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I have never used Virgin before moving into my new house but knew it would be the one as it had the best internet speeds. Being an IT geek, I knew this would be the clincher.
The box looks standard, a relatively big black box sits in my living room cabinet. It doesn't look special but it gets the job done.
After using Sky for the past few years I thought it would be easy to go straight into Virgin. It really wasn't, I find that the general interface for the Virgin Box is a little slower and more complicated to use than the Sky Plus alternative.
Even though I still find it a tad slow to go through all the menus, it still beats the competitors in terms of viewing programs and the recording options.
The search function is excellent and easy to do to search through either the TV guide, the catch up and demand or box office.
Recording is very simple, press one red button and choose if you wish to record once or the series. I like the fact you can give priority to different shows and that you can record multiple channels at once.
One feature I do like is that when you rewind or forward a program, it skips back of forth 20 seconds, just in case you miss the start.
Overall I like the V+ box and all its features. I think that it probably is the best system on the market at the moment.
The virgin media plus box is definately the best tv box on the market in my opinion.
Sky used to be the thing everyone wanted and only people who had good money were able to buy it, but then things changed and they were doing lots of deals, (much like contract phones).
When sky was up and running everywhere, there wasnt many other options avaliable for catch up tv and such, but then the competition came into play, and things like virgin media were invented from the company virgin that does many other things.
The virgin media plus box came with our contract with them and since we got it we've never looked back and would never want to.
The box lets you do many different things (depending on what package your paying for).
We have the xl package which pretty much lets you search and watch/ catch up on all of the avaliable options, whereas the m package limits the facilities avaliable.
On the main page there are 7 options which are:
1: tv guide
2: on demand and catch up yv
3: virgin central
4 : interactive
and 7: settings.
Number 2 on demand catch up section is what i use the most because you can catch up from most of everyday tv from the last 7 days, and also you can search by channel which has things like itv player, bbc player, and 4 on demand on it.
There are many options within options on here if you really look into it, and you can search for any program you want .
It hold its own memory too for when you want to record programs. You can record a whole series too if you want.
There really is no limit to what you can do on here, whereas sky doesnt even have a catch up service for just any program thats been on tv like virgin does.
We are at home alot and this have proven to be the best investment as we have a big tv too, and love watching tv.
Thanks for reading hope you like this as much as me .
After reviewing the Sky HD+ box I figured for completeness I should give my opinions on Virgin Media's more recent answer to this, the V+ Box. Obviously Virgin weren't going for points when it came to originality in naming this set-top box recorder, but there are plenty of novel features here you simply won't find with Sky. The first difference that should be mentioned is that when I was an existing Virgin Media customer (around 6 months ago) I was charged a one off installation fee of £99 to upgrade to a V+ Box from the standard free one that comes with the TV package. This was around 2 years ago, and things of course move forward; I believe Virgin are now backing there newer TiVo set top box and there is a similar 'installation fee' for this box meaning I think you get the V+ Box free if you now sign up to Virgin as a new customer (not sure about existing customers upgrading still mind). Information regarding this is, let's say, at little hazy on Virgin Media's website, meaning you have to log in as an existing customer to see what offer is available to you personally.
So that's pricing out of the way, what do you actually get when you receive one of these shiny boxes from Virgin then? Well I'll come out and say straight away that I'm a huge fan of this set top box (see my other review for my direct comparison with the Sky HD+ box). I think Virgin Media have really nailed it with this one; they've basically taken all that was good about Sky's version of this and put in a few really nice improvements on what was already a solid performer. So you are going to find all of the features you are familiar with if you've had a Sky+ box before; namely I really well thought out and easy to navigate EPG (Electronic Program Guide) that holds data for the current 7 days (with nice easy options to jump forward 24 hours with the yellow button etc), the option to record any program with a single button click on the remote (with the ultra handy option of whether or not to record the entire series or just a single episode), and also two features you won't find on Sky, namely 'TV Choice' (now called just 'TV on Demand') and 'Catch up on Demand' (free to customers on the largest TV package). A nice plus for Virgin is on this box you can record two shows simultaneously and watch a third, yet on Sky only two shows can ever be recorded or watched at the same time.
