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Virgin Media UK Launch Next Gen TV 360 Platform and Box UPDATE

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 (11:58 am) - Score 45,168
virgin_tv_360

Cable broadband ISP Virgin Media UK (Liberty Global) has today officially taken the wraps off their new next generation TV 360 platform and set-top-boxes (STB), which combine 4K and HDR with the ability to access your channels and content either at home or wherever there’s a WiFi or Mobile Data (4G, 5G) connection.

The new setup feature two STBs, which includes a main box with a hard drive for personal video recording (this is running their new Horizon 4 software) and a mini-box without a hard drive. Customers will also receive a new remote control, which supports voice search.

Virgin states that “customers can continue to record six programmes while watching a seventh, watch on demand programmes and live TV in one room, pause and continue in another room seamlessly through a Virgin TV 360 box or a Mini box.”

The new platform also includes an updated image-based User Interface (UI) and the ability to create individual user profiles, enabling more personalisation. You’ll also be able to share video recordings on all STBs for easy multi-room viewing. The existing Virgin TV Go app has also been “revamped” and offers viewing on the go via mobile phones and tablets.

Summary of New Virgin TV 360 Features:

Voice Search & Control – a new remote allows customers to use their voice to find the telly they love, open apps, pause, skip forward or back and breeze around content quickly.

Profiles – families can now create their own profiles so that they can control their own pause points, select their favourite channels and receive personalised recommendations.

Startover – lets customers skip back to the beginning of live programmes, even if they’ve already started.

New Mini box – recordings only need to be made once and can be shared across multiple set top boxes which allows for seamless Ultra-HD multi-room viewing throughout the home.

Upgraded Virgin TV Go app – offers a boosted on the go experience that allows customers to pause a programme on one set top box and carry on watching it on their tablet in another room or on the move.

From launch, all new customers taking one of Virgin Media’s TV and broadband bundles can expect to receive Virgin TV 360 as standard. Existing customers don’t currently have an easy upgrade option, although there is an exception. Existing customers who take the Ultimate Oomph bundle (costing from £79.99 per month), or who upgrade to Ultimate Oomph, will also be able to get Virgin TV 360 later this year and “at no additional cost.”

David Bouchier, Virgin’s Chief TV & Entertainment Officer, said:

“Virgin TV 360 is our most impressive TV service to date, providing one of the most complete and comprehensive viewing experiences available in the UK. Backed up by our ultrafast broadband, our new service allows TV lovers to watch all of their favourite channels, apps and on-demand content in one place or on the move. This really is game-changing TV and we know our customers will love it.”

We’re current trying to get some extra details on the new STB hardware, although it’s interesting to note that these will deliver “regular overnight updates straight to the box … [so] customers will be able to enjoy new features as soon as they’re ready.” In the meantime, we’ve posted a picture of the new box and mini-box below, although for some reason they’ve only put out low-resolution images and at different angles (not ideal for a side-to-side comparison).

virgin_tv_360_box_and_mini_box

UPDATE 11th November 2020

We had to get this confirmed before writing about it, but the “new” 360 box is fundamentally the same hardware as the existing V6 boxes, although Virgin TV 360 boxes are built by different suppliers and the user experience as a platform is very different under Horizon. The Virgin TV 360 Mini box is the same hardware as the 360 box without the hard disk, offering a smaller second or third box for the home.

Despite this it may seem strange that, from launch later this year, existing customers who choose to upgrade to Virgin TV 360 will have their current V6 box swapped out for a Virgin TV 360 box and mini box. However, from early next year, customers with a V6 box who choose to upgrade to Virgin TV 360 will instead be able to get the software update over the air.

Leave a Comment
51 Responses
  1. Pezza says:

    So copying Sky Q, and Virgins remote and boxes still look cheap and ugly. Would it hurt them to design something a bit more appealing looking?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      One person’s ugly is another’s beauty. I can’t serious say that the design of a remote control has ever had much of an impact on a buying decision for related kit (TVs etc.).

      Do you have any examples of what you consider to be an ideal design? They all look more of less the same to me.

