December 15, 2017

Sky Atlantic to Virgin Media at last?

From a Sky press release this morning:
Sky has concluded an agreement with BT which means Sky customers will have their choice of the best sports all through a single Sky TV subscription, while also broadening the reach of Sky’s leading entertainment channel brands to all major Pay-TV services in the UK for the first time.
Under the agreement, Sky will receive wholesale supply of the BT Sport channels enabling it to offer its customers access to every single match of the Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League shown on Sky and BT channels through one simple Sky contract. This will be the first time Sky is able to provide BT Sport to its customers directly as part of a Sky bundle or on a standalone basis and across all Sky platforms including Sky Go. BT Sport will also be available as an app on NOW TV boxes.
Sky will make its NOW TV streaming service available on the BT TV set-top-box. As retail agent, BT will sell NOW TV on Sky’s behalf, offering BT TV customers access to Now TV’s most popular content including Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.
This agreement is a further step in Sky’s strategy to maximise distribution of key channel brands and to monetise its content investment further across all TV platforms. By adding Now TV to the heart of BT’s TV offering, Sky’s portfolio of TV entertainment brands will be available to all UK consumers through each major Pay-TV service, reaching new customers and expanding the appeal of our channels to advertisers.
So far, so mildly interesting, but Sky Chief Exec Jeremy Darroch is quoted as saying:
"UK consumers will have even more ways to watch great Sky entertainment content with our leading portfolio of channels – Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living – available on all major Pay-TV platforms for the first time.
"This is all part of our stated strategy to enhance our customer offering, to broaden our appeal and to open up new revenue streams for our business.” 
Run that passed me again…did the boss at Sky just say that 'our leading portfolio of channels – Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living – available on ALL major Pay-TV platforms for the first time'??? There's no arguing that Virgin's TV pay-TV platform is a major one (6m households using VM's services in the UK and Ireland) and Darroch can't tell big fibs on these announcements, so I can only conclude that Sky Atlantic, either as a channel or as part of a VM Now TV offering, is on the way any day now.
(Either that, or Sky reckon that this BT deal and the Sky Q over internet service launching next year will kill Virgin TV once and for all…)

December 04, 2017

Two new Virgin Media Apps to launch on December 7th.

Virgin Media has announced that the existing Virgin TV Anywhere service will soon be replaced by two new apps on Apple iOS and Android: Virgin TV Go and Virgin TV Control.
Virgin TV Go
Lets you watch telly, at home or on the go anywhere in the UK. You can now watch selected live TV channels (including BT Sport), On Demand and Box Sets on 3G/4G as well as on Wifi, on two of your mobile devices (compatible mobiles, tablets or web browsers).
Virgin TV Control
Manage and set recordings on your Virgin TV V6 or TiVo® box  from anywhere in the world with Wifi, 3G or 4G. Plus, turn your mobile or tablet into a handy extra remote to browse the TV Guide or change channel when you’re at home. With a Virgin TV V6 box, you can even stream selected recordings to a mobile or tablet around the home.
When the new apps launch on Dec 7th your Virgin TV Anywhere app should automatically update to Virgin TV Control when it’s connected to WiFi. If this doesn’t happen, open your Virgin TV Anywhere app and follow the on-screen instructions to update it.
The new TV Go app is a big step forward from what we've had with the limited TV Anywhere app. Both apps are long overdue and, much like the V6, finally make the VM service comparable to Sky Q.
(Just don't mention the lack of 4k programming on Virgin…)

UPDATE, 9.40am 7 Dec

Both apps are now available. From what I can see, Virgin TV Control is just a re-badged Virgin TV Anywhere with the playback facility removed. I have two iOS devices (an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 6, both running iOS 11.2). Neither updated to the TV Control App automatically but I deleted the old App and manually downloaded the new (it's in the App store - search for Virgin Media and you'll find it). Works fine, but if you try to watch anything it points you to the Virgin TV Go app.
Virgin TV Go app is also available for download.

