May 21, 2016

Virgin Media to stop ability to buy Sky Sports 1 or 2 on their own from June

From Recompu:
[Virgin Media] is getting rid of the option to add individual Sky Sports channels to a Virgin TV package, forcing customers to opt for a bundle of channels instead.
Currently you can take Sky Sports 1, home of Sky’s Premier League football coverage, or Sky Sports 2 for £21.50/month extra. This is cheaper than going for the Sky Sports Collection - which gives you Sky Sports 1-5 plus Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News HQ - for £29.25/month.

Virgin TV packages start at £20/month on their own, with no line rental needed. This means at the very least, you’ll be paying £51.75/month at the very least if you want to watch Sky Sports on Virgin TV.

May 11, 2016

The end of the TiVo STB is nigh?
Liberty Global to create single advanced set-top for all EuropeLiberty Global is to consolidate its next-generation set-top platforms, including ultimately that of Virgin Media in the UK, as part of a project dubbed ‘Eos’ by the company.
Eos is in turn part of the wider strategic plan, formerly known as ‘Liberty 3.0’ and now, according to president and CEO Mike Fries, to be known as Liberty Go. This will see the company reduce costs across the board through, among other things, common technology platforms, and build revenue through marketing advanced services.
Speaking to analysts as Liberty Global reported strong first quarter results yesterday, Fries described Eos as “a set-top we plan to roll out everywhere at some point, including in that market [the UK]”.
Virgin Media announced yesterday that it planned to roll out a new 4K-ready box that will be based on its existing TiVo platform. Speaking on the analyst call, Liberty’s chief technology officer Balan Nair said that this would be a “pretty high-powered box that will get a refreshed TiVo UI on it later this year” but added that “our goal is to get Horizon across all of Europe” ultimately, referring to the advanced set-top platform already in use in multiple Liberty Global markets. He said that Eos would be the “engine for next generation video” for the company.
Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge, also on the call, said that the TiVo-based box would “give us a lot more functionality for our customers” and enable the operator to remain competitive with Sky. The latter has recently launched its own high-end box, Sky Q.
Mockridge said that Eos would be “a big part” of the company’s plan to improve its TV offering in the future.
Earlier on the call, Fries described Eos as a “project name for our cloud-based set-top box” that would be “trialing later this year” and would be “faster, cheaper and provide more functionality than today’s Horizon box”.
He said that Liberty’s new Wi-Fi router, the Connect Box, which is now available in multiple European markets, “sets us even further apart from the competition” by providing up to 1Gbps across in-home networks. “This is a big issue,” he said. “When you’ve driven average customer speeds up to 100Mbps but you don’t control the in-home WiFi router, customers complain.”
Touching on the broader Liberty Go project, Fries said that this would encompass measures to increase revenue as well as trim costs, with about 60% of the value creation coming from the revenue side. On the cost side, the company is centralising elements of its operation including product development, core network management, IT and its supply chain, including consolidation of its customer care operations.
Increasing revenue will be based on upping prices thanks to new products based on Horizon, WiFi and faster broadband speeds. The company is targeting building out to seven million new homes over three years, having added 210,000 new build homes in the first quarter.

May 10, 2016

Virgin confirms new 4k box for 2016 to What Hi-Fi

Virgin Media has confirmed a 4K set-top box is in development and due for release in 2016. A spokesman told What Hi-Fi?: “There will be a new set-top box coming later this year, and it will support Ultra High Definition video.
“Before that we will be updating the existing TiVO set-top box to make its menus slicker and more picture-based.”
The recent Telegraph article suggests that Virgin is preparing on an upgrade to its existing series link feature that will include on-demand programmes from Netflix and other sources.
What Hi-Fi adds that “The new Virgin 4K box is expected to offer a similar ability to Sky Q, allowing users to start watching a programme on a TV in one room, and then continue watching on a smartphone or tablet elsewhere.”
But will the new box be a TiVo or the LG standard Horizon beastie?

May 07, 2016

Virgin expands network and is planning to introduce fibre to the premises

Virgin Media has committed to provide fibre-to-the-premises to at least a quarter of the four million new homes and businesses being added to its network as part of its Project Lightning investment.

Virgin Media has said it will connect a total of 17 million premises to its network by 2019. The operator said the move would make it the largest wholly fibre broadband network in the country.

The operator has already begun rolling out FTTP in Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire, with work expected to begin soon in West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex. Virgin Media issuing new techniques including ‘narrow trenching to deploy fibre at lower cost and with greater speed than has hitherto been the case.

“While some companies talk a good game, Virgin Media is putting its money where its mouth is and laying fibre to the premise alongside our superior HFC network – delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds,” said CEO Tom Mockridge.

“In just over one year we’ve laid enough new cable to stretch all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats, reaching a quarter of a million more homes and businesses – and there’s much more to come.”

May 03, 2016

Rovi Acquires TiVo

Press Release from April 29th 2016

  • Two of the industry’s most influential players join forces to transform media and entertainment technology 
  • Best-in-class products and services to capitalize on evolving entertainment marketplace 
  • Combined IP portfolios of over 6,000 issued patents and pending applications $100 million in annual cost synergies – accretive to Rovi’s Non-GAAP EPS within the first 12 months 
  • Adopting “TiVo” as new company name 

Rovi Corporation (NASDAQ: ROVI) and TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO) today announced that Rovi will acquire TiVo for $10.70 per share in cash and stock for total consideration of approximately $1.1 billion.
The new company combines two media and entertainment technology innovators with complementary products, services, and intellectual property assets and a common mission to write the next chapter of the consumer entertainment experience.
The company will continue to be led by Tom Carson and upon closing of the transaction will adopt the iconic TiVo brand as the new company name.
“Rovi’s acquisition of TiVo, with its innovative products, talented team, and substantial intellectual property portfolio, strengthens Rovi’s position as a global leader in media discovery, metadata, analytics, and IP licensing,” said Tom Carson, CEO of Rovi. “It’s an exciting time as the media and entertainment landscape undergoes a significant evolution. The combined capabilities of TiVo and Rovi place us in a tremendous position to extend services across platforms and to a customer base that includes traditional, over-the-top and emerging players across the globe. By working together, Rovi and TiVo will revolutionize how consumers experience media and entertainment and at the same time build value for our stockholders.”
“We’re proud of TiVo’s strong innovation history and of the ongoing efforts of our team to provide best-in-class products for our loyal consumer and service provider customers,” said Naveen Chopra, Interim CEO and CFO of TiVo. “This transaction is the culmination of those efforts and the logical next step for TiVo. In joining forces with Rovi, our customers, employees and stockholders will benefit from being part of a more diversified industry leader with significantly greater market opportunities. Our combination creates a more influential global player with a commitment to product innovation, which will be incredibly well positioned to redefine television.”

Full press release here