    2. Pezza says:

      Actually yes, for instance my Sony AG9 remote is brilliant and premium with its brushed metal top, it just lacks a backlight that the new remora from this year have but they kept the same design. The buttons are clearly labelled and laid out, but the look and feel of the remote is premium. The Sky W remote is easy to use and has well laid out buttons but can be slippery too in your hand. Yes most don’t care, but if your spending that kind of money it is nice to have a nicely designed interface to the equipment. And for TV boxes a nice design to integrate wire all your other equipment.

  2. JitteryPinger says:

    Hmm, be interesting to have a play with this I guess when I get install done on 19th.

  3. Yatta! says:

    Good, they’ve finally dropped their terrible TiVo platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “new” hardware isn’t identical to their current V6 solution, just running the Horizon middleware.

    1. Gy says:

      Have been testing TV360 (was not supplied with a ‘mini-box’) and would NOT recommend the current software.
      Can no longer record Radio programmes as they are not on program list.
      If you record a TV series, watch an episode and delete that episode before it is repeated then that episode will be re-recorded – what a waste!
      You cannot recover deleted programmes.
      TV channel will no longer store 90 minutes in background while you watch a recorded program, although if you pause a live channel it will store up to 3 hours, but this 3 hours will be lost as soon as you watch a recorded program.
      TV channel list only shows icons of channel, you can longer click on icon, making channels hard to identify.
      You can only set record for episode or series that is currently on the software i.e. you can no longer set it to record any new series.
      And the list goes on.

    2. Dave F-B says:

      Your dismissal of Tivo is unjustified. I had a V6 box but after two visits from the engineer confirmed it would not work with a Samsung 4K TV, I had to move to a Tivo box which does work with my TV. Here’s hoping the 360 box actually works with Samsungs.

  4. Ray Woodward says:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery …

    1. Richard says:

      I absolutely agree with GYs comments on the 360 v TiVo, many many features missing, the remote keys are all in the wrong place for intuitive operation. Come on Virgin , let’s have a firmware update to give us back the missing featured

  5. Aaron says:

    Profiles and Prime are good ideas… Now if only Sky added those to Sky Q

  6. Keith Round says:

    As usual give it the new customers first and stuff the loyal one’s that have been with them for years.
    Gets me Every time anything new always new customers first should be loyal one’s first.

    1. Ian Tommins says:

      There are three big difficulties with existing customers that don’t apply to new customers:
      1) They are used to the existing software, and some won’t like the new changes
      2) They will have existing recordings. The software almost certainly stores its recordings in a different format (at least for the metadata), which means you either need to convert the recordings to the new format (meaning someone has to write an update script) or customers lose their old recordings (unhappy customers).
      3) There are millions of existing customers, compared to the thousands of new installs they do daily.

    2. Billy Nomates says:

      Ian,

      None of those stop VM from at least offering it to existing customers.

    3. Brett Lockerbie says:

      I totally agree with what you say new customers get all the good new things no set up fee sometimes but your letters calling you a loyal customer get nothing not even told of new products and if you want them virgin sting the so called loyal customer its shocking.

    4. David says:

      Thats true.
      Never understand why Virgin doesn’t do loyal customers first.

    5. Loyal virgin subscriber says:

      Totally agree my friend, we have been loyal to virgin for over 30yrs, and any new devices we have found through e- mails.Cold calling has been done but have been given the option of upgrading our package with the offer of new gadgets and devices.This is totally wrong in my opinion and loyalty should be rewarded.

  7. Josh Welby says:

    I am an existing customer from the NTL days
    and before that Cable and Wireless and Videotron
    I have the new Virgin 360 box and the new Flat Remote

    It is a good box and the look is exactly the same as the V6, there is no difference

    You can no longer get the EPG Data of the channels you do not subscribe to,
    so you do not know what programmes they have on that you MAY upgrade
    your subscription to watch those programmes/channels

    1. Jason C says:

      One of the principle reasons we like VM is that the EPG shows all channels but only highlights ones that are part of your package, so the users can consistently see what they’re missing. To my mind Sky doensn’t have this feature and it sounds like Virgin is doing away with it 🙁

  8. Paul says:

    With the current software TiVo was better needs updating pronto can’t use multiple remote controls

  9. Rob says:

    Any news about uhd 4K sky sports and sky movies on virgin box??.

