Product Type: Cisco set top boxes
Newest Review: ... than an hour. The only disappointment I had was that I was not shown how to use the box and was just left with a booklet and remote t... more
Virgin Media TiVo
Member Name: bilbobaginz
Virgin Media TiVo
Advantages: All the many features, internet connectivity, durability of box and controller!
Disadvantages: The price lets it down slightly, it's very expensive!
We decided to get the Virgin media 'Premium' package last week for our new house. There were a variety of choices with regard to television, internet and phone packages, but Virgin Media seemed to offer the best value for money. 'Premium' brings a 60 mb fibre-optic broadband connection, XL TV package (with HD channels, ESPN and a few other extras *not including Sky extras), a phone line with unlimited weekend calls, and an extra 'standard' box for your second sitting room or bedroom (with HD channels, but no recording). With their "first 6-months for half-price (not including line rental of £13.90 per month)" offer, the temptation to go with Mr Branson's business prevailed. I can safely say that after trying Virgin out for a few days (Broadband and TV) the £60 per month cost (a little under £40 for the first half-year) seems well worth it. The capabilities of the technology you are treated, freely installed and demonstrated, is both fascinating and fantastic - I'm fanatic!
The Tivo box is sensational. I've never had Sky or Virgin before, so I didn't really know what to expect. Once the features of the Tivo box were fully realised, I was well and truly hooked, obsessed, glued to our 40 inch LCD screen for hours on end! Here's a list of the 'Tivo Features' and some brief explanations:
- The box has 500GB of internal space - that's enough for 250 hours of recording.
- You can record up to 3 channels at once, settings the box to record whole seasons/series or just single episodes. You can watch while you record or have it recording in the background.
- It has internet connectivity - obtained via a cable to your router. You can watch YouTube videos, and use other apps pre-loaded to the device. The box doesn't have a browser like your PC or laptop though!
- The internet allows for you to rent new films from Virgin through your TV for a fair price.
- The guide looks far into the future and also into the past if you want to see any programs you've missed, then record the next one!
- Pause, rewind, and 'slow' down TV so you never miss a piece of muffled dialogue, or you want to see something in slow-mo for added entertainment value.
--- All this is arranged neatly within a straight-forward interface (which makes satisfying noises when flicked through). This consists of pages and menus moved between by an ergonomically designed controller: Guide page, 'My Shows' page, Catchup, Internet apps page(I.e. YouTube, Spotify, etc), and a few more. The controller has a play, pause, fast-forward, re-wind, and 'slow' button for manipulating Live television. It also has a red 'record' button in the centre with the 'My Shows' button above that so that once something is recorded you can jump to the list of downloads quickly.
The box and the controller are well made, solidly constructed to offer some protection if dropped or hit against something - general wear and tear is catered for. Though there are some buttons and lights on the box, everything can be operated through the controller perfectly, and communication between the two is lighting fast, as responsive as can be - how this will develop over time I can only guess. Predominantly rubber, the controller buttons are thick and durable, large enough for the hard-of-sight to make out clearly, but not too clumpy, and not too clumsy or fiddly either. The perfect design balance has been achieved - much better than the old Virgin Media controller (the bluey-purple one) which I had the misfortune of using at a friends recently, it's horrible, plastic-ey and flimsy to the touch.
I am still exploring the confines of the Tivo box, and will never truly reach its distant limits - as updates are likely to be thorough and frequent. Its features are exceptional, it's entertainment a-plenty, so I doubt I'll ever really get bored of the thing - unless TV channels and the internet get boring!
BEWARE: You have to buy it on an 18-month contract (...and this begins again if you move home!)
PRICE: £45 a month + £13.90 line rental - £22.50 + £13.90 for first 6-months.
AVAILABILITY: Only through the Virgin Media store online (or call).
Summary: Something every home should consider, watch that 18-month hiccup!