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V Plus Digital Box

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13 Reviews

Virgin Media: The advantages of a digital box allows you to pause, rewind and record live TV. Start watching where you left off, see Virgin Media for contract details.

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    13 Reviews
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      28.10.2011 21:27
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      Still a good package: wide range of programmes; great picture & sound quality; 'free' HD

      When our combined DVD/VHS recorder finally died a death some time ago we needed to replace it as soon as possible, preferably with something a bit more up to date. Upgrading our existing cable set top box solved the problem; it also had a number of other significant benefits.

      The main enhancements are:

      1. Access to High Definition (HD) channels
      2. Superior TV recording facilities and usability
      3. Easy access to 'TV on demand' (catch-up programmes & films)
      4. Ability to pause/rewind live TV programmes

      ~~A better viewing experience~~

      Our overall experience has been a general improvement in the quality of our viewing. It's essentially the ease of finding something worth watching - precisely when you want to see it. Nothing is perfect, but it's fair to say the V+ box mostly delivers, with excellent picture quality and sound.

      ~~Making the most of what's available~~

      It's not really possible to discuss the equipment in isolation from the service it provides. This brief non-technical review is based on several years' subscription to the Virgin Media XL TV package using this set top box.

      We've been cable customers ever since fibre optic services became available in our area via Telewest. It's a superior technology in many ways, with high capacity (bandwidth), resilient and discreet infrastructure with no obtrusive external satellite dish required. So it made sense to take better advantage of this potential with a more capable box, especially as our TV was already 'HD ready'.

      ~~Functionality~~

      Of course technology never stands still these days ... since acquiring this, expectations have risen generally with Freeview Plus, Sky HD etc. Many features have become more familiar, like high quality digital recording,'one touch' series recording and simultaneous programme recording. Indeed, new packages are already superseding this - but for now at least, there's more than enough functionality here for our purposes.

      It still impresses me that you can actually record two digital programmes while watching a third. I believe this is still unique here. Also, there has been no extra cost to us for an increasing number of HD channels as XL TV subscribers.

      The recording/storage capacity (hard disc size) remains more than sufficient for our purposes. We've never run out of disc space as we don't keep many recordings for long. I believe there's room for up to 80 hours. Having said that, I understand newer boxes have an even greater capacity (up to six times as much?!) It's also possible with the V+ box to archive programmes on to other media, though we haven't yet felt the need for this.

      ~~Usability~~

      It didn't take us long to become familiar with the main remote control buttons, the menu systems and programme guide. There could always be some room for improvement here but no 'show stoppers' as far as we're concerned in our household.

      If pressed, I might concede that 'scrolling' through guides and menus, plus winding back/forward can all feel a bit slow at times.

      ~~Reliability and performance~~

      This device can 'freeze' from time to time, though it's not frequent and difficult to judge how far this is due to the local equipment or to problems with the cable service. Either way, a 'reboot' invariably restores things to normal, even if it does take a minute or two to complete.

      One minor niggle: from time to time the response can be quite slow to remote control buttons. Normally, however, this is not a problem.

      ~~Help and support~~

      There is a fair amount of help and guidance built in and fortunately we have very rarely had to call on customer support. Perhaps this speaks for itself?

      ~~Disclaimer~~

      As stated above, this is a non-technical review. Not all of this device's capabilities are regularly used in our household. But on the whole, we remain more than satisfied with its performance and value for money.

      ~~Verdict~~

      This device has greatly improved our TV viewing experience. It may not be perfect and you might like to investigate the latest offerings. Meanwhile, thoroughly recommended if you live in a cabled area.

      ~~Advantages~~

      Wide range of programmes - both live and on demand; easy digital recording; great picture & sound quality; 'free' HD for existing Virgin XL TV customers

      ~~Disadvantages~~

      Not quite the latest set top box functionality; can freeze and quite slow to reboot

      ~~Related links~~

      * Virgin Media : www.virginmedia.com

      [© SteveS001 2011. A version of this original review may appear on other review sites]

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        23.02.2011 16:32

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        Worth the money if Virgin do charge

        I have had the Virgin Media HD + box for quite some time now, I thought that the original box that I received was slow and unresponsive. It would not respond to remote control actions and would then hyper actively do about 5 different actions at once so it could be a bit of a struggle to get it to do what you wanted. There was then a fault with the box, and as ever with Virgin's brilliant customer service they were out the next day to replace it with the new Samsung V+ HD box, which is absolutely brilliant. It seems to be better than Sky's alternative, which a friend of mine has. It is unbelievably responsive and the HD quality is as good and sharp as ever. If you have the old V+ HD Box I suggest you request an upgrade because you will be blown away by the quality of the new Samsung box, it is also a much sleeker and nicer design.

