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Virgin Media TV Customers Offered Free Upgrade to New V6 Box

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 (7:22 am) - Score 12,373

After a long wait Virgin Media has announced that existing UK customers of their broadband, phone and TV bundles will now be able to take advantage of a FREE upgrade to the cable operator’s new 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) ready V6 set-top-box. The offer comes with no re-contract requirements.

The V6 box was officially introduced at the end of December 2016 (see details) and was developed for use by Liberty Global companies across Europe and in Latin America, although the UK was the first to market it. Unfortunately many existing customers have previously had to pay a one-off fee (£20) in order to get the kit but that is now about to change.

Under the new plan Virgin Media aims to end 2018 with the “majority” of its TV customers using the V6 box, which means they need to begin one of the “largest customer upgrade programmes ever carried out in the UK.

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said:

“We believe that our finest kit shouldn’t just be for new customers. So today we’re kicking off one of the largest existing customer upgrade programmes ever seen in the UK, accelerating the rollout of our best ever set-top box.

Our customers tell us how much they love using the V6 box and watch more TV when they have one. As a central entertainment hub, fired by our superior ultrafast broadband, the V6 is built for apps and the best on-demand TV experience – whether its iPlayer, Netflix or thousands of Box Sets.

Rightfully, our customers expect the best, and with top-notch TV to lightning-fast broadband, that’s exactly what they are getting.”

Apparently eligible customers can expect to be contacted in the “coming weeks” with details of how they can request their V6 box at no additional cost. The vast majority will be able to self-install avoiding the need for an engineer visit.

It’s perhaps worth pointing out that the new V6 box doesn’t have a cable modem built-in, only downstream tuners. As a result today’s move is important because in the future subscribers will be dependent upon their SuperHub broadband routers in order to get the TV service, which reflects Virgin Media’s changing approach to service delivery.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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14 Responses
  1. Matt says:

    I suppose this is to support the company selling of Broadband services as well as removing old kit from the network to make for upgrades or better network management…

    I suspect Docsis 1-2.0 will be completely dissapearing from the network come the end of this upgrade program.

    Personally I think Virgin is the doing the right thing, however I’m sure their will be some complaining about the fact of broadband requirement, I do know one person who has a V HD box with Telephone but nothing else, they are in their 80’s though.

    I wonder what will happen to those without broadband, will they have there services disconnected maybe.

    1. AndyC says:

      disconnected? i wouldn’t think so, but i suspect they will give them the “hard sell” with the old “you need our broadband to get the best from your v6 box” mind you i don’t see why they can’t give everyone a basic broadband for free, say 10Mbps that only connects to the on demand servers they could even supply a basic 1 port non wireless router just for that job.

      It makes no sense at all to me why they would leave the modem out of the v6 box its always been a good selling point to me, download on demand content without affecting your household internet.

    2. CarlT says:

      DOCSIS 1 is already gone in some areas.

      AndyC – if you are a cable broadband customer you can stream to your v6 without affecting your broadband connection. Just as with the wireless hotspot service the v6 gets its own service flow, hence bandwidth, independent of the broadband service.

      Joys of networks like cable and PON. Each home has the full bandwidth serving the area going to it.

  2. James says:

    As much as removing older DOCSIS versions from the network, this could also be allowing much better TV channel density, go to 100% DVB-C2 and go to 100% MPEG4 from MPEG2 which could see a huge bump in available bandwidth for TV (which may allow UHD to launch?). The hardware probably costs them very little to produce, and the benefits they can see from it are potentially huge

    1. CarlT says:

      That’s exactly the plan.

    2. Matt says:

      Right on the money.

  3. Mr Freeman says:

    What?? Does that mean that everyone having problems (latency issues) with the Superhub 3 could be affected for tv aswell in the future? Or would it not affect tv viewing? I certainly wouldn’t want skips and pauses on programmes like the broadband users are suffering. Can anyone please explain if a Superhub 3 works ok with a v6 box? Thank you

    1. Matt says:

      The Hub 3 isn’t that bad, streaming involves buffering so momentary losses of data wouldn’t effect it unless it was a prolonged loss of data.

      Its only services such as Online Gaming or Voice/Video calls over internet that suffer as they are real time data streams that don’t have a buffer.

  4. anthony k says:

    I got told i would have to pay 20 quid to get the v6 after they rang me up

    1. Topcat says:

      They tried to say that I would have to pay £20 activation charge when I rang to get my “free” upgrade naturally I went off it a bit and told them I was already paying them a lot of money for their service and I would not pay this charge ,I told them to cancel the upgrade and I would keep the box I had ,he then immediately said he would waive the charge,the box arrived yesterday and I activated it with no mention of a charge so we will see what happened when my next bill comes in.

  5. Richard L says:

    So, I’ve been a Virgin Media customer for a number of years and in December upgraded my broadband to business broadband through Virgin, whilst keeping my TV and Phone package. I did this upgrade as the Vivid200 broadband I had previously was shockingly unreliable, despite tens of engineer visits, new hubs, etc. I started a new TV+phone-only package in January, to go alongside the business broadband. At that time, VM confirmed that I could order one V6 box as a replacement to my very old and unsupported TiVo box, but would have to wait until February to do so. This was part of the motivation to start a new contract with them, rather than look Skywards.

    So now it’s February, and I am told that I cannot have the V6 box as I don’t have broadband. I clearly do, and after a little banter, the V6 I am told will ONLY work with Virgin Broadband provided through a residential plan. The solution offered by VM was to either get Broadband again through residential or to cancel the TV and phone contract.

    I’ve had enough of all the misinformation and elected to cancel my TV and phone with immediate effect and have been promised no further charges. I wish David Bouchier the best of luck with his strategy.

  6. Littlerock says:

    I am still confused about the V6 upgrade terms. I have been offered a new free V6 box. I am long out of contract. On the screen where I sign up for it, it says that I am signing up to a new 12 month upgraded package, at the rates which it shows the same as my current deal. It also sthat for those of us out of contract, not need to sign up for a new one. It reads quite the opposite to me.

  7. Littlerock says:

    so about the scrambled text above, Second to last sentence should read
    * It also states that there will be no changes in rates from my existing contract. It does not state that those of us who are out of contract, do not need to sign a new one to get the V6box.”

  8. I’m just about to receive the new V6 box and the new Superhub 3. The hub will be sited in one room, with my main PC, but the TV and new V6 box will be in another room (on the same floor). Does the TV box need a wired connection to the Hub, or will it connect wirelessly?

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