Virgin TiVo Box
TiVo from Virgin Media is the next generation of TV watching in the UK and the Virgin TiVo Box is at the heart of the service. TiVo is not only an intelligent recording service that will automatically save certain types of programme when you request it to (and sometimes even when you don’t), it also enables you to integrate your TV package with extra content on the web and is a major step in the convergence of TV and internet.
The TiVo service lets you search for shows and movies by title, actor and director – this means not only searching what’s coming up on your Virgin TV package channels but also searching Catch Up TV, TV On Demand and even web content like YouTube.
We say TiVo will record things even when you don’t request it because one of the features is the ability to recommend programmes you might like based on what you have already watched. TiVo will automatically record these suggested shows and movies and store them in a special folder if you set it to do so.
TiVo Box Features
So how does TiVo do all of these things? The standard TiVo box has a 500GB hard drive (1 terabyte also available) and more unusually its own 10Mb broadband connection built in, so you can stream extra TV from the web without affecting the rest of the household’s internet connection. 500GB is enough memory for around 250 hours of standard definition TV or 50 hours of HD TV (1 terabyte around 500 hours of standard definition TV or 100 hours of HD TV). Like the V+HD Box the TiVo box is also HD and 3D ready and has 3 tuners, enabling you to watch one channel while recording two others, or even record 3 channels while watching something you recorded earlier. Here’s a rundown of the spec followed by more detail;
- 500GB hard drive to store up to 250 hours of standard TV or 50 hours of HD
- Built in 10Mb broadband connection independent of your main internet to stream shows without affecting the rest of your web usage
- TV and web content searchable by actor, director and title keywords
- Box can suggest programmes you might like based on your viewing history
- HD and 3D ready
- 3 tuners – record 2 channels while watching another
- Can be set to record remotely onine or by phone
Storage on the TiVo Box
The 500GB box has enough space for around 250 hours of standard definition TV and the 1TB version can store around 500 hours. Both versions can be taken with M+, L or XL for an activation fee of £49.95 for the 500GB or £99.95 for the 1TB box and £3 a month extra on your bill. The huge storage capacity of both boxes means you can record lots of content without worrying about space, and so use features like Wishlist, where the box will record programmes it thinks you’ll like based on the information you have given it when watching other shows. The large storage space also allows the TiVo box to keep a file of deleted items, just like your PC would have, so if you accidentally erase a show you wanted (easily done) you can just get it back.
Built In Broadband Connection
It’s all very well streaming and recording extra content from YouTube and other web based TV sources but it would normally slow down the broadband connection for the rest of the household. That’s why the TiVo box has its own dedicated 10Mb broadband connection so one will not affect the other.
Search for Content with TiVo
Rather than look out for shows or films from your favourite actors or directors with TiVo you can search for, say, ‘Colin Firth’ and the box will search live TV, On Demand, Catch Up and web services like YouTube to find any relevant content, which could be a whole movie or one his acceptance speeches from the Oscars or the BAFTAs.
TiVo Box Suggestions
As you use the TiVo box it will store data about your viewing habits and use this to suggest programmes you may like that you otherwise might have missed. There are even 2 keys on the TiVo remote, a thumbs-up and a thumbs-down, that you can use to rate shows or films as you watch them – the box will then suggest content similar to the programmes you’ve rated highly.
Three Tuners Built In
This has always been the trump card of the Virgin V+HD box and the TiVo boxes also feature 3 built-in tuners. This means you can record 2 shows while you watch a third or even record 3 shows simulataneously while you watch a previously-recorded one from the hard drive.
Apps for the TiVo Box
If you’re a TiVo customer and you want to check Facebook or Twitter there’s no need to pick up the laptop or move to the PC as there are TiVo apps for both of these and many more. Customers just need to set them up and manage them in their My Virgin Media account. Another app called Photo Gallery lets users create and share albums and slideshows from their Facebook, Flickr and Picasa accounts – you can then view them on your TV with no need to ever connect camera to telly as the integrated broadband connection takes care of the transfer from photo accounts.
How Much is the TiVo Box?
The standard 500GB version of the TiVo box, which stores around 250 hours of TV, is available on TV M+, L or XL with free activation and set-up and just £3 a month extra on the bill.
The 1TB TiVo box costs £49.95 activation and the same extra £3 a month charge on top of your normal package fee as the 500GB box above.
Starter TV Bundle
From £20 a month
Size ‘M+’ TV, that’s 75 channels, On Demand & Catch-Up, 10Mb Broadband + unlimited weekend phone calls! Free TiVo box activation and installation at the moment saving £99.50. From £20 p/m plus £13.90 Virgin phone line rental.
Great Value TiVo
£23 a month
Free TiVo box activation and installation special offer! The amazing 500GB TiVo Box – 10MB Broadband built in – live, on demand and catch-up TV. TV M+, Broadband L & Phone M. £13.90 line rental.
Super Speedy Broadband
£34.50 a month
Superfast 50Mb Broadband, Size ‘M+’ TV (75 channels, On Demand, Catch-Up) & Phone with free weekend calls with a Virgin phone line Free TiVo box and free installation. Plus £13.90 per month Virgin phone line rental.
TiVo 1TB with TV XL
£45 a month
TV size ‘XL’ – 175 channels – massive 1TB TiVo Box for £49.95 one-off fee. Record & pause HD and 3D TV, 10Mb Broadband and Phone with Talk Weekends – £13.90 per month Virgin phone line required. Loads of channels!