'TV Choice' is a really brilliant service that fully utilizes the blazing hot download speeds that can be achieved through fibre-optic cable. Thus you have access to a huge back catalogue of TV shows and box sets, music events, sports programs; all handily sorted into clear categories for easy browsing. This service was comprehensive when I was last a Virgin Media customer (left Virgin December 2011), but now you can access a whopping 2600 hours of TV with this option, and I always found it brilliant to go through a whole series this way when there was (very often!) nothing decent to watch on the TV. Not to mention it appears since I left Virgin they have added Sky's 'Anytime' service, which is accessible for free. For those who don't know, Sky 'Anytime' is basically a selection of shows exclusively from Sky and it is disappointingly the only version of 'TV Choice' you get with Sky. The other service that Virgin offer you is 'Catch up on Demand', and this no less comprehensive. On this service you get shows from the last 7 days from just about all the channels you subscribe to, and it includes such luminaries as the 'BBC Iplayer', 'TV player' and '4 on demand'. So yes, that is a lot of TV and all of it will download a play just when you want it to (you could say I was a bit gutted that the house we moved to was not cabled!).
Okay so that's the mainly great things about the V+ Box and the service that Virgin Media offers. As always though to balance things out there are a few negatives. The hard-drive that you get with the V+ is modest at 160 Gb (compared to the 250 Gb of user space provided on the Sky HD+ box). In reality this means you can't keep that much, especially if you are recording a few series in HD, so you are often juggling your recorded content and desperately trying to get through shows to make space (and avoid the dreaded 'critical' status!). To be fair it seems this has been addressed in the release of Virgin's TiVo service (which is a V+ box on steroids!) which has a staggering 1 Terra byte drive, but this will obviously cost you for installation and upgrade (as an aside TiVo can record three programs while you can watch a forth...but good luck finding four shows on simultaneously you actually want to see!). I also thought that at time we chose to upgrade we'd been loyal Virgin customers for four years, and it still cost us £99 to upgrade to a V+ box, which is probably not the most enlightened customer service policy. Also annoying was the numerous times that 'TV Choice' and 'TV on Demand' just weren't available when you chose to access them; I've had to call Virgin a number of occasions and it seems provision of these services can be a bit intermittent.
The above points are only really minor gripes, and I really loved using this set top box and the TV service that Virgin Media offered. The comprehensive choice of TV available is overwhelming with 'TV on demand', meaning that if there's a dreary schedule of TV you can find quality shows here instantly and for free. It's this service and the more complete 'Catch up TV' that Virgin offer that I believe edges this box over what's on offer with the Sky HD+ box, but to be fair both offer a great choice of TV and the most hassle free television services that I've ever used. In short, a winner.
When I switched from Sky to Virgin media, the main reason I switched was because of the quality of the Virgin + box. Without bad mouthing Sky, I simply was not happy with their services and thought that it was time for a change. I think I ended up paying a connection fee for the set up but the subscription was discounted for three months. The box I received was the Virgin + HD box. The access to the HD channels is free compared to Sky where you pay a fee.
The Virgin + box is black and slim with a number of buttons on the front and a large easy to read LCD display. The set up comes with a small remote that is easy to use, with not too many buttons.
The box operates a Personal Video Recorder and has a 160GB memory for you to record programmes and films on. It can store up to 80hrs of recorded programmes on it and record up to two channels whilst you are watching a third. This is fantastic as it can cause many family arguments deciding which programme should take the precedent and be recorded; now everyone is happy. It also has a series link facility so you can programme the machine to record an entire series rather than having to remember to record it weekly. It is probably one of the easiest to use recorders I have ever used. All you need to do is work your way through the seven day television guide on the menu and select anything you want to record. Once you have recorded your chosen programmes you can then navigate round the library and select the programme you want to watch. If a recorded programme is slightly late running due to a sports match over running for example, sometimes the box does not catch up with this knowledge and it misses the end of the programme.