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        20.02.2011 21:31
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        Very useful if you watch a lot of TV and films.

        Virgin Media's V+ box is very useful to have. I have recorded dozens of films and even more TV programmes, it saves me staying up late at night or missing a favourite programme. It allows you to record, pause and rewind live TV, so if you need to get something to eat or go to the toilet just pause it and do what you need to do.

        As it is a V+ box it contains normal virgin media features, so if you do forget to record something or haven't got enough memory left there is a chance that it might be on catch up TV on demand which comes in extremely useful sometimes. Like most virgin media boxes of you have just switched them on or reset the box it can take a while to load and the controllers response time can take a couple of seconds but if it has been on for a while it can be extremely quickly or over a second depending on the service you want.

        It holds 80 hours of normal TV but if you record in HD it takes 4 times the amount of memory than standard definition. There is a minor issue after you start playing something after pausing it, you get just over a second or two of silence then it sorts it self out but you can press a button on the remote that rewinds the programme back about 7 or 8 seconds so you don't miss anything.

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          08.07.2010 21:00

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          Easy to use and prevents arguments over what to watch!

          This V plus box has helped stave off many an argument in my household! You can watch a different channel whilst it is recording, and there are options to either record just the one episode or all of the series from that week, and also to record the entire series, which is very handy for forgetful people! It has 80 hours of recording time, and the quality of the recordings are the same as viewing the programme normally. The pausing and rewind features allow you to rewind to the beginning of a programme if you've just missed the start, this also comes in quite handy for when it gets to advert time - you can fast forward through them! The only problem i have encountered with the box is that sometimes during start up, it will not turn on correctly, and will turn itself off and on a few times, but so far this has always been resolved by restarting it myself. Also, the remote is a bit odd, the numbers are at the top and it's not a very ergonomical design.

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          28.04.2010 23:57
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          Definitely worth the cost.

          Oh how I love V plus! This is truly a marvel. Especially if you and your other half/ housemates/ family can't agree on what to watch.

          My favourite feature of the V plus is the fact that you can set entire series to record. I am your classic 'head like a sieve' individual when it comes to tv programmes. Thankfully my televisual viewing is not the highest on my list of priorities. But this does mean that I'll watch something one week and love it and then completely forget about it the next. With the V-plus box I am able to set the programmes that I would liek to record and watch them when I have the time.

          It also alows you to pause and even rewind live television. Perfect for those moments that you can't quite believe and need to watch again. or for popping out to make a cup of tea mid film.

          We have the newer version of the V plus box and to look at it isvery smart, black and reasonably small. About the width of your average DVD player but maybe a bit higher.

          The menus are incredibly easy to use, making this very user friendly, and parental controls mean that nothing can be wtached by prying eyes that you wouldn't want them to watch. Basically any shows played after the watershed can only be accessed before the watershed by inputting a password.

          The only problem we have ahd so far is that occassionally programmes we have had set to record have failed. This has only happened on a couple of occassions and, I must be honest, there is the possibility that one of us has turned off the V-Plus box at the mains and forgotten. So don't let this put you off.

          You can also record more than one programme at a time. there is a maximum of two but I still think it is a benefit worth mentioning.

          Recorded programmes are of the exact same quality as they would have been if you watched them first time and there is a reasonably large memory enabling you to store 80 hours of programmes.

          One thing to note for all you HD lovers out there is that while up to 80 hours of normal programmes can be stored, only 20 hours of HD programmes can be stored as they take up that bit extra space. So, if you really aren't too fussed on seeing the doctors of Grey's Anatomy in all their high def glory then just record the normal channel...save yourself some disc space.

