What's in the Virgin Media TV basic package?
By Emma Lunn | Tuesday, February 9th 2021
If you want to take advantage of Virgin Media's latest tech – in the form of their next-gen TV 360 set top box – then unfortunately you'll have to plump for a broadband and TV bundle. That new set top tech needs to be connected, and that means it'll need a Virgin Media broadband connection. And the most basic TV and broadband combination Virgin offer is their Big Bundle.
The Big Bundle basically includes Virgin's M50 broadband, a landline with inclusive weekend landline calls and their Mixit TV offering – delivered via a Virgin TV 360 set top box.
Overview of the Big Bundle
The Big Bundle is essentially the 'gateway package' for Virgin Media TV and broadband. It's simply the chepeast way to access Virgin Media TV, broadband and phone services all packaged together. You'll get M50 broadband, which with an average download speed of 56Mbps is still pretty respectable and naturally comes with unlimited downloads. But to concentrate on the TV side of things, you'll get Virgin Media's Mixit TV with over a 100 channels, plus catch up services and a host of apps.
You also get the Virgin TV Go app which allows you to stream your favourite shows to your mobile or tablet, at home or on the go, wherever there’s wi-fi, 3G, 4G or 5G in the UK.
And on top of everything, you can even make free calls to landlines all weekend long.
Virgin Media Big Bundle
£33 p/m£35 one-off cost See Deal
- 54Mb average speed
- 100+ channels
- Inclusive calls
What channels do I get with Mixit TV?
At the time of writing you get about 112 channels including Freeview channels. You also get all the free-to-air catch-up players including BBC iPlayer, All4, YouTube, Vevo, Challenge and more. If you subscribe to Netflix or Prime, you can watch these on your TV too.
Why are we being a little vague about the exact number of channels you get? Well, because Virgin is a little vague about it too. You’ll notice its website never gives the exact number of channels you get with any package. You’ll see a lot of “over XX” channels and “up to XX” channels. This is because channel line-ups are subject to regional variations. For example, ITV HD is not available where STV HD or UTV HD is available.
Anyway, back to the Big Bundle's Mixit TV. As well as Freeview and catch-up, there are over 60 entertainment channels, four factual and lifestyle channels, six kids channels, four music channels, six movies and two sports. It sounds a lot but, as with Freeview, many channels are HD or +1 versions of other channels.
The entertainment channels include Sky One, Sky Arts, Sky Witness, Sky Crime and Sky Comedy, Comedy Central and Fox. The two Sports channels are Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Racing and Freesports HD.
If you want to be more educated, factual channels include PBS Ameria and The Food Network. And if you need your TV to babysit your kids, you can keep them occupied with the CBBC channels, CITV, Pop, Pop Power and Tiny Pop.
Music fans can tune into Four Music or the NOW channels, and film fanatics will appreciate Film 4, the Sony Movies Classics and Action channels and Talking Pictures. However if you want to watch recent blockbusters, you’ll either need to upgrade to a more pricey package, add Sky Cinema, or pay-per-film on Virgin Movies On Demand.
One downside of all Virgin Media TV packages is that you can’t get Sky Atlantic – so you’ll miss the next season of Succession as well as shows like Westworld, True Detective, and Billions. Sky seems to be keeping this channel for its own customers, making it a bit of a unique selling point.
Virgin TV 360 set-top box
Virgin’s pretty proud of its latest TV box, and quite rightly so – it's their fastest and slickest set top box yet and comes with a fresh and completely new interface. Virgin likes to think of it's new Guide as a 'sofa sherpa', helping you find your way around and, most importantly saving your time. And the interface is exactly the same, whether you're view on TV or using TV Go on your mobile or Tablet. Plus, the new remote is now fully voice operable, so, in theory at least, you should just be able to say it, and then see it.
Naturally, the TV 360 is ready for Ultra HD viewing and it'll even let you set up profiles for each member of the family – meaning everyone can jump right into their own channels or simply pick up where they left off. It'll offer you up to a months worth of catch up – plus it's easy to add 4k-ready 360 mini boxes, meaning you can watch all over the home.