November 03, 2017

Sky Cinema downloads for Virgin Media customers

Did you know VM subscribers can download movies to their iPhones or iPads? It used to be a service exclusive to Sky Go customers but the latest version of the Sky Cinema iOS app has 'download' as an option. 
Downloaded movies stay on the device for a month but once you start watching it they expire after two days. 
I haven't been able to check if they can be viewed on a TV via HDMI and sorry but I don’t know about Android devices.

September 09, 2017

Virgin Media Store appears to be live

Without any great fanfare (or even an email mailing) Virgin appears to have launched it's competitor to Sky Store. V6 only, I think, but I'm guessing as I've seen no press release yet.
Prices are pretty much the same as Sky and Amazon Video. I have no idea how it compares with those services so if anyone has a play with it please let me know. (My family has been using Amazon Video for rental and downloads for the last year as we have the App on our Sony TV and I can't see us switching any time soon.)
It's notable that it doesn't link in to your Virgin Media account but requires credit card details instead. Surely they should have linked it in to the established account and payment method? For all the delays since it was announced almost a year ago this feels somewhat cobbled together.
You currently need to sign up online rather than through your TV, which you can do here: 

August 11, 2017

Liberty Global announced Virgin Media Q2 results

Virgin Media delivered a record number of 78k net additions and 21k customer net additions. Going against the tide, Virgin recorded its best-ever Q2 TV additions of 33k, compared to a prior loss of 17k.
Virgin attributes the growth to the relaunch of Virgin TV and the rollout of the new Virgin TV V6 set-top box.
A further 127k homes were added under Virgin Media’s Project Lightning in Q2. 33k broadband net additions included a 31k gain in the UK.

August 02, 2017

Virgin Media price rises confirmed for November 1st 2017 has confirmed that Virgin is putting up prices later this year.
The cost for most new and existing customers will rise by up to £3.99 per month from November 1st. This is the first time Virgin has put up prices this year, following three price hikes in 2016.
Here's how it will affect you:

BundleTier Previous price New price 
Solus 50Mb £32.25 + £1.99 
100Mb £32.25 + £1.99 
200Mb £37.25 + £2.99 
300Mb £47.25 + £2.99 
Duals 50Mb £40 + £1.99 
100Mb £40 + £1.99 
200Mb £45 + £2.99 
300Mb £55 + £2.99 
Player 100Mb £45 + £3.49 
200Mb £50 + £3.49 

300Mb£60 + £3.49 
Mix 100Mb £52 + £3.99 
200Mb £57 + £3.99 
300Mb £67 + £3.99 
Fun 100Mb £57 + £3.99 
200Mb £62 + £3.99 
300Mb £72 + £3.99 
Full House 100Mb £68 + £3.99 
200Mb £73 + £3.99 
300Mb £83 + £3.99 
Source: Virgin Media, 01/08/17 

July 31, 2017

Price rises on the way?

I've not heard anything from Virgin yet but The Register is reporting:

Cable giant Virgin is once again hiking up the price of its broadband and phone bundles, according to a list of new pricing arrangements seen by The Register.
Under the "player TV bundle" new customers can sign up to a package which includes broadband and 13 TV channels at a discount of £5.50 per per month or £32 for the first year.
But changes coming into force next month mean they will initially pay £33 per month, and then £48 per month thereafter. Meanwhile, the highest end VIP bundle, which includes 97 channels, will jump from the current starting rate of £85 to £90 for the first 12 month, and then increase to £120 afterwards.
This follows a price hike last August, which saw customers hit with an increase of £42 per year for those with a broadband and phone or "big bundle" package, and just under £36 per year for those with broadband only.
The firm's student nine-month contracts are also changing from August. Virgin's entry-level broadband package for students of 50Mbps broadband is up from £26 to £33, with the 100Mbps and 200Mbps both increasing by £3 to £39 and £44 respectively. However, the 300Mbps package is being cut from £51 per month, to £49.
The price hikes come after Virgin closed 30 retail stores recently, and launched a review of the viability of 45 offices across the UK. It currently has 130 sites across the nation.