Rather than having to channel flick and watch some dreadful dross because there is nothing on, now I have a selection of programmes I actually want to watch! It really has changed my TV habits.
==Pause live TV==
As the box has a memory, you are able to pause live television and allow the box to take over, this means that you can take that toilet break, make that cup of tea, answer the door and when your duty is over and you return to the telly, you can resume where you left off! Life no longer causes you to miss your programmes; you simply let it interrupt you!
The quality of the recorded programmes is fantastic and you can rewind and fast forward programmes quickly and easily.
If you do not use the record facility or you want to browse some of the programmes that have been on television, you can hunt through the catch up 7 day TV service. This lists many programmes that were on TV on certain days and gives you a second chance to view them. Occasionally Virgin will miss certain programmes out or there is a two day delay in them being uploaded to catch up, for example I watched Shameless on catch up on one week, but the following week it did not have the next episode on. This hit and miss prompted me to always record programmes I desperately did not want to miss.
You can chose to buy films from a menu called filmflex. These are usually about 3 pounds so they are quite expensive and you only get them for 24 hours. FilmFlex are going to start having 3D movies though which is cool however these will be £5.99. Ouch!
I am pleased with the quality of this Virgin Service and I love the freedom the box offers. Now I never miss a thing!
I do believe this is the best thing to come over from the states, The New tivo set top box is only available from Virgin and it rocks as far as technology goes,
I will say TIVO will NOT be everyone cup of tea, but anybody who lives and loves technology you'll love it. tivo has 1tb hard drive, its own 10mb modem which allows you to go online using the apps which are available, like TWITTER, E-BAY, YOU TUBE, you have still got you great virgin services like tv choice on demand, but now they have well and truly in the 21st century with there technology, if you interact using a THUMBS UP / THUMBS DOWN system it learns what you like and shows these instead of the nations favourites, you can even search for your favourite actor/actress and it will list everything showing with them in. WOW!! what else can I say at the moment other than watch this space as ive heard some new apps are going to be added in the near future and I will be back to update you on the success / failure when they go live.
I LOVE it
The Virgin + box is a very nifty piece of kit. To start with, it was very easy to set up and install. The box it was delivered with came with everything that was needed, including the tools such as a tiny plastic spanner. In all, it took less than 40 minutes to fully set up. It's main feature is the ability to record up to two programmes at once as well as watch a 3rd at the same time. It is very simple to select which programmes (or series) to record and a neat feature is that you can check the listing for up to a week. It's other feature of pausing live TV also works well although I have come across problems when, once paused, it can take a few moments to be able to rewind live TV although it has always worked eventually. If you have a HD ready TV you can also use the HD channels which is another good attribute. The Virgin Media box also gives you access to 'Virgin Media on Demand' where a huge number of TV shows are stored for you to watch whenever you want including entire series. This is a great feature when you cant find anything to watch on live TV and it allows you to catch up on whole series you may have missed whilst they were on the TV. My only negative is in regards to the remote control, there is a slight delay in pressing buttons on the remote and it registering with the V+ box meaning it can be quite frustrating when wanting to change channels quickly. Overall I would recommend to a friend.
Since we've had this box we have never looked back. Fantastic recording facilitys meaning you can record 2 channels and watch another at the same time. The best part about V+ is the catchup tv and the ability to watch music videos (all for free). The HD quality is fantastic and we rarely loose a signal in the area we live in.
The ease of use of the remote control and the ability to record series means we never miss our favourite soaps, the ability to set up favourites means if we want to see whats on our favourite channels we get our own customised menu showing whats on when on the channels we look at the most.
The only downside(s) are sometimes the box gets fullish without notifying us and it carrys on recording but the picture jumps and also the difficulty\unavailability in getting recordings off the box via the USB port on the back.
The Virgin V+ HD box is a great TV service. With this box you can pause and rewind live TV, you can also record up to 2 programmes at one time, while watching another. I also allows you to watch HD channels and this comes at no extra cost with the XL package unlike the sky service.
