November 28, 2014

Sky Movies arriving on Android

Virgin Media has announced it’s making available Sky Movies on Android.
Virgin Media customers with Android devices can now access the service via the Sky Movies Android app. 
But whilst iPhone and iPad users already have access to both Sky Sports and Sky Movies on their devices, Android is only getting Sky Movies for now. Doesn't work with the Lollipop release of Android either, but apparently should do soon.
Virgin Media says it’s ‘working hard’ to bring Sky Sports to Android, however there’s no announced date yet.

TiVo growing strongly

TiVo Inc. reported growth in services and technology revenue at the upper end of expectations as the digital video recorder pioneer continued to add subscribers. For the current quarter, TiVo forecast earnings of $2 million to $5 million and service-and-technology revenue of $87 million to $90 million.
TiVo’s subscriber base has continued to expand with a boost from more distribution agreements with pay-TV providers such as Virgin Media, with total subscriptions reached more than 5.1 million, up 32% from 3.9 million a year earlier.
In an interview Chief Executive Tom Rogers said North American pay-TV subscribers climbed 69% and that the company is serving 19 of the 25 top operators in the U.S. Overall, the company added 337,000 pay-TV-carrier subscribers, an increase of 14% from a year earlier, while pay-TV carrier-related revenue rose 37%.
At the upper end of the market, the company’s $5,000 Mega TiVo for US customers “will be out probably in the second quarter of next year, “ he said.

November 21, 2014

All TiVo updates will be completed by Tuesday 25th

Virgin Media price rise

Overall customers are seeing an average 5.9% increase, the company said. This is well above the rate of inflation.
Those on its Big Daddy and Big Kahuna bundles, which include Sky Sports/Movies, unlimited calls and the fastest broadband, will pay £4.50 a month more, with some customers paying £99.50 a month, or £1,194 a year, for their service. (I'm still on the old VIP deal and suspect I can save some money by moving to one of the newer bundles - this latest price rise will prompt me to action at last.)
Unlike its rivals, Virgin Media said it would not increase its calls charges and that its 1571 ansaphone service would remain free. BT and Sky now charge for this service – £22.20 a year in BT’s case.
More info over at MediaGuardian 

November 16, 2014

Top TiVo Tips revisited

When the TiVo first appeared on Virgin Media I posted some Top Tips for getting the best out of the new box. Since then over a million further customers have the joys of the TiVo in their homes, so here are those tips, and a few others, again:
  1. To reboot the TiVo don't yank out the power lead without trying to do a soft reboot on the interface first: Thumb Down - Thumb Up - Play - Play
  2. To move up and down a list a page at a time, use the Channel Up and Down buttons
  3. To quickly delete a recording, select and press Clear
  4. To improve the picture quality of SD channels, ensure that both 720p and 1080i are selected in video out
  5. If (4) makes your TV judder too much when switching between SD and HD, just select 720p
  6. (the next few are from erstwhile mega commenter Streaky7) just press the play button when you are on a show - you don't have to go through all the options to then select play show.
  7. Remember the Tivo will pick up all the recordings but it will not record them all. It recognises when you have a programme/episode recorded so doesn't record it again 
  8. HD NUT? When you set up a wishlist, then go to Category and select HD. This will mean when the programme/film you want to record comes on, it will record the HD version = be aware though, if there is no HD version and only SD, and you have HD selected in category, then it probably wont record it in SD!
  9. Hiccups Folder - My Shows & Recordings on the main menu (home button), then select 'Recording Hiccups'. Here you can see why recordings are failing to record if you are wondering
  10. (And from Commenter Richard) Quick jumps in menus
    pressing channel up or down when in a menu with a list takes you to the top or bottom option in the menu.
    EPG to search in a single click(courtesy of CWaring)
    Pressing ‘Last CH’ (aka button on bottom right of peanut ) whilst in the full EPG will take you to the "Search All TV" page.
    Understanding the FF or Rew
    FF and Rew have 3 speeds; the more times you press the faster it goes.
    Press the 4 time and it is back to the slowest of the 3 speeds.
    FF and Rew also have a ‘reaction’ control when you press play. 
    @ speed 1, Play just starts from the point you press it. you should react fast enough when you press the play. 
    @ speed 2 and 3, when you press play it bounces back (or forward when rew) a few second. (30 at fastest I think!)
    To prevent the reaction bounce, press Pause instead and then play.
    Missed something (or I’m bored of this bit!!)
    In a recording or buffer (ie regular viewing)
    • Jump backward 8 seconds... Use the ‘back’ button (@ 7oclock from the yellow pause)
    • Jump forward 30 seconds... Use the forward button (@ 5oclock from the yellow pause)
    • Press and hold these buttons to jump to the start or finish of a recording.
    Pausing a 2nd (or 3rd turner)
    You can switch between tuners by pressing Info, then scrolling down to the bottom icons. Then you can switch between tuners and pause any of them to go back to them later. note the buffer is only an hour (I think) so if you want to pause for longer – press the record button!
    Super short cut keys (courtesy of Miker @ tivo community) 
    The good old shortcuts still work - though it's "home" and not "TiVo" button:
    • Home+Home : My recordings (now playing)
    Home+1 : Manage series links
    Home+2 : Planned recordings (todo list)
    Home+3 : Wishlists
    Home+4 : Search all TV
    Home+5 : Browse all TV
    Home+0 : full screen TV + pause ?
    • Pressing CLEAR works as a shortcut for delete on most pages - most handy on the "my shows" page
    • Press SKIP >| to quickly jump to the top or bottom of long lists , e.g. My Shows
    • Channel up/down works as page up/down in lists
    • Press and hold TEXT switches your TV AV sources - that's how I flip between VM TiVo / TiVo S1 / DVD
    • Press and hold POWER button turn turn TV on/off - a short press makes TiVo go into standby
    • Press SLOW to toggle mini TV screen at top right
    • Pressing UP while watching a recording, cycles the output through all the available video formats. e.g. 576p / 1080p
    • Pressing OK while watching Live TV or a recorded program brings up a small 3 line TV listing guide

