcasting it.)

June 12, 2014

Sky Sports 5 HD coming to Virgin, too

Can they spread the Sky Sports coverage any thinner? Seemingly so, as the launch of Sky Sports 5 HD is confirmed for August 12th and launching on Virgin Media too.
Not sure about it being the "home of European football" for much longer - BT Sports has the rights to Champions League from summer 2015. Anyway, mustn't grumble.
More details at http://recombu.com/digital/news/sky-packs-champions-league-into-new-channel-to-snub-bt-sport_M13262.html.

June 06, 2014

BBC tests 4k with three World Cup matches

From BBC News:
Three World Cup football matches being played in Brazil this summer will be streamed in ultra high-definition (UHD), the BBC has announced.
The format, also known as 4K, offers four times the resolution of 1080p high definition video. The matches - including the quarter final and the final - mark one of the first times a live event has been streamed over the air in UHD in the UK. Previously the BBC has worked with Japanese broadcaster NHK on such trials. Rival broadcaster Sky has also run 4K trials. The live streams will be distributed via satellite, but only to a handful of UHD TV sets in selected BBC Research and Development facilities.

June 05, 2014

Updated: "Manchester United's MUTV to launch in HD in July"

Coming to Virgin Media next month, Man U fans can enjoy the good old days in HD:
UPDATE: Now confirmed as a Sky exclusive and not coming to VM

Manchester United's new beginning will coincide with a new era for MUTV this summer as it becomes the first club channel in the UK to broadcast in HD.

This exciting upgrade, effective from July, means fans will be able to watch the Reds' live pre-season games in stunning high definition for the very first time, as new managerLouis van Gaal takes the team to the United States on Tour 2014, presented by Aon.

The tour fixtures confirmed so far are as follows (UK/Ireland times in brackets):
23 July, 19:30 (24 July, 03:30) - LA Galaxy, Pasadena
26 July, 14:10 (26 July, 21:10) - AS Roma, Denver
29 July, 19:00 (30 July, 00:00) - Inter Milan, Washington DC
2 August, 16:05 (2 August, 21:05) - Real Madrid, Ann Arbor

Live coverage will continue into the new 2014/15 season as MUTV shows United's Under-21s and Under-18s in HD, giving fans the chance to spot the players who might follow Adnan Januzaj, James Wilson and Tom Lawrence into the first team.

Update on additional Sky Sports HD

Media Boy is reporting that Sky Sports 3, 4 and F1 are to launch in July. No launch date yet for Sky News or Sports News in HD.

June 03, 2014

Four million served

I don't give this blog always the close attention I used to, but I noticed just now that we've now clicked passed over four million page views served. That's pretty neat.
We've come a long way from the old days of Virgin Media having just BBC HD broadcasting in the evenings a mishmash of repeats for a few hours, so well done those who've been here since day one, and thanks to all for popping by every now and again to see what's going on. The audience for this blog is pretty regular still at 50k hits a day, so here's to the next 4m pages served!

New to Netflix

Keep an eye on the excellent MAFT blog to learn what's arrived on (or departed from) Netflix overnight. Netflix is a funny place - some complain about a second-rate film catalogue but I always find loads of great films and the TV lineup is second to none. What's really great though is they've invested in the infrastructure and the quality of the picture is out of this world. Anyone at Now TV paying attention?
So gone today is the first Hunger Games movie, which didn't strike me as anything special but then I'm not the target audience, but arriving are a couple of classics Pulp Fiction and City of God, whilst Joss Whedon fans not only have Cabin in the Woods and Avengers Assemble but also Much Ado About Nothing too. Having recently watched Ryan Gosling in Drive I was delighted to see last year's Only God Forgives appear, and Terry Gilliam's back catalogue is almost complete now. Throw in Woody Allen's better movies (Annie Hall and Manhattan) and a smattering of Spielberg (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, War of the Worlds, Amistad) and that's me set for the summer. It's not Sky Movies, but then it's not over twenty quid a month either (or whatever the Sky Movies HD add on is these days). For me, Netflix is the future and can only get better. Great TV, a fine selection of movies, all presented in stunning 1080p.