The V+ box has a hard drive of 160 GB which is the equivalent of approximately 80 hours of recording in standard definition. The amount of hard drive space is more than enough for most people, as long as you don't keep your programmes on there for ages you are unlikely to run out of space. Recording is very easy, simply pressing the red record button on your remote control while selecting the programme you want to record from the TV guide or mini guide. Once recorded you can access your recording by pressing the large V+ button on your control and can scroll through and watch your recording. It is all very simple is use.
The big advantage V+ has over sky is that for HD there is not extra cost to pay for XL TV customers, so you can watch channels such as ITV HD and BBC HD for free. The HD looks good, and of cause will differ depending on the HD capabilities of your TV.
The best thing about this box however is the on demand service. From the box virgin have a large line up of TV to choose from. They offer catch-up TV which lets you watch any TV programmes you have missed over the last 7 days, and most programmes will be on here, although some may not so it's best to record just in case. They also sometimes have films that were on TV on catch up as well as just TV shows.
They also have the TV choice service which has a large selection of top TV programmes to choose from. For example they have shows like Peep show and The Sopranos on there also in HD where available. The list is regularly updated, and shows won't stay on there forever so watch them while you can. But they do offer a section which has all the shows will are ending soon, so you know when you are running out of time.
Another of their on demand services is music on demand, this is free for XL customers, and they have a large selection of old and new music videos (mostly new) to choose from. You can search in a variety of way by artist, song of by typing in yourself from the control (like texting).
This box isn't perfect however. Its responsiveness with the remote control is very poor I find. When searching through the letters when searching on the on demand it is hard to go through them fast. If you press the button quickly it won't recognise it and stop of the letter you are and and you have to wait for it to load before you can start scrolling again. You have to find the right flow of time you should wait to press the button to scroll easily, and is rather annoying. Also with the pause / rewind/ fast forward service it is slow and when fast forwarding after pressing play, the response is not immediate and when scroll in 32* can miss quite a bit of the show and have to go back to the right time. It can become quite frustrating, and having also used sky+ is is poor, as sky's box responds very very well to the remote.
The ability to record 2 programme while watching a third is very good, and especially useful where a lot of people share the same TV and there are less arguments of watch to watch, as you can just record. Sky can only record 2 programmes, but won't let you watch a third. That extra programme being able to watch has been used many times in my house, and provides very useful. Also if that still sin't enough, chances are than the other programme will be on catch up.
Over this is a great set top box, however the responsiveness to the control is really very bad and lets it down and is what costs it a star. It is also best for XL customers who get free HD and music on-demand. Sky+ HD also have on-demand but it cost more. If money isn't important and you don't mind not being able to watch a third programme go for sky, otherwise I would recommend the Virgin V+ box.
The Virgin Media V+ box is sky's version of there own PVR sky+.
Some of the reason to changing from Sky + to Virgin + was
- Cost, at the time, we had to pay an extra £10 a month to have sky+
-HD channels, the V+ receives HD channels at no extra cost (does not include premium channels like the moves and sports). Ok so Sky broadcast a bigger number of HD channels than Virgin at the moment, but Virgin are slowly catching up.
-Recording, With Sky, you can record 2 channels but you have to watch one of them channels at the same time, as with Virgin, you can record 2 channels while watching a 3rd!
-On demand, Virgin have a gigantic library of on demand movies, music, complete series of programmes from the past. Also servies like catch up, BBC Iplayer, ITV player, 4OD and a a pick of the best programmes from other channels that week.
The only downside to this box, is that sometimes it can be quite slow. For example you might want to change channel and it will lag behind you using the remote, then all of a sudden, catch up and go through all the buttons you have pressed which can be quite annoying.
Nobody who has used one can deny the brilliance and usefulness of a PVR, or DVR or Freeview + box or Sky + box, whatever it's called, the hard disk drive has revolutionised video recording introducing multiple recordings, time shifting and pausing and rewinding live television with no need for discs or tapes.