November 14, 2014


There's a "coming soon" for this channel on 179. Someone, somewhere, will be happy. Possibly. 

Who needs Sky Atlantic now?

Sky Atlantic is the one notable channel missing from Virgin Media these days - sure, some may hanker for Universal HD or Discovery Shed HD but we don't even have the SD version of Atlantic as Sky keeps a tight reign on its availability to non-satellite carriers by overpricing it.
But these days, if you want Sky Atlantic shows in HD you can watch via Now TV on demand for £6.99 a month (I still don't recommend the streaming channel in SD though unless you have the patience of a saint). Furthermore, although the official DVDs and Blu Rays still aren't made available until 10 months after a season has finished the online versions of HBO's finest now appear within a week or two of a show finishing on Atlantic. For example, the recent (and final) season of Boardwalk Empire ended in October and we already have it on Amazon Instant, Blinkbox and iTunes to buy in HD. (On the SmartTV-friendly Amazon Instant Video season 5 is £17.99 for HD, £13.99 for SD.)
And there's always the naughty-naughty alternative methods of watching it.
So how big a hole does the absence of Sky Atlantic leave me? None whatsoever now to be honest. And with the ending of Boardwalk and conclusion of Mad Men next spring, there's only really Game of Thrones I'll be bothered about next year, and I'll most likely catch up with that on Now TV for a couple of months or wait for the Amazon release.
Maybe now Sky will drop the price and Virgin will bite, but I'm not really fussed these days.

November 13, 2014

TiVo update updates

Spiderplant (a Virgin Media chap, possibly not his real name...) is posting regularly on the areas that are next on the schedule. For those still waiting I suggest you keep an eye on this thread for the latest news.

November 11, 2014

TiVo update from Spiderplant

Rollouts since my last post on this: 
Cambridge, Hemel, Perth, Luton, Swindon, Reading, Stafford, Manchester, Perth, Falkirk, Southport, Croydon, Teesside, Uddingston, Coventry, Warwick, Cardiff, Southampton, Manchester, Wearside, Brighton, Colchester, Andover, Ashford, Bromley, Colchester, Derby, Hemel, Kirklees, Exeter, Plymouth, Norwich, Oxford, Seven Kings, Watford, Southampton, Stafford, Stoke, Swansea, Swindon, Teesside, Uddingston, Wessex, York
Areas done today (Tuesday):

November 10, 2014 reports...

Many Virgin Media customers struggled to browse the web this weekend as the firm's filtering system broke down.

Like all big UK ISPs, Virgin uses a filtering system to help children avoid seeing inappropriate content.

However, many people found they could not visit any sites as the server behind the filtering system crashed.

Virgin apologised to customers about the content blocking and said it moved quickly to fix the problem.