July 10, 2017

July 18th sees the big relaunch for Sky Sports - but no price changes for VM customers

Sky Sports is getting a massive shake up later this month. Here's the news as reported by What Hi-Fi:
As expected, Sky has unveiled a major revamp of its sports channels. Under the changes - which kick in on 18th July - you'll be able to subscribe only to sport that you want to watch.
Sky will offer 10  channels, five of which will be cover specific sport. Sky Sports Premier League will only show action from the UK's top-flight league, for example, with all other football finding a home on Sky Sports Football. There are also dedicated channels for cricket, golf and F1.
You can subscribe to just one of these for £18 a month, two for £22 or three for £26. Want the full complement? It'll set you back the same £27.50 that current subscribers pay.
All the other sport that Sky covers (like rugby league, rugby union, tennis, netball, darts, NFL etc.) will be shown across two new channels: Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Arena. There's also a new channel called Sky Sports Main Event, which will showcase the biggest live sporting events.
Finally, Sky Sports News and taster channel Sky Sports Mix will be free to all Sky subscribers, even those who don't pay for Sky Sports.
But these likely savings WILL NOT apply to Virgin Media customers. According to James on Virgin's Community forum:
All the news about the Sky Sports Channel Changes are up here: Sky Sports Changes
Virgin Media will continue to offer all of the Sky Sports channels in one combined package, and when taken with our Full House pack we are the only provider where you can get all of the sport on BT Sport and Sky Sports in one package.

BUT I DON'T WANT ALL OF THE SPORT … and I'm sure I'm not alone. Not happy, Virgin Media, not happy at all. Please sort it out.

July 01, 2017

Why so quiet on VMHD?

You may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet on this site since the arrival of Virgin Media’s V6 box. To be honest, there has not been much going on so there’s little to report on - this blog is still active and I will report any big Virgin Media news as I have done for almost a decade now. There’s still no news of 4k content or Sky Atlantic on VM and the V6 bugs have been pretty much ironed out now (Netflix is suddenly working on my wi-fi connected V6!) and if anything new does materialise it will be posted here to keep you informed. I’ll shy away from posting rumours and speculation - just the facts (and the odd opinion or two).
If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, I’ve just published my second novel and I’m working on a third. Details can be found on my other website here.

June 23, 2017

Virgin Media issues important Super Hub security advice:

 Sofa Bear  said today (June 23rd):

The security of our network and of our customers is of paramount importance to us.  We continually upgrade our systems and equipment to ensure that we meet all current industry standards.

The strongest passwords have a mixture of character types and are more than 12 characters in length. Those that are less than eight characters and not mixed are at a higher risk of being hacked. "Password" is not a good password, but "yZ8_tr*3B!td2?" is.
While our Hub 3.0 already contains additional security provisions, if you have an older Superhub you need to make sure you use a bespoke password that uses uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and keep it longer than 12 characters.

These steps will show you how to change your password if you use a Superhub 1, 2 or 2ac.

1. Connect your computer to the Super Hub using an Ethernet cable
2. Access the settings page by entering the web address shown on the Super Hub sticker. For a guide on how to do this, please see Configure Advanced Settings on your Virgin Media Hub.
3. Click Wireless Network Settings
4. If it isn't chosen already, set the Security Mode drop-down menu to WPA Auto, and then enter your desired new passphrase into the Passphrase box. When choosing your new passphrase we recommend at least twelve characters with a mix of upper case, lower case and numbers. It should be unique: not something you use for anything else
5.Click Save Settings, and then close the administration interface. All computers and devices that were wirelessly connected to the Super Hub will now be disconnected, because they will still be configured with the old WiFi network security key
6.Restart your computers and devices and try to reconnect to the Super Hub, and you should be prompted for the new passphrase. If you have difficulty in reconnecting to the WiFi network, follow our setup guides and remember to use your new passphrase:
Connecting a Windows device to your wireless network
Connecting an Apple Mac to your wireless network
Note: if you ever forget your new passphrase, you can set it back to the default by Resetting your Virgin Media Hub (this will also reset all other changes you have made to the Super Hub's settings)
7.Once all computers and devices are reconnected to the WiFi network, you can disconnect the Ethernet cable from the computer

