back to article Virgin Media readies 1TB TiVo set-top for Brits

Virgin Media today said it is bring TiVo back to Blighty with a 1TB set-top box capable of grabbing HD and 3D content from the cable company. Virgin and TiVo announced a year ago that they were going to bring the DVR pioneer's technology to the UK. TiVo itself never set up shop here, though Thomson and BSkyB jointly offered …


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  1. Daniel 43


    is this not just a higher capacity V+ box?

    1. Ian K

      Hopefully not

      I've had a V+ for a few years now, and have never seen a bigger dogs breakfast of a user interface.

      * It takes 4-5 keypresses on the remote to resume viewing if you stopped part way through a program (plus however many more you need to get to the program on your recorded items list - it always reenters the list on the top item).

      * There's a "Are you sure?" whenever you try to stop playing a recorded program (of course I'm !%$$!ing sure - I pressed the "Stop" button didn't I?).

      * Good luck in working out under which of the 3+ on demand/highlights/our choice areas on the top level menu any given program appears.

      * If you reset the box (which you need to do every week or two when it locks up) or stops responding to the remote if forgets /all/ configuration, including widescreen settings and parental control.

      And that's just a few items from the top of my "why it sucks" list. As you might have gathered, I really don't rate the V+ box's design.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No! It's a TIVO! I loved my Tivo back in the day, one of the best features is that it would fill free space with similar shows to the ones you set to record, while still prioritising the stuff you set it to record. A simple but terrific feature.

      Really looking forward to this.

  2. MGman
    Thumb Up


    My original TiVo gave up earlier this year. It was one of the best bits of tech I ever bought. It's interface and general usage was still so much better than the V+ and Sky+ boxes that I was prepared to live with just being able to record the channel the Sky box was on for all these years.

    I will be first in the queue for a new TiVo. :)

  3. Fuzz

    "It will connect to Virgin's fibre-optic network,"

    So it'll have a fibre interface on the back? No, didn't think so. So it connects to the DOCSIS network using a copper coax much like every set top cable box.

  4. Tech Hippy

    - better interface?

    As long as it run's a new UI rather than the bodged implementation that Virgin use, sign me up.

    What genius implemented an update mechanism that updates regardless of whether you're recording / watching?

  5. Stu

    platform design

    Hummm, TiVo in relation to Sky+ or V+.

    From personal experience (Sky+) the software is terrible - if I rewind and ffwd too rapidly, the box can get confused and literally destroy the time buffer, or, it more frequently pauses the playback in such a way the only way to unpause it is to re-rewind for a second! Furthermore the box does need the odd power cycling now and again.

    Sky push out updates every so often that screws around with the setup, and I see all sorts of varying symptoms too month in month out.

    I also know two different people with V+ boxes and they too report various reliability issues, and the V+ menus and EPGs don't really look all that polished and neat.

    So in my opinion, given Virgin (and Sky) are apparently incapable of fixing the issues with their kit, I very much welcome the TiVo return provided they don't charge a premium. And although I can't see it happening, Sky should also consider the same move.

    TiVo is a much much more mature system given its popularity in the US for ages, and although I have no personal experience with TiVo gear, even if it reliably handles straight forward FFWD and rewind, and at speeds higher than 30x (which isn't 30x in actuality) then I'm sold already!

    Plus, 1TB, fantastiche!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Should have suspected something like this was coming

    when TiVO sent a system message a few days back announcing that pay monthly subscription customers would no longer have to pay a subscription. Bit of a bummer as the £200 value of a lifetime sub used to make the boxes worth reselling. A quick look on ebay now shows that they have fallen dramatically from their circa £300 resale price a couple of years back to virtually bugger all. That and when SKY stopped charging an additional fee for SKY+.

    All this would be fine if I could get one of these new TiVO's, but sadly my area isn't cabled and so I can't be in line for one of these natty boxes.

    Come on SKY, how about it???

  7. Chris Hills

    Cisco but not Samsung

    I have had a V+ HD box installed in the last couple of months, and it is a Samsung not a Cisco box, so it won't be upgradable to Tivo. Hopefully they will offer a replacement free of charge.

  8. Rogerborg
    Thumb Up

    About time too

    Agree with the above: the V+ boxes are a pile of wank. Small capacity drive, appalling UI (4 keypresses to get to your favourite channels), buggy, shitty skip options - unless you like jumping 10 minutes at a time.

    Time for the grown ups to step in and take charge. I do expect Virgin to bitch-slap any existing customer who dares to try to upgrade though - they'll only want to rent these things to Sky+ customers. Top tip: switch to Sky today so you can switch back to Virgin when the TiVos are available.

  9. wondermouse
    Thumb Up

    TiVo love.....

