Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Virgin TiVo: Pre-Launch

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

It's nearly here. Virgin Media are now taking pre-orders for their "next-generation entertainment platform": a personal video recorder that's been built in partnership with US industry leader TiVo. The Virgin TiVo is expected to start rolling out in a few weeks, just in time for Christmas. So what can you expect from this brand new device? See below:
  • x3 TV Tuners (meaning you can record two programmes, while watching another*)
  • 4,600 hours of streamable TV/music/movies (less if you're on a lower package than XL)
  • Inbuilt TV catch-up services (BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Five Demand, Virgin Player, etc)
  • 1TB of storage capacity (approx 500 hours of playback space)
  • Web-based apps (eBay, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Built-in modem (enabling access to a dedicated 10Mbps line, to avoid using the bandwidth of your existing internet connection.)
  • 3D (the box can broadcast 3D transmissions to 3D-enabled TVs)
The TiVo software itself is the big selling point, with its famously user-friendly design and intelligent software. The box will recommend shows based on your current viewing, will record shows based on your inputted preference for particular actors/genres/directors, and includes the TiVo's iconic "thumbs up/thumbs down" grading system, so viewers can help the box find the perfect recommendations.

You will also be able to create "wishlists" of shows you want the TiVo to record, months before they're actually being broadcast. Also, the familiar catch-up functionality will be improved, with users able to browse 7 days into the past using the inbuilt TV guide. A companion app for the Apple iPad will also be released in 2011, turning iPads into a high-tech remote control.

The TiVos will cost consumers £199 + £40 installation, then £26 pcm for the XL package (160 channels). It's currently unknown if there will be other deals available (for brand new customers, or existing XL subscribers), or if this is a flat price.

For more information, check out Virgin's official TiVo site.

* At launch, there will only be 2 tuners, with the standard 3 becoming available in early 2011.