All sound advice, but it sounds like the media's scaremongering again. This is posted by superuser Ravenstar68 on VM's Community Boards:
First off I read the BBC News Story and then decided to look for the which? articles that prompted it.
So lets look at the reality.
1. Which? employed a dedicated company to hack the network in question.
2. It took them days to crack the default wifi passphrase
3. Most hackers are opportunists who won't take that much time and effort on a home connection.
4. Virgin set the default hub login password as changeme (change me) in addition when users log into the hub they are normally told to change this as well via a nag screen.
Virgin actually ran a story in the news section yesterday.
Which includes advice on how to change passwords on older routers.
It should be noted that when the SH2ac came out Virgin introduced a requirement that if the password was the default, that users were required to enter the WPS Pin which was unique to each hub. So hackers couldn't breach the hub itself even of they gained access to the wifi network.
I do consider the headlines to be scaremongering, which is why I did my homework before posting.
Also note that 800,000 is the estimated number of SH2's on the network. Out of those:
Some users will automatically change the default SSID and passphrase as soon as they get the device.
Others can and do put the hub into modem mode and use their own router.
So while the general message is going out, the number of those at risk is lower than the quoted figure.

April 15, 2017

V6 update being rolled out

There's a new update being rolled out to V6 boxes to address some of the bugs.

If you have the update your firmware level will be (Home > Help & Settings > System Info > System Info). According to Virgin Media, the box should no longer crash if watching some shows; the wake up bug has been fixed and if you press play and then OK during playing back a recording it plays faster (but the voices don't go high pitched).

There are new options in the power saving settings which at the bottom of the screen;
Always On
Connected Low Power - powers down after 4 hours but still lets you watch recordings on that box from elsewhere
Eco Low Power - box will power down after 4 hours

April 13, 2017

Superhub 3s becoming public wi-fi

Interesting but not necessarily good news if your broadband struggles at peak times.
For now only Virgin Media customers with the latest Super Hub 3 (Hub 3.0) are being opted into the new public Wi-Fi service. Virgin is trialling an update to the older Super Hub 2ac routers, too. The ISP says it will add "hundreds of thousands" of hubs by "later this year."
This won't be popular if download speeds drop due to network contention.

March 30, 2017

New boxes comparison from What Hi-Fi

No clear winner and that's an odd TiVo screenshot (taken from the website rather than a TV?) but this is a fair comparison of the latest offerings from Virgin, Sky and BT:

March 23, 2017

TiVo developing for ... Sky Q?

Believe it or not, TiVo is providing Sky Q with a natural language, voice-based search solution, making it quicker and easier for Sky Q customers to find the content they are looking for. Honest.
More details here.

March 05, 2017

New function on the V6 remote

I found a new capability of the V6 remote the other evening: if I hold down the TV button for a few seconds it brings up my Sony TV's AV input menu. My old TiVo's remote doesn't do this but it's a useful feature and means I no longer need the telly's own remote very often now.

March 02, 2017

Where's the Store?