    "As long as it run's a new UI rather than the bodged implementation that Virgin use,..."

    That's the whole point! The TiVo interface is SO much better than, for example, a Sky + that the Sky box is like a TiVo with a lobotomy!

    It's as close to a perfect interface on one of these devices that I've found.

    Features on the (now ancient but endlessly moddable) Series 1 box include:

    When you fast forward (to skip the ads) and press Play, it automatically starts playing from a couple of seconds before you hit play so you don't have to do the FF > Play > Rewind > Play shuffle!

    An intelligent Season Pass manager that juggles multiple showings of the same episode so that if the 10 Oclock showing clashes with something else, it'll get the 2AM showing instead.

    Wish lists that can schedule across any channel for example "all Dennis Potter plays".

    Add ons include

    Automatic padding: Add 3 mins to the start and 5 mins to the end of every recording UNLESS this would clash with another programme.

    Full web access and remote programming. (with an optional network card)

    A happy Mr TiVo animation when you first plug it in!

    I love my TiVo and wish they did a Freeview or Freesat dual tuner box in the UK!

  10. tony72
    Thumb Up


    The biggest f@#k-up with the current V+ is that it always records 3 minutes of overlap either side of a program - fine and sensible in most cases, but if you record two consecutive programs on the same channel, it's not smart enough to do that with one tuner, oh no. Hence if you say schedule recordings on BBC1 at 8-9pm and 9-10pm, then try to schedule another recording on a different channel at 9pm, you won't be able to; it'll report a conflict, because it's got 2 tuners in use between 8:57 and 9:03, and the third tuner is reserved for live viewing.

    TiVo users seem to think it's god's gift, so let's hope this TiVo STB is a bit of an improvement on the V+, and that existing customers can get one without shelling out a king's ransom.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Daniel 43

    @Daniel 43

    Nope, it's much more than just a V+ box with a bigger drive, it has a complete new user interface. Different to the normal TiVo interface, custom made for Virgin Media and it integrates all of the nice TiVo features. Widgets that bring online content onto the screen, season recording, search on demand and the TV guide by title, actor etc.

    The VM box is based on the TiVo Premiere, have a read:

  12. KrisM

    next year now apparently...

    A friend of mine who works in the VM offices has beeb told 11th january is now the more likely launch date, so this year looks unlikely...

    A shame, as I'm very keen to find out the pricing of this new service! 1TB will be dam handy. For the first time I hit the critcal storage space message last night when my V+ box decided it would be a good idea ti record the 3 eposodes of fringe (as latest series is on a short break, sky deicded to play catch up) from Sky HD - 3 hours of HD (well 4 if i include stargate that was also on last night) and I ran out of space...

    1. Neil 7

      @next year now apparently

      There will be a "soft launch" this year (late Nov/Dec, possibly next week even) with the full launch taking place early next year. Your friend is most likely referring to the "full launch" in which case he's probably right.

  13. Neil 7
    Thumb Up

    Not forgetting these other TiVo inovations...

    "Skip to tick" - jump forward/backward in 15 minute chunks using the visual timeline of where you are in the programme (very useful for long recordings such as Formula 1 when you can jump forward 1 hour to the race start in just 4 button clicks!)

    "8 second jump back" - a dedicated button on the remote to jump backwards 8 seconds, for those moments when you miss some dialogue ("what did he say?"... click jump back... "ah right").

    And ten years later even SkyHD still doesn't give you a graphical representation of how long the current recording is, or where you currently are within the recording.

    Simple things really, but things you become very accustomed to and constantly miss when using inferior systems... my TiVo is still the number #1 recording device in my household, controlling a SkyHD box as it's source for recordings and also instructing the SkyHD box to make HD recordings whenever the TiVo is recording from an HD channel (that way I only need to delve into the SkyHD UI whenever I want to watch something in HD quality, usually only Sport).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The V+ box

      The Atlanta Data one, or whatever, has the "back 8 seccs" button.

    2. SteveCo
      Thumb Up

      And don't forget the 'hidden' ad skip button on the version1

      SELECT - PLAY - SELECT - 3 - 0 - SELECT

      This gave you a handy 30 second forward jump. 6 presses and 3 minutes of ads disappear in a flash!

      Somehow, I doubt that feature will make it into the new version.

      Hope they keep the 'live tv' feature from the original, so useful to have it continually record for you, not just when you press PAUSE like on the V+ box.

      My V1 Tivo is still going, recording away on it's single tuner. Although I think it's (expanded) HD is on the way out now as every couple of months it'll reboot (yes, MONTHS). My ability to program it over the internet is still going though - and has been for about 8 years.

      I'll be in line for this too.

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