One of my photos

Virgin Tivo

February 19th, 2011 · Posted by Skuds in Technology · 6 Comments · Technology

I found out about two new things from Virgin Media today.  The first was by accident: a lot of people at work are having trouble connecting their company laptops through our encrypted VPN if they have Virgin broadband and I was looking for possible reasons for this.  While doing this I noticed that their XL broadband package has gone from 20MB to 30MB and I can get this 50% bandwidth increase for a one-off £30 payment which will also involve getting a shiny new Virgin Media Super Hub.

I’m not even sure what one of them is, but the inner geek is getting twitchy.  I think it is just a combined modem and router, and I quite like keeping those things separate. It has wirelass N on it too, which my current router doesn’t, but since I connect by cat-5 cable that doesn’t bother me, and it has DOCSIS3 which won’t matter unless and until the bandwidth approaches 100MB…   On the other hand, one less thing plugged in.  I’ll think about it, but the danger is that I’ll get carried away and just go straight to 50MB.

The other thing I found out because Virgin sent out an advertising email – TiVo.At first I couldn’t see the point.  I already have V+ which will record stuff for me.

Then I looked at the promotional film and I can see that it does more than the V+ but nothing that I would use, so while it is quite impressive it leaves me personally quite unenthusiastic.  I think it is aimed at people who watch a lot more TV than I do and who want to watch even more.  I have all but given up on my resolution to watch more TV already.

Actually, it isn’t clear whether this Virgin TiVo box does the thing that V+ does and that makes V+ better than Sky+ – record two things at the same time while you watch a third thing.  If (and it is a really big if) I decided to pay a monthly subscription for something I would want to make sure I didn’t lose that capability that the current free service has.

As long as I can force myself to ignore the fact that this new box has a 1TB hard drive, compared to the 30MB of the V+ box (probably. I can’t remember) I think I can safely ignore this particular temptation.

I’m feeling quite positive about Virgin Media at the moment.  I had some problems last year, or maybe the year before, which coincided with them starting to charge for tech support calls, but those charges disappeared and everything has been working fine for ages.  Added to that, when we moved house  we somehow ended up with all the same services but a monthly bill about £20 lower.

The icing on the cake was when, more than 3 months after moving in, we got round to connecting up the extra box and found we had lost the remote for it.  Jayne phoned and asked about a replacement and was told it would cost £12 so she told them not to bother and they said OK we’ll just send you one for free then.

I’m sure they will get the money back off me eventually, because when my Vodafone contract runs out I’ll probably go for a Virgin Blackberry and ditch the tax-dodging Vodafone.  Unless it turns out that Virgin are dodging even more tax than Vodafone of course.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Adam Brown

    Guess you no longer read the tax dodging guardian then?

    On something I actually care about, what does the virgin tivo do that the V+ doesn’t? I have always been a bit of a sky fanboy but the record 2 watch 1 feature really appeals to me, but I couldn’t give up remote record.

    • Skuds

      I gave up all newspapers more than a year ago and just get news from the internet.

      The extra tuner on V+ was pointed out many times in the book Simple and Usable as a killer design feature – though not exploited as much as it could have been in marketing.

      TiVo does a lot, but I don’t think it does remote record. They would probably argue that a remote record function is obsolete as the TiVo will have already recorded anything you might like but didn’t notice in the schedules.

      A lot of the functionality seems to be around recommendations, and being able to look at the EPG for previous days and view programmes.

      Not worth it for somebody who watches about 5 hours a week. I already know that Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, West Wing, BSG, etc. are really good and I would like them – but haven’t bothered seeing any of them, so I already have more recommendations than I need.

    • Danivon

      Why would Skuds pay that Coalition supporting rag?

      (they still have yet to accept that as much as they dislike the cuts, they backed the Lib Dems even unto the deal)

      • Skuds

        Ah but.. today I handed over a quid to Murdoch and bought the Times. Normally I photocopy the crossword from the paper in our reception but I have a day off today.

        Did the crossword, kakuro, killer sudokus and futoshikos and read the report on the Crawley/Man U game and bunged it in the recycling. Didn’t actually read the paper, but I got a good hour or more distraction for my poiund.

  • JP

    The Tivo has 3 tunners as well, however, at the moment only two work as that’s all the Tivo software recognises, however the third tuner will be operational by the main rolloutof the box at the start of April.
    It also has it’s own 10mb modem

  • Skuds

    Thanks for that. I reckon V+ is enough for me for now, but its good toknow.