On November 30th Virgin Media announced:

Virgin Media Store
To give Virgin TV customers a new way to own the entertainment they love, Virgin Media is launching Virgin Media Store to bring viewers some of the biggest movies first out of cinema before they are available to buy on DVD alongside a huge range of box sets to download.
Through the Virgin TV V6 and TiVo boxes, desktop and a Virgin Media Store app for iOS and Android, viewers can simply browse the store, buy what they want and then watch it straight away on a TV or mobile device such as Virgin Media’s TellyTablet. For films, a DVD copy will be automatically put in the post for keeps. The Virgin Media Store will launch in February and will be available for non-Virgin Media customers on desktop and mobile.

No word of it since. Nor have I heard of anyone having a "Telly Tablet" either. Anyone know anything about these?

February 23, 2017

VMHD and 4k coverage

It was recently suggested that I update the focus of this blog (which is ten years’ old later this year) to campaign for more 4k content on Virgin Media, much like I originally did for HD. I’ve given it some thought but will keep it running with general Virgin Media TV news (including HD, Netflix and any 4k content) rather than running a 4k or HDR campaign. I’m more than happy to support anyone who wants to campaign and can help promote one on VMHD but I don’t have the time (nor a 4k TV) to run one myself.

February 17, 2017

Another review of the V6 - three stars from What Hi-Fi

What Hi-Fi magazine’s review of the V6 is less positive than most, and is particularly negative about the lack of content and pricing on Virgin’s new box. Here’s what they conclude:
The V6 is a frustrating beast. Hardware-wise it’s mostly good, and if it doesn’t quite beat Sky Q it’s a fairly close-run thing.
The interface could do with a further refresh and it seems a little prone to crashes, but it’s a notable improvement on the TiVo box. If you’re a current Virgin subscriber and intend to remain one, you should upgrade for the speed boost alone.
But it all falls down a bit when it comes to content. There are no Sky Atlantic-rivalling exclusives here, and you can’t even pay extra to get Sky’s best shows on your Virgin box.
What’s more, there’s no 4K content outside of Netflix or YouTube. If that changes, the V6 might well be a proper contender. Until then Sky Q still leads the way.
Although What Hi-Fi has always been a bit of a rabid Sky fanzine I think the comment on the lack of 4k content is not so wide of the mark. It would be great if VM made some announcements on this front. Read the full review at They award the V6 three stars out of five, but I’d suggest the actual review is actually a fairer, four star one.

February 11, 2017

V6 Review from Pocket Lint - "Better than Sky Q"?

Overall Pocket Lint gives the V6 a positive review and concludes:
There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that if you are an existing Virgin Media TV customer you should upgrade to the V6 box...
The fact that the box works so well with an existing TiVo device to provide a multiroom solution should be considered too. It’s a great upgrade option for existing TV subscribers.
Read the full review here: Virgin TV V6 and here’s their review of the Sky Q system, too

[Original post edited after Sky updated Sky Q firmware]

February 10, 2017

Another attempt to clamp down on Pirate Bay et al

The press this week has been getting its knickers in a twist again about illegal downloads, peer-to-peer distribution of pirate content and the like. Here’s one example, from the Birmingham Mail:
Customers of Sky and Virgin Media found [to be] users of these sites will be issued a warning.
The warnings, which are part of the government-backed Get It Right campaign, will inform customers they have 20 days to stop downloading content illegally.
The campaign is attempting to educate web users about the dangers of piracy.
“Copyright owners are monitoring peer-to-peer (file-sharing) networks to identify instances where their content is uploaded and shared without permission,” states the campaign.
“They will note the Internet Protocol (IP) address and then contact the appropriate ISP – including BT, NowTV, PlusNet, Sky, Talk-Talk and Virgin Media.
“The account holder may then receive an Educational Email from their ISP referencing one or more instances of peer-to-peer uploading and file sharing activities that have been confirmed to breach copyright.”
Click here for the full story. Bizarre that the Mail story on the web is packed with ‘How to use Kodi’ videos, isn’t it?

