Virgin Media TiVo guide - full details of the new box
- What is TiVo?
- What can I watch?
- Technical specifications
- Advantages & improvements
- How much will TiVo cost?
Since Virgin Media officially announced that they were partnering with TiVo in the development of their latest set-top box the web has been abuzz with anticipation.
Ahead of the release of the new Virgin Tivo box later this month, Cable.co.uk has sifted through the details of the deal to bring you our exclusive guide to Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo.
What is Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo?
Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo, or simply “TiVo”, is a digital video recorder, in many ways similar to the Sky+ set-top box or the Virgin Media V+ Box.
With a digital video recorder you can pause and rewind live television as well as being able to record any programmes you wish onto an internal hard disc drive, which negates the need for videocassettes or blank DVDs. And thanks to an upgrade to the TiVo service it's now possible to record up to three channels at the same time whilst watching something you recorded previously.
What sets the new virgin TiVo box apart from other digital video recorders is the ability to scroll backwards through the onscreen viewing guide and record programmes that you may have missed from the last 7 days. This really is a quantum leap in TV technology and will completely revolutionise the way in which we enjoy our favourite programmes. TiVo can also recommend shows for you to watch based upon your viewing habits and can alert you when one of your favourite actors is appearing in a new show.
What can I watch?
Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo will bring you up to 225 Standard Definition channels of great digital TV including flagship channels including Sky1, Sky Living, FX, ESPN & National Geographic. It can also receive up to 43 HD channels, depending upon your subscription, including Sky1 HD, FX HD & National Geographic HD.
Added to that will be thousands of hours of great on-demand programming, including new and classic TV shows, music videos and movies in both standard- and high-definition. Virgin has also announced that if you’ve got the right kind of TV you will be able to enjoy special on-demand programmes in 3D.
Incredibly, though, the new Virgin TiVo box will highlight for you new programmes, and great shows that you may have missed, all based on your viewing habits.
It is the interactive nature of TiVo that really marks this as the future of television in the UK. No more will your set-top box be something that passively sits atop your TV awaiting your bidding. TiVo participates in your viewing and actively works to keep you entertained in ways you may never have considered before.
Unsurprisingly Virgin Media is keeping quite about the definitive technical specs of their revolutionary new set-top box although some details have emerged.
The hardware will be a combined digital video recorder and cable modem built by Cisco Systems.
Storage will be in the form of either a 500GB or 1TB hard drive which, Virgin claims, will be enough to record in excess of 400 hours of television. This figure will vary, however, depending upon the mix of standard- and high-definition programmes being stored within it.
Connection to your TV can be via either SCART or HDMI. Obviously if you are going to be using your Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo set-top box for high definition content you will have to use an HDMI connection as SCART does not support HD.
The electronic programme guide will allow you to control two in-built tuners, which means that two shows can be recorded at the same time. It is believed that an improved model will be released in the first half of 2011 that will feature three tuners.
The cable modem built in to the Virgin TiVo will be capable of connection speeds of up to 10Mbps. The box contains a number of web-based applications including Adobe Flash that will allow the development of any number of third-party games and applications and open up the online world on your TV.
The Virgin Media TiVo dimensions are 370mm (W) x 240mm (D) x 74 mm (H), although you will need to factor in some extra room at the back for the cables.
Advantages & improvements
It is not an overstatement to say that Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo will revolutionise the paid-for digital television market.
Chief amongst the new features is the ability to record programmes you have missed. Users can scroll back through the electronic programme guide up to 7 days into the past. Programmes are then retrieved and stored on the TiVo’s internal hard drive for you to watch when you are ready.
The Virgin Media TiVo WishList service is also sure to prove very popular with users. It allows you to make a list of searches you have made previously for your favourite actor or genre and so on. Once you’ve done this your TiVo set-top box will keep an electronic eye on forthcoming programmes for you and automatically record any that it thinks you may be interested in. It will also ‘learn’ what kind of shows you like and automatically record other similar shows that you don’t currently watch but that you may be interested in.
Your TiVo box will also have its own dedicated 10Mb broadband connection. This means that it will not have to share your existing domestic broadband connection so people browsing the web throughout your home will not notice any drop in connection speed when the TiVo is downloading Catch-Up TV or On-Demand content.
This broadband connection will allow you to browse the web on your TV as well as enjoying a vast array of games and applications, including those that use Adobe Flash technology. The new Virgin TiVo will integrate television and the online world in a way never before seen in the UK.
When can I get the new Virgin TiVo box?
Cable.co.uk will be following all the exciting developments from Virgin and TiVo and will keep you informed every step of the way. We’ll bring you details of all the TiVo deals being offered by Virgin along with a full breakdown of the full range of Virgin Media’s excellent entertainment and telecommunications packages.
How much will the new Virgin TiVo box cost?
The cost of the new Virgin Media TV Powered By TiVo service will vary depending upon which package you opt for, and whether you are an existing customer or not.
All Virgin Media TiVo deals will be offered on a minimum contract of 18 months.
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