Why choose Virgin TV?
Virgin Media has made huge strides over the last few years to improve its TV subscription packages. Whether as a standalone TV-only package or as part of a TV bundle deal, it is now seen as the main contender to Sky's crown as the premier TV subscription provider. Let's take a closer look at some of the unique features that set Virgin's TV offering apart from its competitors.
- Choice of two distinct TV packages
- Access to the fastest broadband with four bundle options
- 12-month discount on all TV and broadband bundles
- Virgin V6 box is the best in the business
- Watch 4K content on V6 via the Netflix and YouTube apps
- TV-only packages available
- You can add Sky Sports, BT Sport and Sky Cinema
Choice of two distinct TV packages
There are only two TV packages, which keeps things simple, right? Not exactly. In fact, for such a tiny number of possible options, Virgin Media seems intent on making things as confusing as possible.
The two 'levels' of TV are called 'Mix' and 'Full House'. As the names suggest, Mix is a blend of Freeview essentials with a few premium bits and bobs thrown in, which Full House offers you practically everything bar premium add-ons such as Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and BT Sport.
Where this becomes confusing is how this is then applied to bundles (broadband, TV, phone), which we'll talk about in just a moment. Suffice to say for now, either Mix or Full House TV become the TV component of each of the three broadband, TV and phone bundles.
Access to the fastest broadband with three bundle options
You really would have to be a bit of a wally not to sign up to Virgin Media broadband if you're getting its TV service. Virgin Media offers by far the fastest, most reliable broadband in the UK with top speeds more than four times quicker than its closest rival. In fact, it's so good we wrote an entire guide about why it's the best there is.
Now remember, there are two TV packages, and three bundles. The Player Bundle is the one incorporating Mix TV, which both the Full House and VIP bundles incorporate Full House TV, with the VIP bundle adding Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, BT Sport and an extra V6 set-top box so you can watch in more than one room. It's pricey, but boy that's a lot of telly!
The combinations don't end there, of course. You can pretty much add or subtract anything you like with your bundle. You could have Virgin's slowest broadband with its most inclusive TV, for example. It's just that the pre-defined bundles tend to offer better value and often come with introductory discounts, gifts or cashback.
12-month discount on all TV and broadband bundles
Virgin Media tends to favour a first-year discount period over outright gifts for new customers, though when it does partake of the latter it will often layer it on top of the first-year discount, not instead of it. The discount amount varies by package and bundle, so if you want to know exactly how much less you're going to be paying for those first twelve months you'll need to find out for yourself.
Virgin V6 Box is the best in the business
Virgin's V6 TV box is unrivalled within the industry and, justifiably, has received rave reviews since it was launched in December 2016. So, what's so special about it? Well, it's free for a start for all Virgin Media TV bundle customers. It's far better than the free version of the Sky Q box and just about on a par with the Sky Q 2TB, which Sky will charge you £200 for. It has a huge 1TB of storage capacity, which caters for up to 500 hours of recordings for SD programmes and 100 hours for HD.
You can record up to six programmes at once and the V6 box still gives you room to watch a seventh you recorded earlier. Whilst it's unclear exactly which households would actually ever need to do that, it's great to know you can. The V6 comes with all Virgin TV packages and broadband, TV and phone bundles.
Watch 4K content on V6 via the Netflix and YouTube apps
Unlike the free version of the Sky Q box, Virgin's V6 set-top box is 4K-ready. You can watch 4K content on it right from the get-go provided you have one of those fancy new 4K TVs. However, at this point don't expect any channels in 4K because there aren't any right now. BT Sport has one in the form of BT Sport Ultra HD, but you can't watch that on the V6 even if you add on BT Sport.
What you can do is watch 4K content via the Netflix and Youtube apps which you can install on the V6. Although the hardware is capable the software (firmware) on the V6 doesn't currently support high dynamic range (HDR) content. If you don't know what HDR is there's honesty no reason you should care. People who are seriously into the audiovisual technology race might, though. At the very least, the V6 is future-proof in a way Sky Q isn't.
Watch on mobile and tablet with Virgin TV Go App
Well isn't this just great? The Virgin TV Go app comes with every TV package or broadband, TV and phone bundle. You can use it on iOS or Android phones and tablets as well as on any laptop or computer. It offers complete access to all of your TV channels both live or on catch-up and even allows you to download programmes to your device while you're at home or on wi-fi so you can watch them when out and about.
TV-only packages available
Whereas Sky only offers Sky Entertainment as a standalone TV deal, Virgin offers two. So, if you're happy with your broadband and landline provider but want to change your TV package, Virgin offers you the flexibility to do so.
The basic Mix TV deal offers all the Freeview channels plus a selection of premium channels including Sky One, Sky Living and Sky Sports News. The Full House TV deal offers lots more channels, in addition to those available on the Mix TV deal, including all the Disney channels and all the BT Sports channels in HD plus Nat Geo Wild HD. No phone line is required for either deal and both come with a 500GB TiVo box, not the V6 box, which should still be plenty storage for any programme recording you wish to make.
You can add Sky Sports, BT Sport and Sky Cinema
UK competition laws mean that if Sky and BT are going to exclusive get all the premium sport they have to make it available to competitors. That means you can add on both Sky Sports and BT Sport to your Virgin TV package or bundle with enormous ease.
The option to also add on Sky Cinema seems to us like one of those 'in for a penny, in for a pound' decisions. Sky must offer Sky Sports to Virgin Media customers so why not offer it's premium movie channels too?
Virgin Movies on demand
Virgin TV doesn't have its own dedicated premium movie channels. It does have Film 4 and TCM and that one that shows made-for-TV melodramas all day, but if you want full-time movie channels showing newer films you'll need to subscribe to add Sky Cinema to your package.
If, on the other hand, you just want to watch the odd thing here and there, Virgin Movies on demand allows you to rent new releases for 48 hours for similar money to what you'd pay on Amazon Prime, or used to pay at Blockbuster.
3D content on demand
Who cares about 3D anymore? Some do, actually. Unbeknownst to most there can be huge differences in the quality of 3D between one TV and another. The upshot is that those who experienced 'bad 3D' generally lost interest, while those who saw 'good 3D' formed a following.
Anyhow, those that enjoy 3D will be extremely pleased to hear that Virgin Media still offers 3D movies on demand, unlike literally anyone else.
Range of international channel collections
Virgin TV offers a large range of global entertainment collections you can add on to your TV bundles for a little extra each month. These international channel packages include, amongst others:
- Asian Mela: Top Asian news, Indian serials and Bollywood classics. Comes with eleven channels including Zee TV, Zee Cinema and StarPlus
- Polish Impreza: Four top channels including TVP Polonia and ITVN
- French Bouquet: The very best French TV with four premium channels including France 2, 3 and 5
- Spanish Viva: Four top Spanish channels including TVE International and Antena 3
Quickstart self install available
So, you've got all the details you need, decided on which package is right for you and ready to make that purchase. Once that's done all you need to do is make an appointment for an engineer to come out and hook up your new box. Well, perhaps not. There is, possibly, a way you can install your new hardware yourself.
First of all, if you're moving away from Sky, don't worry about the dish because you won't need that whilst you're a customer with Virgin Media. Second, if your home's been connected to the Virgin network at any time over the previous three years you can set everything up without the need for an engineer with Virgin's Quickstart self install pack.
Everything you need can be ordered through 'click and collect' from your local Virgin Media store or it can be sent directly to your home, for a small delivery fee, along with a simple step-by-step guide for you to follow and you can set it all up yourself with no engineer required.