Anyway,  the actual measures to stifle piracy are still laughably half-hearted and the ‘stop, or else...’ threat is completely toothless:
Sky says that any users who receive an educational email won’t have their broadband suspended.
“Your broadband service won’t be affected as a result of receiving this email alert,” the company wrote.
“However, if you continue to share content illegally using your broadband connection, Sky will request that you take immediate steps to remove or disable any file sharing software that is being used to share copyrighted content illegally.”
Ow! Stop slapping my wrists! It won’t work of course - Pirate Bay users (and wasn’t that supposed to be blocked?!) know full well what they’re doing and aren’t going to be deterred by a tepid telling off in an email. What is more, according to uSwitch; “Internet providers will not actively monitor people’s online activity in order to find instances of illegal file sharing, nor will copyright holders. Instead, copyright holders will track activity on peer-to-peer networks to identify instances where their content is being illegally uploaded and shared.” So they’re not even going after downloaders so any Torrent users who are smart enough to throttle their upload channel won’t even get the email. Pathetic
And let’s not forget that there are still (I think) Usenet communities sharing content that presumably isn’t being targeted by this campaign either.

February 02, 2017

What's your favourite feature of the V6?

Okay, so we all love the fact that it’s not just faster than the old Samsung/Cisco TiVo boxes, but actually BLOODY FAST, sometimes surprisingly so, but what else do you like about it?
Me? I love the fact that I can watch recordings from either of my V6s on my main telly. With my old set up I had a 500Gb TiVo in the basement that my wife would watch her favourite movies on (recorded in SD as it’s only a 24in TV) but inevitably we’d decide we wanted to watch one of them on the bigger telly upstairs ... but couldn’t as they weren’t recorded on the 1Tb TiVo upstairs.
However, with our two V6 TiVo connected not only do we record everything in HD thanks to the bigger, shared capacity but we can watch everything on either TV - perfect. I’ve even taken to recording all our movies on one box, keeping the other for everything else. It’s fantastic and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who has yet to take the leap.
What does everyone else like? Anyone used all six tuners yet (more if you have linked boxes)? Offline viewing on your tablet/computer? iPlayer you can watch the same day as you fire it up? The improved responsiveness of the new remotes? Anyone played with 4k content? Let me know.

January 31, 2017

Discovery channels on Sky

Today’s is the last day for Sky and Discovery to agree a deal on these channels

  • Discovery Channel
  • Eurosport 1
  • Eurosport 2
  • Animal Planet
  • TLC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • DMAX
  • Discovery Turbo
  • Discovery Shed
  • Discovery Science
  • Discovery History
  • Home & Health
  • Quest

and all of their HD and +1 siblings. If there’s no 11th hour agreement today then that’s a lot of blank slots on the Sky EPG tomorrow. As carriage disputes go, it’s a doozy, and possibly a taste of things to come as the channels and platforms start to feel the commercial squeeze of those billions being invested in football.
Will people jump from Sky (and NowTV, which is also affected) because of the (temporary?) absence of a dozen or so documentary channels? I don’t think so. Discovery may be a big name but it’s hardly a big channel with compelling content these days. And that content is so widely available now that I’d be surprised if anyone made it a sole determinant of which provider they go with - I’d suggest availability, price and performance are more important. How many Virgin Media customers have a cheap NowTV box on stand by when Sky Atlantic has something interesting on? I do, and I would guess I’m by no means alone.
But maybe that’s just me. I don’t watch any of the Discovery lineup and if it disappeared from Virgin tonight I wouldn’t even notice. However, I have a friend who enjoys several Discovery shows and for him it’s a deal breaker - he’s had enough of Sky and is planning to try Virgin or BT, so what do I know?

Susanna Dinnage, managing director, Discovery Networks UK, said in a statement: “We want to thank our millions of viewers and fans for their overwhelming support over the last few days. We have reached a new agreement that guarantees Sky’s customers access to Discovery’s wide range of channels and programmes for years to come."

