Virgin TV launches V6 TiVo box with 4K apps, adds mobile device streaming

posted on Wednesday, 30th November 2016 by Steve May

4K  Broadcast  home cinema 


VirginMedia has formally announced it’s Next Gen TiVo set top box, the V6. Compact at just 230 x 153 x 55mm, but unlikely to win any design awards, the V6 supports 4K UHD, along with streaming to mobile devices.

UHD support translates to Netflix 4K and YouTube 4K apps at launch, rather than any Virgin content. At the London unveil, no mention was made of 4K movie availability or UHD channel content. The box is also said to be HDR capable, as and when required, and compatible with Dolby Atmos.

Rear connectivity includes a v2.0a HDMI output (with HDCP 2.2), digital audio output, USB, minijack for analogue audio and Ethernet. Unlike the current TiVo STB, there are no F-Connectors for a cable video feed.

Backof Virgin TVV6box Crop

The box can record six programmes while watching a seventh. There’s a 1TB hard drive onboard. Search has also been improved. The new SeriesLink+ will not only record shows specifically requested, but will also find additional episodes available on other sources, such as a VOD player, and present links to them in your recordings library.

The V6 is said to be 10x faster than the old TiVo. The UI looks much the same as we’ve seen before, with some minor refinements.

Operationally, the platform is rather different from what’s gone before. While current VirginMedia broadband users have a dedicated pipe purely for TV, the new box simply sits on your home network. It’s only supplied to customers with a 100MB+ Internet package, so clearly it’s thought there’s enough headroom for both TV traffic and Internet usage via the modem. 

“Built for apps” the new box offers BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Vevo and YouTube. More are promised.

The remote control has moved from IR to RF, meaning the STB can be hidden from view.

Virgin TV Box Sets

Virgin TV Series Link+

There are no Sky Q-style Mini-style clients available for multiroom streaming. Indeed, during the launch presentation there was no mention of multiroom whatsoever – odd given that ‘fluid viewing’ was the lynchpin of Sky’s Sky Q launch proposal. VirginMedia did confirm that multiple V6 boxes can be networked, and they can stream content from each other. Interestingly, older TiVo boxes can also function within this eco system.

Virgin seems more interested in promoting viewing on smartphones and tablets. It’s also introducing its own TellyTablet, a dedicated 14-inch Android tablet with 32GB of memory that doubles as a portable TV, for £299.

As there were no working samples of the new box at the launch, usability remains untested. However, the new platform represents a significant evolution of the TiVo platform.

Virgin is also starting a digital retail offering, the Virgin Media Store, selling movies and box sets. Aping Sky’s own Sky Store, buyers have access to titles in a ‘Digital Locker’ and receive a DVD of any film bought. 

Existing Virgin TV customers can get the new V6 for a promotional price of £49.95. The standard price is £99.95. Installation charges are extra.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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