Fibre-optic HD Cable TV from Virgin Media
The digital television offering from Virgin TV is the culmination of the merger between ntl, Telewest and Virgin.net. Of all the digital TV providers (with the exception of Sky to an extent) Virgin TV is offering an entire package encompassing, digital TV, home phone, mobile phone and broadband under the umbrella term of Virgin Media. As stand alone products, the Virgin range is strong, but as a bundle they can make a very attractive package.
How does Virgin TV work?
Virgin TV is one of the only providers of digital TV services via cable phone line, so in order to have Virgin TV it is not necessary to have a domestic aerial, however, it is a necessity to sign up for a Virgin Media Phone service. It is through the phone cable that the programme data will be sent direct to the Virgin TV set top box to your television.
Virgin TV packages
Virgin is similar to Sky in that they have stepped access to digital TV channels. Simplistically, the higher monthly subscription you are prepared to pay, the more digital TV channels you will receive. There are three main subscription levels – M, L and XL
This digital TV package is currently free when the mandatory Virgin phone line is taken and includes 35 of the main terrestrial channels that are available on Freeview such as ITV2, E4, Film4, UKTV History and Cbeebies
The size L package costs £11.50 per month when taken with a Virgin phone line and offers over 83 digital channels including ITV2, E4, Film4, UKTV Gold, LIVINGtv, The Discovery Channel and Eurosport.
The flagship digital TV package from Virgin TV costs £20.50 per month when taken with the Virgin phone line and includes over 125 digital TV channels. These include ITV2, E4, Film4, National Geographic, Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, The History Channel and FX.
If you want to upgrade each of the channel packages to include premium channels such as Sky Movies or Sky Sports this is possible at an extra premium.
With each of the digital TV packages you can take advantage of the Virgin TV on Demand service, which offers several hundred different films, numerous TV series and thousands of music videos, which can be purchased for a one off cost per programme ordered.
Virgin TV Hardware – V+
The V+ is the Virgin TV High Definition personal video recorder set top box, which is similar to the rival Sky HD box, however, with the V+ box you can record programmes on two different channels whilst watching a third channel whereas this is not possible with Sky.
The V+ box allows you to record and pause live TV due to the hard disk technology and you could expect to record 80 hours of programming to the box.
If you have signed up to the Virgin M or L service there is an additional £5 per month fee to use the services encompassed in the V+ set top box, but if you take out the Virgin XL package, there is no monthly fee.
Virgin Media state that the V+ box is provided fee of charge but rather disingenuously mention that the installation fee is a hefty £150 as opposed to free installation or £30-£60 which is the typical installation fee for other digital TV providers. However there are typically a number of special offers in place that reduce this installation fee to levels comparable with those of other providers.
Virgin TV benefits
It is clear that Virgin is a serious contender to Sky (the recent tit for tat marketing campaigns from both companies lays testament to this) and as a provider for overall telecommunication needs i.e. telephone (home and mobile) digital television and broadband, they could be considered as the most comprehensive solution on the market. Their HD ready V+ box is currently one of (if not) the most advanced digital set top boxes available and they have the excellent infrastructure of the formerly known ntl/Telewest networks to call upon.
There are often several deals on the Virgin Media website offered as an enticement to signup so why not take a look…
Virgin Media – more information