January 30, 2017

Apologies for missing comments

For some reason Blogger has been a little over zealous in tagging comments posted on this site as 'For Moderation', which means a number of them haven't been published as promptly as you'd perhaps expect. I don't know why this suddenly happened but I've now approved the back log (around two dozen, almost all on posts made in January) and I've changed settings so that I get notified if a comment is flagged by Blogger for attention. Sorry.

January 26, 2017

Profits fall at Sky prompts "dish-free" Sky TV service in 2018

Sky is to make its full TV service of hundreds of channels available without the need for a satellite dish for the first time, as it looks to stem customer defections to rivals such as BT.
The pay-TV giant suffered an 18% plunge in profits at its UK business in the last six months of 2016  has announced that it will launch the broadband-delivered TV service next year.
Jeremy Darroch, the Sky chief executive, said it would allow Sky to target up to 6m households across Europe who cannot, or will not, have a satellite dish.
There's already the broadband-delivered 720p NowTV service of course but what the appetite will be for the full Sky TV service (and cost) will be interesting and possibly challenging for Virgin Media and other services. Too early to know whether it will include any 4K UHD services or what the hardware would be.
Sky and Discovery are also trading blows in a carriage dispute that could result in twelve Discovery-owned channels disappearing from the satellite service at the end of this month.
More details on both stories here and at

January 23, 2017

V6 - a few problems UPDATED

All new hardware has bugs or, as one of my engineers once claimed, ‘undocumented features’, and the V6 appears to be no different. Overall I am very pleased with the new boxes and wouldn’t for a moment consider swapping them back for my old Samsung and Cisco TiVo relics, but over the weekend a couple of problems occurred that I’ve posted on the VM Community Boards in threads that suggest the difficulties I have had are not unique.
Power Save
Lots of reports on the Community Forum about this here:
The automatic power save function is the default setting but I strongly recommend that you disable it as it seems to have a life of its own and waking the box from Stand By is often a long and sometimes fraught process, requiring a full shut down and start up if the box locks. I didn’t want my boxes on though all night so I have tried manually putting them into Stand By overnight. Seemed to work but this morning I found that this had led to a failed recording from BBC1 HD reported in Recording Hiccups as “Power Lost”. There was no power cut and the only difference I can see between the successful recording made at 9pm and the failed one at 10.30 was that the box was in Stand By.
According to the V6 User Guide (you don’t get one but it’s online here: you can’t view recordings remotely on either another box or device if the V6 is in Stand By either.
I can’t find any details of the difference in power consumption between On and Stand By, so I’ve set both my boxes now as Always On until Virgin Media fix it. Of course, there’s no longer a need to worry about any impact on Climate Change now that has been finally exposed as an evil Chinese plot... ;-(
There appears to be DNS issue if you are using a VM SuperHub in Modem Mode with an external router rather than relying on the SuperHub’s own Wi-Fi. I’ve found my SH2 Wi-Fi to be unreliable so have an Apple Time Capsule as my router. I have one V6 connected directly into the router via Ethernet, a second connected by Wi-Fi.
iPlayer and YouTube worked fine but Netflix failed initially on both boxes, showing an error that said “Application is loading. Netflix is loading onto the TiVo box. Please wait a moment and try starting Netflix again. (V312)”. Turns out I’m not alone and there’s a thread on the Community Board forum on this that suggests it’s a DNS problem. I resolved it for my V6 with the Ethernet connection by turning Modem Mode off on my SuperHub, rebooting the V6 and then Netflix worked. I then switched back to Modem Mode and it still works so that box is fine now.
However I was unable to do that successfully with the Wi-Fi connected box, despite wasting several hours on Sunday running up and down the stairs (not literally - I’m still recovering from a broken leg) and rebooting and re-rebooting anything and everything. Still no Netflix on that box, which is annoying as that ain’t connected to a Smart TV and so there’s no Netflix or similar downstairs at the moment.
Neither of these are showstoppers with the V6 but they are annoying and if I continue to get Failed Recordings that will be a serious problem.
Anyone else experiencing similar?