The most successful box in Britain, the Sky + box and latterly the Sky + HD box is clearly the inspiration behind Virgin's HDD effort and this is no bad thing as Sky + is a wonderful piece of kit.
Compared to the Sky + HD box, the biggest difference between the two is the addition of a third tuner compared to the Sky box's two which means you can record two programmes simultaneously while you watch a third. There's nothing wrong with having two tuners but three is clearly better.
The way the two boxes work is so similar that it doesn't warrant comparison. Nested in the menus of the box's entertainment options though is the answer to why cable television is a better alternative to Sky +. Namely, TV Choice on Demand, Catch Up TV On Demand, Music on Demand and Filmflex, a more fleshed out version of Sky Box Office.
The wealth of on demand content available to customers means that you're never likely to have nothing to watch. Couple the above features with the BBC i Player and you have a near perfect package.
One big difference between Virgin Media and Sky i've discovered is how they deal with customer's problems. With Sky, you buy the box, you buy the dish, you own the box, you own the dish. With Virgin Media, you hire the equipment, the service. You don't pay for the V+ box you pay for the installation, the idea being that should you ever leave VM that they'll take the box away. The crucial difference here lies in whether you ever have a problem. If you're Sky box breaks down, without the extended warranty you're shelling out for a replacement. With VM - and i'm speaking from personal experience here - they'll sort the problem or replace the box at no additional cost. This is a massive benefit.
Now, the actual process of contacting VM is as awful an experience as contacting any major company as you get filtered through call centres and being kept on hold. A further problem if you don't have Virgin's phone service as it's a premium number for everyone else and the last problem I had to report cost me seven pounds of credit on my mobile.
As a result of that call however I was hugely surprised to be offered a call on the same day. The guy was there in two hours and my problem was solved.
Just to round the review up and make it a bit fairer by pointing out a couple of defects with the V+ box. Having one of the boxes in my bedroom the biggest problem doesn't come from the noise of the hard drive like you might think but from the totally unnecessary bright light that shines from the box when it's on standby, seriously it's that bad i've had some restless nights where it's been less intrusive to just leave the box on.
The second slight issue is one that Virgin Media has workedd to resolve recently and that's to do with the fairly limited selection of HD channels available when compared with Sky. The tally now stands at eight for XL customers. Not quite the thirty something that Sky offers but still much better than the one they used to have and it's bolstered by the on demand HD content that's available.
What can i say, an amasing bit of kit this! I've never been to keen on sky + and will say i got V+ on the wishes of my partner initially. However after having the v+ box for around a month now i would say its one of the greatest things i own! They advertise it can only pause and store up to 30 minutes of live television however last night i managed to pause and store up to an hour and a half.
The 80hours hard drive storage for programs and movies seems endless! Another great function is the ability to record an entire series as opposed to each individual episode. Not only that but you an customise how you record a series. i.e you can record it every other week, pick and choose the episodes on a day to day basis and so on.
The thing that seperates the V+ from the Sky+ is the ability to record 2 shows/movies and watch a third unlike sky where you can record 2 but you would have to watch one of the two.
Also recently they have updated the appearance of the remote and the box itself. The picture in this review is out of date! Now has all neon lights and the control is considerably user friendly.
I wasn't that keen on getting the V+ box when we had Virgin installed as you have to pay a one-off fee (at the time £49) which has to be paid before they will organise the installation. I'm still not sure why this can't be added to your first bill and then you have to pay £5 extra a month for this. The other downside after reading the small print is that even though you have paid for the box it still belongs to Virgin which is unlike the Sky + box which is yours once it has been paid for.
Its very easy to use and can store up to 80hrs of recorded programmes on it and record up to 2 channels whilst you are watching a third. Which may or may not come in handy for people. Like the Sky+ box it does have the record a series link.
Personally I think it looks better that the Sky+ box but when on standby,which they recommend you leave it on as Virgin send regular updates through to it, and they do I have heard it whir into life at the strangest times of the day even when not in use, it does light up more than when its in use. Originally my partner had this in his bedroom at his parents house before we moved in together and it lit the room all night!
