Virgin brings back TiVo

Virgin Media TV promises a more personalised on-demand TV watching experience

Virgin Media has unveiled its new TV service that delivers on-demand programming, web-based TV apps and a highly personalized user-experience through a single TiVo-powered box. It’s expected to launch mid-December.

Through Virgin Media’s existing cable service, you can watch live TV, access Virgin Media’s 4,600 hour library of on-demand TV, movies and music, view programmes from the TV guide’s previous sevens days, while also catch-up on your goggle-box watching with BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Demand Five and ITV Player.

However, the biggest boon here is clearly the TiVo powered software and TV-based apps. Analysing your watching habits it can recommend similar or related programmes and content with a thumbs up/down button on TiVo’s peanut shaped remote to hone future recommendations. Elsewhere, an accurate ‘WishList’ search facility sniffs out entertainment based on a particular actor, director, show or theme.

An Adobe flash-based platform gives access to apps, although the choice is limited from launch. Apps like BBC iPlayer, Facebook for viewing photos, YouTube, Twitter and Ebay will be available from the start with further apps expected to be added in the coming months.  

The TiVo-fuelled box itself features two tuners for recording, 1TB of storage (perfect for all your HD content) and a 10MB speed modem to power the app platform. The two-tuner box will be available from this month but will be upgraded to a three-tuner set-up via a free automatic software upgrade in early 2011.

The cost? Well there’s an upfront fee of £199 for the box – Virgin Media will repair or replace the box for the duration of your custom – a £40 installation fee and a £32.50 a month subscription if you don’t have a Virgin phone line. However, take up a Virgin phone line and the monthly fee is a cheaper £26.50 a month.

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