  10. Martin W says:

    As GY says above , the series links are whatever it finds whenever it finds it. 4th repeat at 3am you’ll get the lot. No new only , deleting is 3 button pushes .
    Pictorial recorded list scrolls off to the left out of sight! 2 button pushes gets a list!
    If you push one number button by accident it goes off to the nearest channel with that number, it won’t ignore it.,
    It’s poor, I hope it gets better with upgrades, at the moment it’s a huge step backwards.

  11. Ben says:

    Surely they should sort out hub 3 and scap hub 4 and go to another company for a new design and better tech inside the unit, because the V6 box are so 1990s now , we want WiFi 6 better WiFi and massive download speeds , we pay premium money for second hand equipment and rubbish services

    1. 2 says:

      Do you have a provider which offer a WiFi 6 Hub on the cheap? Last I checked you pay a maximum £35 for the Hub 3(activation fee) and free upgrades(aHub1/2 to the 3) & replacements. Even then I disbelieve that the Hub 3 costs £35 or less to produce so they’re at a loss even providing you with one. People complain about the £35 fee when they want the Hub free of charge anyway (as seen on VM forum during the Hub 3 release when it wasn’t free).
      If you can find a provider of WiFi 6 then share with them, as for faster speeds? 500Mb is enough for almost everyone, if you’re in need of 1Gb then wait until 2021 where it’ll be network wide, to which no doubt we’ll see you here moaning about the price of it as well. But that’s another story.

    2. Michael Berry says:

      Gave up this week on hub 4, the router section is hopeless, bought a WiFi 6 router and it works brilliantly. As for the cable box, looks to be same old and built to a price as all Virgin kit is. We need a service that can store recordings in the cloud not on some little hard drive where all recordings are lost on failure of the box.

    3. MikeC says:

      Who uses the stock HUB anyway?

  12. Kevin says:

    I think Sky Q is without a better system… looks like virgin just refreshed the v6 with new software and gave it a new remote, I would even say TiVo was a better system than 360.

    1. Richard Halliday says:

      I agree, and the remote keys are not laid out intuitively, hopefully the box will soon have a firmware update to reinstate lost features that the V6 box had, otherwise it’s a backward step

  13. Paul says:

    What about apps like iPlayer, Netflix, etc. Does it come with a Plex app?

    1. Aqx says:

      No, No Plex app.

  14. Roger_Gooner says:

    VM’s mini box is not like Sky’s mini box in that it must have a connection both to a coax cable and the hub – like the V6. However any recordings have to be done on the V6, so people with a V6 and a mini have half the total recording capacity compared with those who have two V6s.

    1. VM user says:

      So the minibox isn’t like an Amazon Firestick or Roku where you just plug it in and connected it to the Wi-Fi and it works? And to watch live TV you’ll need to have a coax cable connected to the main box or splitter on the main cable?

    2. Roger_Gooner says:

      The 360 box is basically a V6 without the hard drive, so the same cable connections are needed.

  15. Martin Burns says:

    There are a lot of good comments mentioned, I have been using the new 360 box for about 6 weeks now and I must say at the moment I miss my old V6 box and the features it had.1/ being able to choose new only or new only and reruns for your recordings. 2/ being able to retrieve deleted recordings. 3/ Being able to use multible remotes. Not being able to do this on the 360 box is a step backwards and I hope Virgin Media are going to put this right, or I can see customers leaving and going to another network like SKY Q.

  16. Peter Talbot-Sykes says:

    Although this does look like a step in the right direction as an upgrade to the outdated platform. VM need to drastically improve their BB reliability (as the speed is not to bad), the entire street in which i live on constantly has issues in the local Facebook group regarding lag and dropped packets. VM if you are reading this, many people that i know are seriously looking to leave their contracts as soon as they can due to this. And i am employed as a project manager in telecoms and and have a vast amount of experience in this sector. This is just not acceptable for the outlay in which we pay every month.