Overall I think its a good product but you need to remember to watch what you have recorded otherwise the 80hrs of time soon gets eaten up. I'm forever recording stuff and then going through the channels and saying theres nothing on and then putting a DVD on forgetting that there is stuff on there I could watch.
We got one of these when we couldnt have sky because of a poor signal problem.
The V+ box is a 3 in 1 system. Its first use is to receive the virgin cable service and depending on how much you pay is how many tv channels you can have access to.
The next thing it can do is record upto 80hrs of tv programs. This part of the box is brilliant. Its so easy to use, from just a press of a button you can record any program your watching. You can call up the on-screen tv channel listings and pre-record any program by just highlighting it and pressing record. The best bit is that you can even record an entire series of your favourite tv program by just one press of a button. Finally, unlike the sky+ box you can even record 2 programs at once. So you can record a program on BBC1 and ITV and then watch Channel 4.
The last part of the V+ box is the HD connection. This means that if you have a HD ready tv the V+box will output HD. The only channel we get is the BBC HD channel but I must say the picture is superb.
The v+ box is virgin's answer to the sky + box. It gives the ability to record programmes, rewind and pause live tv.
The V+ box is better than the Sky+ box in that it has two tuners rather than the one that the sky + box has, you are able to record two programmes at once whilst watching another, on sky+ you can one record one and watch one. The v+ also has the capabilites to store 80 hours of content, and shows you how many hours you have left to record, whereas the sky+ box can only record 40 hours and show it in a percentage so you are uncertain how much time you have left to record.
Another feature is that you are able to record a whole series, just buy pressing the yellow button on the programme it is you want to record.
The remote is very easy to use as it has a seperate section for the v+ functions which are clearly labelled with, play and pause button, rewind, fastforward and stop.
Disadvantages of the v+ box is that it does freeze sometimes and goes into power saving mode which renders the remote useless.
Overall teh v+ box is a very good system and works well, prices vary, at the moment offers available are
one off payment of £49 if upgrading to XL tv, or taking out XL tv as a brand new service, ie. just taking out tv. This offer s not available if you are already on XL tv though.
One of payment of £99 when keeping your existing set top box and moving it to a different room.
And finally £150 is the standard price of the box. You will only get one v+ box on a promotional price so if you want say three you could be looking to pay upwards of £300 for them. The one thing that you do not need to worry about is that you dont actually buy the box you rent it which means that if it breaks or there is a fault virgin media will come to fix it free of charge for you or replace it free of charge, unlike sky who after one year you need to purchase a brand new box are pay hourly for a tech to come visit and fix it.
The V+ Box, for some that may not be aware of it, is a set-top Box which allows the added functions of recording, pausing and rewinding TV.
Equiped with a built in Hard Drive, this baby allows up to 80 Hours of recordings to be stored on it, and seemless one touch recording from the TV Guide and Electronic Program Guide (the Bar that displays info at the bottom.)
The box is a sleek Black colour whcih matches many HD TVs of today, however this is the only colour offered, so Silver TV owners, unlucky. Trust me, I feel your pain. Hehe.
The box allows High Definition programming to be viewed through HDMI and Composite cables to your HD TV, however it doesnt work with some older models that have HDMI/DVI Ports, due to HDCP issues. (Please check your TV supports HDCP, as the manufacturers of the box, the provider, and even the people you bought the TV from will not mention this, even though its majorly important.)
The Guide displays a Black background, and the bonus of Cable TV from Virgin Media, is that you can actually watch TV while you browse the indepth TV Guide, which is something Sky doesnt support. Simply set out with the channels being down the left side, and the times going along in 30 Minute increments at the top of the guide.
The ease of use is very simple for the average TV viewer, however due to Cable restraints, and shoddy Programming on Virgin's part, the box' software can become very slow, and even crash for moments, usually at around midnight.
The box also allows Interactive features such as BBCi via the Red Button, and its own dedicated spot in the Interactive section of the Menu.
