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How to get multiroom TV from Sky, Virgin Media or BT

Thursday, May 25th 2017

Multi-room TV allows you to watch your favourite shows in different rooms throughout the house, without the expense of a separate TV subscription. More TV, less arguing – it’s win-win.

Whether you are looking for Sky Q, Virgin multi-room with the Virgin V6 box, or BT's multiroom option – known as Extra Box – we have all the info you need.

Virgin Media Multi-room

Existing Virgin Media customers can add an additional set-top box to any TV subscription, and new customers can simply take an extra box (or several) when you sign up. There are two boxes to choose from: the 500GB TiVo box or the new V6 box. Both boxes allow you to pause, rewind and record TV - the TiVo allows the recording of up to three channels at once, whereas the V6 allows you to record up to six. There are no ongoing monthly payments –just a one-off fee.

Pause & rewind
Record 250 hours
up to
500 hours
up to
On demand & catch up TV
On-the-go app Virgin TV Anywhere Virgin TV Anywhere
Box cost £6.50 per month, per box £6.50 per month, per box
Set-up cost* £49.95 £99.95
Multiscreen monthly cost £5 per month £5 per month
500GB TiVo
Pause & rewind
Yes
Up to 250 hours
On demand & catch up TV
Yes
On-the-go app
Virgin TV Anywhere
Box cost
£6.50 per month, per box
Set-up cost
£49.95**
Multiscreen monthly cost
£5 per month
1TB TiVo
Pause & rewind
Yes
Record
Up to 500 hours
On demand & catch up TV
Yes
On-the-go app
Virgin TV Anywhere
Box cost
£6.50 per month, per box
Set-up cost
£99.95**
Multiscreen monthly cost
£5 per month

*Additional activation costs may apply depending on your current broadband, TV or phone package.

Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 4947 0808 168 4947
for sales, upgrades and advice

Monday to Sunday 8am-9pm

Expect to pay extra for additional TiVo boxes, although you’ll get all the nifty features plus the option to stream between boxes so you can record a show on one box and watch it on another. It's also worth mentioning you’ll need to either physically connect your additional boxes via an ethernet cable to your Virgin Hub router, or to one another.

If this isn’t possible, you may need a Powerline adapter which uses the electrical wiring in your home to carry a broadband signal throughout the house.

Sky Multiscreen with Sky Q

The ability to watch your subscription TV channels on a multiroom basis is now a standard feature of Sky’s latest service, Sky Q.

With Sky Q you can add up to four Sky Q mini boxes and stream live and recorded content from the main Sky Q Hub. Unlike the previous Sky Multiscreen set-up with Sky+HD, Sky Q wireless, making installation quick and easy and viewing super-flexible.

You will be charged an extra £12 per month when you choose to add Multiscreen to your Sky Q package. You will receive one Sky Q Mini box for free. If you want more than one extra box, you will be charged an additional £99 for every extra Sky Q Mini box you take.

In addition, you will receive the Sky Go Extra app free of charge, meaning you can download and watch your favourite TV when you are away from home.

Pause and rewind
Record Record and stream recordings from Sky Q
On demand & catch up TV
On-the-go app Sky Q app
1 Sky Q Mini box £12 per month
Second Sky Q Mini box cost £99 upfront + £12 per month
Monthly cost from £32
  Go →
Sky Q 2TB + Sky Q Mini box
Pause and rewind
Yes
Record
Record and stream recordings from Sky Q
On demand & catch up TV
Yes
On-the-go app
Sky Q app
1 Sky Q Mini box
£12 per month
Second Sky Q Mini box cost
£99
Monthly cost
£44

BT multiroom

BT has recently rolled out its multi-room service – catchily titled the Extra Box service – for its BT TV products. You can add an extra YouView or YouView+ box. The BT TV Extra Box service is subscription-based, and costs £5 per month on top of your current monthly bill for BT TV.

Pause & rewind
Record Up to 300hrs
On demand & catch up TV
On-the-go appr BT Online Player
One extra box cost £49/£99
Set-up cost None
Multiscreen monthly cost £5
Go →
BT YouView+ box
Pause & rewind
Yes
Record
Up to 300hrs
On demand & catch up TV
Yes
On-the-go app
BT Online Player
One extra box cost
£49/£99
Set-up cost
None
Multiscreen monthly cost
£5 per month

Note that additional activation costs may apply depending on your current broadband, TV or phone package.

This isn’t a cheap option, because, while the monthly £5 fee might seem fairly small, there is an important caveat to take into consideration. First, you have to pay for your extra box – a second YouView Box (on which you cannot record) costs £49, or a second YouView+ box (on which you can record) costs £99 upfront.

In addition, BT states that you need a minimum download speed of 23Mbps broadband, which means signing up to BT Infinity fibre broadband. When you consider that Sky Q can be taken with standard Sky broadband, BT's insistence on fibre seems unnecessary.

Streaming an HD movie only requires around 5Mbps, so we see little reason for this minimum download speed. However, to see if you can get BT Infinity, you can use our postcode checker.

Why get multi-room TV?

Stop arguments over the remote

If your family or housemates have different tastes in TV shows, you’ll be familiar with arguments over the remote control and deciding what to watch live and what to record for later. Multi-room keeps everyone happy by allowing you to access the content from your TV subscription on a TV in a different room via a separate set-top box.

It costs extra but is cheaper than a separate subscription

Multi-room TV is offered by the UK’s three biggest subscription TV providers – Sky, BT and Virgin Media. It adds an extra cost to your monthly TV bill but works out cheaper than taking a separate subscription for different TVs in the house.

Before you sign up

Check the extra box has the functions you need

Different set-top boxes have different functions and storage capacities so it’s important check the specs to pick the right one. Sky’s HD multi-screen box for example, is included free when you subscribe to the service, but it doesn’t allow you to pause, rewind and record shows or access TV on demand and catch up services.

You can watch TV on mobile devices via on-the-go apps

If you’re looking for a more flexible multiroom experience, you can make use of the on-the-go apps with Sky Go, the BT Online Player, and Virgin TV Anywhere.

Although they are not compatible with TVs, you’ll be able to watch programmes or movies on other devices like PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones, some of which you can connect to your TV screen via an HDMI cable.

You can get multiple multi-room boxes

Both Virgin Media and Sky offer slightly different limits as to how many additional boxes you can have on one account. With Virgin, you can have up to six additional TiVo boxes in your home.

If you’re a Sky customer, your dish can provide up to eight “feeds” to different rooms in your home. This doesn't automatically mean you can have eight boxes, however, as while Sky and Sky HD Multiscreen boxes only require a single feed, Sky+HD boxes require two. As a result, you could have both Sky+HD and Multiscreen boxes up to a maximum of eight feeds.

BT TV is a little different. You can only have the one extra YouView box, and you have to pay £99 for the privilege.

TalkTalk TV

TalkTalk has no plans for multi-room

TalkTalk TV meanwhile has no plans to sell or support more than one YouView Box per household. It states that if you do connect more than one YouView Box to your TalkTalk broadband, it cannot guarantee the quality of the service.

Conclusion

Multi-room is a useful option for large households that have different tastes in TV, but the additional expense makes it a luxury for most of us.

The on-the-go apps are a great, free option to access your TV content on different devices at home and while out and about, and you can always sync devices like laptops and tablets to your TV via an HDMI cable for the full screen experience.

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