Filter failure

The problems emerged on 8 November when many people suddenly found it impossible to visit almost any website.

According to tech news site The Register the cause was traced to a fault on the server behind Virgin's Websafe filtering system. This inspects requests to see websites to work out if access should be granted.

For some reason, far more traffic than normal was being routed to this server which stopped it working and meant many Virgin customers could not reach any site at all.

Many people complained on Twitter about their troubles. Many were annoyed because they had not signed up to use the filtering system at all and did not want it policing their activity.

Web expert Mark Goodwin said: "Dear @virginmedia, please turn off websafe until you know it's not breaking things for everybody. Thanks. A (rather unsatisfied) customer."

Virgin responded to many of the tweets apologising for the "hiccup".

It advised many people to turn their home router off and back on again to help resolve the problem. Virgin said it got the server behind the Websafe system fixed late on Saturday.

In a statement it said: "A small number of our customers were temporarily unable to browse the internet for a couple of hours [on] Saturday evening because of a problem with one of our servers. It was quickly fixed but we apologise for any inconvenience caused."

November 08, 2014

Virgin Media Q3 2014 results

Virgin Media's Q3 2014 results Investor Press Release:
We have built strong operational momentum during 2014. We achieved our lowest ever annual customer churn since Virgin Media was formed in 2007. Our record low annual customer churn of 14.9% has contributed to cable customer growth more than doubling to 35,000, the highest quarterly customer additions since Q4 2012.
The number of subscribers to each of our cable products increased, with 88,000 organic RGUs added YTD, including 70,000 in Q3, compared to declines of 16,000 and 7,000 in the respective prior year periods. This can be partially attributed to the successful launch of our "Big Bundles" in Q2 2014, which offer combinations of our cable products and resulted in the acquisition of more double- and triple-play customers than during the same period last year. Average Monthly Revenue per Customer Relationship increased 2% to £48.98 year-over-year. The number of internet subscribers we serve grew organically by 83,000 YTD, including 49,000 in Q3. At quarter end, 2.5 million, or 56%, of these broadband customers took super-fast speeds of 50 Mbps or faster. The 431,000 increase in subscribers taking such speeds in Q3 was bolstered by our speed upgrade. We remain the clear speed leader in the fixed broadband market in the U.K., as confirmed by the U.K. regulator, Ofcom, in their latest broadband speeds report published in October 2014. Our performance in television has improved with 5,000 additional subscribers during Q3, compared to a 13,000 loss in Q3 2013. Our television attrition of 15,000 RGUs YTD also represents a significant improvement on the 42,000 loss in the first nine months of last year. The number of households with Virgin Media TiVo increased by 148,000 in Q3 to 2.4 million or 64% of all our television subscribers. We have continued to enhance our TV offering since the end of Q2 2014 with the addition of 12 new TV channels, including four new Sky Sports HD channels and a further 21 channels for our multi-screen service Virgin TV Anywhere. Our customers can now watch up to 113 channels over WiFi on smartphones and tablets. The Big Bundles also contributed to a 16,000 telephony subscriber increase in Q3 compared to a 24,000 loss in Q3 2013. During Q3, we began upgrading some legacy network to extend our digital cable services to a further 100,000 homes in East London. When completed, this digital upgrade will enable these households to subscribe to super-fast broadband and TiVo for the first time. We have also begun small network extensions elsewhere, including Glasgow and Teesside, and we will continue to evaluate opportunities to expand our digital cable network as they arise.

November 06, 2014

TiVo updates, update

Spiderplant reports these areas updated Thursday 6th: Most of Barnsley (Barnsley, Bradford, Castleford, Doncaster, Halifax, Wakefield) Bristol Glasgow (now includes Irvine) Peterborough Teeside.
My updated TiVo did a funny yesterday when I woke it up around 7.30pm - a spinning wheel for around a minute then a "c501 error" warning when I tried to access My Shows. Pressed TV and then hit My Shows again and it was okay, albeit a little slugging for a few mins. Anyone else had this?
If you explore the menus, there's something in the Settings about "Other TiVos on this network" (or words to that effect). As my other box is an old V+ I haven't been able to check this out - has anyone else had a look?

November 04, 2014

TiVo update ahoy!

Mine's now plum-coloured and looking cool - anyone else got the software refresh? Views?
Areas updated today have been Carlisle, Coventry, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Hemel, Lewisham and Warwick.