When you sign up with Virgin you rent the TV 360, rather than buy it. This means you’ll have to give it back once your contract is up. But on the plus side, Virgin will fix it if it breaks down.
You’ll need an HD TV for the TV 360 to work and the box connects to your TV using an HDMI cable (which Virgin will send you). But if your TV isn’t an HD or 'HD Ready' TV, it won't have an HDMI port and you won't be able to connect the box. You can either self-install your TV 360 box using the QuickStart option or pay for an engineer to do it for you (we did it ourselves and rate it 'easy to medium' with occasional swearing but no full-on meltdown).
Virgin also enables you to watch streaming services like Netflix and Prime through its box – assuming you subscribe – so no more hooking your laptop up to the telly or watching Netflix on a computer screen.
Catch-up TV on Virgin Media
With catch-up there’s no reason to miss an epic TV moment ever again. To see shows that will be available on catch-up, look through your TV Guide for shows with the catch-up symbol (the letter “c” surrounded by a semi-circle with an arrow).
To find shows on catch-up, press 'home' on your remote and choose 'catch up' from the menu. These programmes aren’t stored on the TV 360 so you’ll need to be connected to the internet to watch them.
Ways the Virgin TV 360 box makes life easier
The TV 360 offers lots of extra features to make your life easier. The search facility is easy to use, enabling you to find shows on catch-up or those you’ve saved. You can also customise your channel guide just to include your favourites (no reality channels for me, please).
Like the TiVo, Virgin’s TV 360 box will make recommendations to you based on your profile viewing habits and will save shows it thinks you’ll love. Virgin TV’s Series Link+ collects every episode of your favourite shows in one place.
The 'clear' button allows you to delete anything from a single show to a whole folder; and if you delete things by mistake, the 'undelete' feature enables you to rescue them.
Parental controls can stop younger family members viewing inappropriate content – just don’t forget your PIN or you can’t watch it either. Your PIN is also needed to purchase on-demand content.
If you lose your remote (heaven forbid) press and hold the 'channel up' button on your Virgin TV 360 box and your remote will bleep from down the side of the sofa or wherever it’s hidden.
The TV 360 allows you to record shows, actors and even directors, every time they’re on TV. So you’ll never miss a programme with Tom Hardy/Margot Robbie (whoever floats your boat) in it ever again.
The Virgin TV Go app – any good?
In a word, yes. The Virgin TV Go app means you can watch a range of box sets and up to 110 live TV channels on your mobile or tablet, anywhere with wi-fi, 3G, 4G or 5G, as long as you’re in the UK. You can also watch stuff you’ve recorded on your box on your phone or tablet.
Exactly what content is available to view depends on the TV package and you might find you can’t get all the channels or content from your TV package on your phone or tablet.
Refer a friend
Enjoying Virgin TV and want to share the love? You can get £50 by referring a friend who then signs up – they also get £50 off their first bill. Both of you will need to be on contracts of 12 months or more.
The best bit? You can make up to 25 referrals a month which means many people could pretty much zero their bill by referring just one friend a month (you’ve got friends, right?).
What add-ons are available with Virgin Media TV packages?
Add Sky Sports or Sky Cinema
You can add all the Sky Sports channels, including HD channels and F1, and BT Sport to any Virgin TV deal, including its most basic packages. You can add sports just for a month at a time – perfect if you just want to see a particular sports tournament or match.
If you’re not a sports fan, or even if you are, you can add Sky Cinema too. Virgin requires 30 days’ notice to remove premium channels/packs so if you just want a channel for a month, you’ll need to give notice to cancel it as soon as you get it.
Get Virgin Movies On Demand
Virgin Movies On Demand are pay-by-title. Once rented, content is available for 48 hours. There are hundreds of films to choose from, many in HD. However, as you’re paying per film, big film fans will be better off subscribing to Sky Cinema or Netflix.