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            06.08.2009 01:32

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            Nice idea... when it works. We are on the 3rd box in 2 weeks and the recordings randomly fail. The engineer confirmed we have everything set up correctly. we are waiting for yet another engineer to come out.The engineers are great but phoning Virgin is diabolical. 45 minutes we were hanging on the other night, and, with respect to the hard workig call centre workers, some don't understand English too good and some are difficult also to understand

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            20.03.2009 11:55
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            fantastic

            My family have always had a sky box but recently because of changes to the phone line we have had to change to virgin. I was a little uneasy at the swap as i did not think i wuld have the same great programmes i have always had but i was wrong to doubt it.

            The v+ box is amazing. i have even found it easier to use than sky plus. The remote for the box has a top section dedicated to the recording and pausing of programmes. The V+ button on the remote sends you straight to your recorded programmes page from you programme. You have 80 hours of recording time whch is plenty of soaps or movies.

            The box in itself is stylish and chic, created by samsung it has a good track record for working and even if it does malfunction yo just call the engineers and they will talk you through your problems on the phone or send someone out to help you A.s.a.p.

            Great picture, vast array of channels, easy to use and customer satisfation.

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              05.01.2009 23:40
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              Its simply brilliant and better than the standard SKY equivalent

              Virgins equivalent of Sky + is a superb Personal Video Recorder in my opinion

              It allows you to pause and rewind live tv. You can record 2 channels while watching a 3rd. It has up to 80 hours of recording capacity. It is also an HD source meaning you can watch HD content assuming you have an HD TV.

              The box also has the features of other Virgin/NTL boxes, including catch up tv (including BBC Iplayer), movies and music on demand etc.

              I have had Sky + in the past and actually prefer this product. I have no loyalty whatsoever to Virgin, in fact I think their customer services and engineers are diabolical, yet I must admit thir V+ box is sensational. It probably has something to do with the fact Virgin were not involved in its development or manufacture in any way. The basic hardware is the same as was used by Telewest before they took it over. It is quicker, easier to use and has more features and more recording capacity than SKy +. Once you have it, you cannot do without it.

              There were a few issues when the box was first introduced (I had it from the start) but the problems have been ironed out as they have updated the software. It is now rapid and my box has not crashed for over a year and it is in daily use.

              The fact it has HD as standard is also an advantage over Sky +. You would have to pay extra with Sky to get their SKy + HD box. However SKy HD does have a huge advantage in that their is currently only one HD channel on Virgin and I think over 15 on SKY. This should improve in the future though/

              If you want an advanced, quick, easy to use PVR with loads of capacity and an HD source, you should seriously look into getting this product. Check their website for prices but it is around £75 which is an absolute bargain for a product which becomes invaluable and is close to being faultless.

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              03.01.2009 22:02
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              If you want to watch HD TV its great but there are other packages you should look at

              Virgin V Plus Box - Attempts to catch up to Sky domination? Seems to be working

              Been with Virgin (NTL before taken over) for a few years now. The biggest problems we've been having with them are that the box used to keep freezing and crashing however this new V plus box seems to of solved all that. The V plus box is an attempt made by Virgin to attract more TV customers and it seems to be working. I always kept bugging my dad for us to switch to sky but now I can't really see the point. The only reason I wanted to switch to sky was to get sky 1, sky sports and sky movies but with Virgin I can now get those anyway, nowadays there seems to be very little difference between the channels you get with sky and the ones with virgin.

              The biggest pluses (get the pun? Eh?) You get with the V plus box is that it gives you the ability to watch certain channels in High definition (BBC HD etc.s), the picture is far superior to standard definition. The box also safeguards you from the digital switch over. One of the most important aspects of the box is that it has 80GB storage capacity which allows you to record multiple programs (3 at a time) to the hard drive then rewatch them anytime. Virgin also give you a number of channels which you can watch when signing up (depends what package you get) but there is a lot of variety. Virgin also give you extras like watching TV on demand (some of the best episodes of TV programs they have selected) and you rent movies, as well as playing games and other activities through your Virgin box.