  17. Karl Betts says:

    As a Virgin customer for 12 years now. The box’s are just crap, they are slow buggy the apps are terrible. I would move provider but thanks to a shity housing association I can’t because they put cladding over the phone lines so you can’t get any other provider

    1. Allan Stack says:

      Same here, would love sky but can’t have a dish. Been with vm for 30 years and they get worse every year. The new box I’ve just been given is rubbish compared to the V6, can’t find anything, no instructions, less on it if use just gimmicky things. May ask for my old boxes back.

  18. Litlephil says:

    Looking at the box it is the same as the V6 which is already out to over 3 million. To change the box n lose etc for the same box would one be not so much rushed for until the day TiVo turns off… but cost saving really it’s the control that is the only difference and rushed by looks which is a shame it looks like something you would get with free view. But it probably will work good it’s a shame we don’t have suggestions and thumbs up and down but that’s with TiVo. As for the things people are saying no EPG and certain things missing, hopefully this is horizon now which owned and run by LG meaning they have the control and talk has been said of nightly updates so possibility if really missed and needed LG will bring it into the horizon program. But the thing is to save time money and hassle we are changing a V6 for the 360 same box…? Could LG not do an update which will see TiVo finally leave our screens and replacing the software that can be sent by the cables. As I’m like TiVo box LG own the V6 so what I’m trying to say is can’t they send all there customers that have the V6 already the new control, and with updates can’t the V6 be reprogrammed? This will save a lot of money time and possibly get all virgin customers switched faster ‍♂️ It’s just a thought as there are talks parts of the V6 have not been activated and it’s a shame for such a young box to be swapped for the same. It’s just a thought as it’s only software at the end of the day and that can be done overnight in sections, all Virgin need do is send all its customers the (basic) bug Nes control

  19. raymond sale says:

    i have the new 360 box installed at no cost but what about the mini boxes thy said we where gettng is this at extra cost’

  20. AlphaOTT says:

    WONDERFUL article, Thank you so much for the great and valuable information.

  21. Sined says:

    All the gadgets and bits and pieces are useless when the Virgin Network will not work correctly, I have had nothing but rubbish service on my broadband over the last Six months continually dropping out both during the day and over night, and absolutely no help from the service centres. So you can keep the updates etc till the network us working correctly as far as I am concerned.

  22. Peter Beesley says:

    I took advantage of the free upgrade from TiVo to 360, I wish I hadn’t.
    Amongst other problems is that you cannot opt to record new programs only
    The remote control did not come with any instructions, the only advantage I have found so far is the voice control.
    The listing of recorded programs is nowhere near as clear as the previous system.
    I thought that Virgin may have contacted me for my views on the upgrade but I have heard nothing.
    I just hope that future software updates rectify these problems

  23. James says:

    Needing coax for the mini boxes makes them totally pointless.

  24. Stephen says:

    Whe did the new box come out

  25. Jean says:

    The upgrade begs the question: Will the second box to mini-box be able to work in another room wirelessly without having to extend a co-axial cable to that room?
    If yes, you have a winner. If not, time to go back to the drawing board

  26. Heather Shields says:

    Been using the 360 for a few months now, utter rubbish keeps disconnecting from hub so unable to watch, spent more time turning off and on than watching tv.

  27. Richard Taylor says:

    Can anyone confirm if the second box will need a hardwire virgin cable or wifi connect?

    1. Peter G says:

      Both the mini box and main box can work with WiFi and or Ethernet cable.

  28. Peter says:

    How can you get the new 360 box remote details on what each button dose if you can’t read the print on your website and none given to new customers?

  29. Alan says:

    Hmm…chanced upon this site having just read about the 360 Box.
    Think I’ll stick to my old clunky TiVo Box !!

  30. Paul says:

    I’d love to try the new 360 box. I have one but after two days its still not been able to be connected despite hours on the phone and being promised the next person will be able to solve the problem. It seems Virgin are having a lot of problems with this new tech. I’m now waiting for yet another callback that I’m told will definitely solve the issue. Forgive me if im not convinced

  31. Mike Davies says:

    I’ve got the new 360 box and mini box ,, crap ,, wish I’d stayed with the old tivo boxes but I’ve been told you can’t get them back ,,,, what rubbish ,,,,

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