Dan Howdle | September 26th, 2023
Virgin Media no longer has named bundles in the sense that 'Bundle X' has a standard set of components. Rather, it has four bundle 'levels', and you can vary the components pretty much as you please. The Big Bundle is the lowliest of the four, and as is commonly the case, also the cheapest. But is it any good?
Although it's nice to have everything, most of us aren't bothered about having a gazillion TV channels. Nor do many of us have the need for hyperfast internet speeds more suited to a medium-sized tech firm. That's where bundles like Virgin Media's Big Bundle come in, offering a decent range of TV channels and an impressive internet speed.
Here’s a quick summary at what you can expect to find with Virgin Media's Big Bundle. Bear in mind that you can add or vary additional features, faster speeds, more channels etc. as you please. The bundle level (Big Bundle, Bigger Bundle, Biggest Bundle, and Volt Bundle) – each of these is a starting point. What's listed here is what you'll get in that starting point before swapping anything out during the purchase process.
|£31 per month
|Unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin mobile numbers
|Virgin TV 360
The Big Bundle comes with either Virgin Media's M250, M350 or M500 broadband packages, which offer 264Mbps, 362Mbps or 516Mbps respectively. You'll have the option to choose which of these speeds you want at the checkout, and obviously the faster you go the more you're going to pay.
All three of these speeds are plenty fast enough for even the most demanding households, so choice will really come down with how much downloading you do – are you a gamer, essentially – and how impatient you are watching that download bar ticking along.
You're more likely to get the speed you're paying for with Virgin Media than you are with many other providers.
The way Virgin Media represents its list of channels on its own site is unutterably confusing. You can check out a much easier to manage, up-to-date list here on Cable.co.uk that also allows you to see what you’re getting in each bundle side-by-side. Anyway, here are the broad strokes.
The Big Bundle offers the most basic TV package Virgin Media offers and consists almost entirely of Freeview channels – channels you could be watching for nothing either via your TV’s own tuner or through a Freeview box. You don’t get Sky Max, Sky Atlantic (no Virgin Media bundle offers Sky Atlantic), any of the Discovery channels, SyFy, FOX, Boomerang, Cartoon Network (or any other kids channels beyond CBeebies), premium movies or sports. All you get are your basic BBC and ITV channels, their variants, Dave, Film 4 and a few HD ones.
So where’s the value? It’s in the box. Virgin Media’s TV 360 set-top box, as we’ll get to a little further down, is a technical marvel. In the case of the Big Bundle more than any other, that’s what you’re paying for.
This is where Virgin Media strikes an oft-fatal blow to many other UK providers. Its router and set-top box, as a free hardware proposition, are truly second to none. The Virgin Hub 5 in its latest form is compact and easy to place in an ideal position. It supports the latest WiFi 6 standard, delivering peak performance as a result. It comes with a 2.5Gbps ethernet port alongside three additional 1Gbps ports.
It’s also universally supplied across all of Virgin Media’s bundles, no matter which one you go for. That means that if you choose to upgrade further down the line you’ll be able to do so instantly. Sky and BT, for example, offer a lower-end router for their entry-level bundles, meaning if you want to upgrade, you’re going to need a new one, so that’s more useful than it sounds.
And of course, there’s also the TV 360 set-top box. It’s the best one out there – well, that you’ll get for free at any rate. It can output in 4K (ultra-high definition or UHD), search using your voice for TV programs, apps, and also skip, forward and rewind. And if you choose, you can add two Mini boxes which means you can watch TV in glorious 4K HD all over the house. And, using the Virgin TV GO app, you can view using your mobile or tablet anywhere you have internet access.
You can also record of up to 6 shows simultaneously while watching a 7th on the TV 360 box. It provides enough space to store up to 500 hours of TV, which is impressive.
By default, Virgin Media will throw in a landline with the ‘Talk Weekends’ add-on. This will allow you to call other landlines at weekends for nothing. You can also opt not to have a landline if you so desire, but this won’t, unfortunately, bring the price down. A physical line will need to be installed at your house and ‘line rental’ is for that, irrespective of whether you use it for broadband, phone or both.
Still, we quite like this option as we tend to rely on our mobile phones and if one thing stops cold callers dead in their tracks it’s having no phone to call.
Honestly? We like all the bundles from Virgin Media. This one is suited to a household that likes a bit of telly, isn’t fussed about the so-called ‘premium’ channels but wants a high-quality DVR/set-top box regardless. And why not?
All three speeds available with the Big Bundle are really fast, make no mistake. It may look slow next to Virgin’s own top-end Gig1 service, but that’s just an illusion of scale. 264Mbps – the 'slowest' package here – is almost too fast as it is.
All in all Virgin Media’s Big Bundle is ideal for anyone looking for fast, reliable broadband and a basic TV package. Plus, if you decide you want to upgrade your TV package or your broadband speed at any point, you can easily do that. Highly recommended.
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