UPDATE: Virgin Media engineering have acknowledged that there are bugs with the Stand By functionality and I’ve been recommended to disable it for now.

January 20, 2017

Nialli's initial experience of the V6

I had my two TiVo boxes swapped yesterday for a pair of V6s. Here are my initial observations:

The Installation:
  1. It’s a pretty straightforward hardware swap – the most time-consuming part is when the engineer has to call VM to activate the boxes. Our man was on hold for around 15 minutes. As always, the hold music emanating from his mobile was dire…
  2. Total time to install both boxes was under half an hour
  3. The speed of the V6 makes the configuration a doddle. My boxes did three software downloads, each faster than the previous
  4. The EPG was fully populated within the hour – I seem to recall this could take several hours with the TiVos and even longer with the V+
  5.  I’ve got one V6 wired to my router using Ethernet. (My router is a SuperHub 2 in modem mode, connected to an Apple Time Capsule for reliable Wi-Fi coverage.) Our second V6 is just on the Wi-Fi, which meant it took a little longer to do the downloads as my Wi-Fi speed drop in the evenings (it was around 75mbps during the install). I didn’t have to hardwire the second box before the Wi-Fi option appeared – it just worked
  6. Overall, I was impressed. Our engineer didn’t know much about the new box and it was the end of his shift and my dinner was ready so I ushered him out of the door rather than have him attempt instruction. Besides, it's always more fun to play...
The V6:
  1. My two TiVos weren’t as sluggish as some people’s but even after a few hours I couldn’t go back. Has anyone else noticed how unbelievably nippy and snappy the V6 is?? I’m seriously impressed, and TiVo software running at this speed suddenly feels lively and modern
  2. If the V6 was the same size as the old TiVo then the design of the new hardware would feel like a throwback to the old cable boxes of the nineties, but it ain’t – it’s about half the width and it almost disappears in my TV stand. In fact the second box I’ve put on its side and tucked away behind the TV, so you can’t even see it
  3. Connecting the two boxes so they can share recordings works faultlessly
  4. Streaming to my iPad works fine too
  5. The TV Anywhere iOS applications no longer seem to have the connectivity issues I was experiencing with the TiVos
  6. The engineer left both of my original remotes as well as the new, which work fine with the V6s so I have spares now which is useful. The new remotes automatically control my Sony TVs, which saved me having to do that remote code fun and games to get the volume and on/off buttons working
Overall, I’m impressed and delighted with the new boxes. Well done Virgin Media!

January 13, 2017

Great service from Karl in Retensions

I called Retentions (as I was seriously considering a Now/Humax alternative to save money) and got myself upgraded to Vivid 200 broadband, two V6s (one off charge of £112) and my monthly bill DOWN by a tenner. Install date? Next Thursday. Very happy bunny. And we'll be doing some serious binge viewing this week of our old recordings

January 11, 2017

I'm back

Sorry it’s been so quiet on the blog over the last month or so. I managed to break my leg in late November and it limited the time I could comfortably spend on my laptop, and, unfortunately for the blog, working on my second novel took precedent.
Anyway, I’m back now, the leg’s on the mend and the second draft of the book is almost done. I still haven’t found time to call Virgin and ask them to swap my TiVos for V6s yet, and I’m unlikely to do so until I’ve waded through most of the recordings I’ll lose when I surrender my boxes.

Sky Cinema HD channels all renumbered

For once, a Virgin Media EPG shuffle that makes sense as the SD and HD movie channels from Sky swap places in the programme guide. Here are the new numbers:

Premiere is now 401
Showcase 403
Movie Greats 404
Disney 405
Family 406
Action & Adventure 407
Comedy 408
Crime & Thriller 409
Drama & Romance 410
Sci-Fi & Horror 411
Select 412

The renumbering shouldn’t affect any recordings or planned recordings you may have.