Virgin have also got the privelidge of offering BBC iPlayer to TV customers with all set-top Boxes now. SO if you choose not to record Eastenders, it will appear on there at around 11pm.
Virgins V+ box has three tuners, which basically means it has the capabilities to view three channels at once. Virgin could, technically, enable all three in the future, offering split screen viewing of different channels on the TV Screen. This is, however, not currently available. Instead, the tuners are focused on offering the consumer the ability to record two programs on separate channels, whilst watching a third. (The closest alternative is Sky+, which offers a Record one, Watch one service. This is the maximum the Box will allow.)
HD programs are recordable, and do take up more space. However, the only channel available in HD is BBC HD, with more to come in 2009.
The box also offers an upscaling of all channels to HD sets, to make the picture a lot better for viewing, compared to other set-top Boxes. Upscaling is a good thing for the consumer, because this eliminates the need to wait for a HD version of the channel to start broadcast, because the box is instead converting the normal broadcast into HD.
As of the time of writing, I am aware that Dolby Surround Sound 5.1 is NOT supported on the box yet. Virgin have been saying it is something they are looking into adding in the future.
With the V+ comes the remote, which is a very simplistic piece of kit, and conforms to the hand very well. All buttons are stratigically placed to make things easier for the consumer, with the sections from top to bottom being;
Power, Mute, Replay.
Video Buttons for Play, Pause, Stop, RW and FF.
Arrow buttons to navigate through TV channels and Guide.
Volume and channel buttons at each side of these navigation buttons.
Red, Yellow, Blue and Green buttons for shortcuts.
Numbers for channel numbers and Interactive page numbers.
The V+ has actually been on the market for a number of years, under its former name, the TV Drive, which was exclusive to Telewest. After Telewest merged with ntl:, then bought Virgin Mobile, they all became Virgin Media, and the V+ is the Personal Video Recorder offering from the company as a whole now, instead of just one network.
Pricing has only two structures, which require a pay-upfront advance before taking the box. These prices range from £50 to £150 and depend on the offers Virgin currently do. I am led to believe new customers can get it for £75 at the moment.
Once taken, it must have a TV Package to go to it. These are done in Sizes, which range from 'M', 'L' and 'XL'. If you take 'M' or 'L', you will be required to pay an extra £5 a month for the V+ ontop of the £75 you have already paid. I believe this pays for On Demand access. If you take the 'XL', there is no £5 charge.
It should be noted that unless otherwise stated, the box will remain the property of Virgin Media, even after paying the fee for it. Very few people have reported that they have enquired and successfully got Virgin to sell them the box completely, with Virgin insisting that after 12 Months, the box be taken off the Cable network, rendering it useless. If you continue to take the XL package and go beyond the 12 Months, though, they cannot ban the box from the network.
In my personal experience, I have had the V+ for over 2 Years now, and have had two replacements from the company, through faults. Without this box, I would miss many of my favourite shows, as would my Girlfriend. It also opens up the doors to watching TV while you are out, at work or whatever, because when you get home, the recordings are saved up for you to watch, and when you have watched, you can either delete them, keep them, or a particular favourite of mine, back it up to a DVD, which is another feature of the box. If you have a VCR or DVD Recorder hooked up to the second scart in the back, the software has a selectable option to back up the recording to VHS/DVD, which is very handy if you dont want to lose something you watched.
All in all, this box is perfect. The software does let it down, but I wouldnt dream of letting this little baby go for nothing. Once the software is sorted, this could very well be the piece of tech that every household should have, because it is compeltely unrivalled in the market.
Its easily the best box on the market, with the Sky alternatives of Sky+ and SkyHD not coming close, simply because the V+ offers the same as both, and then an extra tuner to record more things, as well as more recording space.
The reason more people take up Sky HD than the V+ is because SKy has a lock on the content currently distributed in HD throughout the UK. All Sports are Sky Sports, all Sky One programs are Sky. There is a possible deal coming in the coming months to lay all of this to rest, and the possibility of Virgin customers being allowed to access this content on the Virgin network, but this could be a long process of court cases and Government investigations.