              The biggest choice consumers face is free view, Virgin or Sky. Well if you want HD TV or a recording device other than a DVD or VHS recorder then it has to be either Virgin or Sky, it simply comes down to personal preference then, both offer very similar services. But if you're not too bothered about extra TV programs a good free view box is all that you need and it still offers a lot of channels. But for me Virgin is great.

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              19.11.2008 16:25
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              Good package, but the whole thing is slow

              Have you ever missed a program, have you forgot to record an episode, annoying video and DVD recorders, setting to the wrong times and not working.

              Well the V+ Box stops all this.

              You can go through your TV guide and simply press the record button, it will turn red and be recorded for you, you can also press yellow to record every episode.

              All of the recording then get put into the hard drive, which can save up to 80 hours of recording.

              You can even simply do all of this with the mini guide using the same buttons, so there is no checking times.

              If you wish to watch it before it's finished recoding you can do, by just watching it through the V+ button and you can fast forward up to live TV.

              You can also pause live TV for up to 1.5 hours and rewind up to 1.5 hours aswel.

              All of this does slow down your V+ box tho, and it seams to have a delay with every button you press, which gets annoying.

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                14.10.2008 09:53

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                Go with Sky if you can

                I have been a Telewest, Blueyonder, NTL, and Virgin customer over the various incarnations that the company has taken over the last few years. I would have to say that up until Virgin I was very happy with the service, then it all seemed to go wrong.

                Due to the onset of the new HD era, and the fact that my DVD recorder is so frustratingly difficult to get to grips with, I opted to upgrade my service to the V+ box, to allow HD channels and recording up to 80 hours of programmes.

                The biggest problem with the entire setup is that it is painfully buggy and feels more like a thrown together prototype. All menues are painfully slow to load, the on demand services are frequently broken, and you can randomly wave goodbye to your recordings every once in a while when they get corrupted and become useless every once in a while (twice in the last year for me). Its also the 3rd box I'm on, so theres no chance of me being unlucky and just getting a faulty one!

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                27.09.2008 22:29
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                Worth the purchase price

                I bought this V+ box from virgin media when it was on half price offer almost two years ago and it cost me £75. It was money well spent!

                It gives you 80 hours to record programmes. You can set a whole series to record, record a show for the week or choose the episodes you want. As well as one off programmes and films.

                You can pause live TV and rewind it as long as you have been on the channel for a while - you can only rewind it as long as you have had it on the channel (so you cant turn it on to a channel and see a show that's already been on for 10 minutes and rewind it to the beginning) You can then fast forward it during adverts if you have had it paused (obviously cant fast forward live TV)

                Only ever had a problem with the V+ box once, when for some reason it kept adding pages and pages of programmes as saying recording failed. To fix this all I had to do was call them up and they talked me through re setting the box over the phone, but it deleted everything I had recorded and all set recordings.

                You can record two programmes at once and still watch a different channel whilst they are being tapped. If you set something to tape and there is a recording clash it will notify you and you can go to planned programmes and see if there is something you can remove.

                As well as this you also have TV Choice and TV On Demand. Firstly TV Choice offers you a range of programmes and series that you can watch whenever you want to - a great selection of good tv, I have watched Studio 60, Supernatural, Men In Trees and others with this service.

                TV On Demand has a selection of tv shows from BBC, Channel 4, Living and a few others that you can watch whenever you want within a week of it first airing. This includes things like Eastenders, Dr Who (when its on) and many other shows.

                I have the XL TV package and with this I also get free unlimited access to Music on Demand.

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                13.06.2008 00:26
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                a decent service but needs some improvement

                My house does not have a BT phone line and therefore getting sky television would mean an expensive and difficult switch over and so i decided to opt for going with virgin television, and recently purchased a V+ box, that has all the capabilities in terms of recording that the sky+ option has. You also get the pro that the on demand service covers channel 4 and BBC which is a bonus. However i have been left feeling a little frustrated. Around 8 months ago virgin, despite being more expensive on average per customer than sky, decided not to pay for one of the best channel sky one and therefore i now miss out on some of my favorite shows like LOST. Also despite paying a HD subscription i get hardly any channels and no sport channels. Also i have found, having used sky at my friends houses, virgin is extremely slow and seems to suffer from serious lag. Overall a decent product but could do with some work if virgin want to monopolise the market

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