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Virgin Media UK to Trial New Streaming Entertainment Service

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021 (8:56 am) - Score 27,936

Cable broadband and TV provider Virgin Media UK has revealed plans to launch a new Entertainment Service, which will apparently bring lots of different streaming services “together into one place.” Oddly, the trial for this is currently only open to those with a broadband-only service (no TV or phone) on their network and a HUB 3 or 4 router.

The Entertainment Service Trial was announced via their website on Monday (here), although the description is so vague that it ends up sounding like pretty much every other video streaming device or internet-connected TV platform (these typically let you install streaming apps from lots of different content providers, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, NOW (Sky), iPlayer etc.).

There’s so many awesome streaming services out there, we decided to bring them all together into one place and put you in charge with our new entertainment service … It won’t cost you any extra to get our new entertainment set up in your home, and the service will be totally free throughout the trial. Our system will automatically put an activation charge on your bill but we’ll refund you with a bill credit,” said the operator.

Virgin said they don’t yet have a confirmed date for the trial itself to start. We have asked the operator for more details, but they declined to add anything, and so we are continuing to dig. Naturally, we’ll update this article once we know more.

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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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30 Responses
  1. anonymous says:

    How about Virgin do a Smart TV app for their TV services so you can just login and consume your TV services WITHOUT a set top box, using the same device registration limit/rules as their mobile/tablet app.

    Nope – too modern. Juts like licensing alternative cable modems instead of the garbage devices they spew out.

    1. CarlT says:

      So alternative cable modems aren’t a modern thing, it’s been around in the United States since the beginning of cable. It’s also a legal requirement.

      Find me a cable company that voluntarily allows customers to bring their own modems. It’s a commercial decision, nothing more.

      Same goes for a smart TV app. If you’re a Virgin Media TV customer you have other services from them. You’re watching on a TV. They provide broadcast TV services via set top boxes. Where’s the commercial case to deliver this over a TV app?

      From Virgin Media’s point of view both are pointless, both cost money and the lack of either isn’t losing them customers.

      The odd person has wanted to use their own cable modems since 1999. It is the odd person, quickly lost among their 5+ million broadband customers. Building the infrastructure to allow customers to bring their own devices, alongside the cost of supporting them, really isn’t worth it. Especially when that one device is being used for so many different applications and there’s so much to go wrong.

      A triple-play customer’s device must support at least 3 service flows. One each for broadband, IPTV and telephony. Broadband is best effort, IPTV prioritised, telephony guaranteed as needed.

      It wouldn’t just be a case of pushing a few buttons to allow use of own modems. There’s a lot to consider and a lot to do in the back end.

      A bunch of cable companies don’t even provide a bridge mode with their own kit.

    2. AQX says:

      The complications that would come from allowing people to use their own equipment really isn’t worth, in the U.K. Ofcom require monitoring of speeds which is integrated (in VM’s case) by Samknows so this would mean you need to somehow have a modem which can be monitored to ensure you’re getting the speeds advertised to ensure a line check can be done where required, this is the same for BT (unsure who they use) but theirs also required a hub update to add in line check capabilities. Now, seeing as the average broadband consumer believes WiFi = broadband, it’s safer than ever to assume that 99.98% of the consumers will not use their own equipment and the .2 that would will cost a fortune because it’ll be even further limited technical support & they won’t be able to accurately determine any faults as their equipment doesn’t work with their equipment.

      For TV you get 5 devices because the average house is somehow 2.39 people (don’t know how they got .39). So assuming the average is 2, that means a 5-device limit is more than fair and helps combat sharing of accounts.
      https://www.statista.com/statistics/295551/average-household-size-in-the-uk/ (This goes up to 2020).

      However this streaming service would be rather interesting if you pay a fee for it, it may actually allow people to use Virgin TV without the need of a box elbeit linited features by utilising a stick similar to Roku/Amazon/NowTV with a service tied to your Virgin account and have different tiers which allow access to different channels via TVGO.

    3. AQX says:

      albeit limited*
      Autocorrect not enabled on mobile.

    4. oneman says:

      @AQX, samknows uses a mixture routers and whiteboxes so people with non-compatible routers can supply data as well.

    5. CarlT says:

      The Whiteboxes are limited to a gigabit and VM can’t have making one of them a prerequisite to a customer bringing their own CPE. You’d have a facility dependent on a third party’s supplying of hardware.

    6. anonymous says:

      Its all down to money. Money for extra boxes.

      Cable modems should have been a standard like ADSL/FTTC ones where you can get your own. They would have been DOCSIS qualified.

      Dinosaurs go down though. That’s the current state of play now. Someone else comes along, challenges the old rules, gets the customers. Can see this by dropping of TV services generally for pay when you want streaming services that are more flexible in device terms and BB with new fibre players entering and wireless tech like 5G coming on and 6G in future.

      The benefit is happier customers and retention. Cord cutting started, and accelerating. Closed shop isn’t liked by growing numbers now.

  2. Mark says:

    What about us Virgin customers who are stuck with hub 2 and no option to upgrade?

    1. JP says:

      Call them up and they will upgrade your hub.

    2. JP says:

      Can normally do it online too, but they may have suspended that due to equipment shortages.

    3. AQX says:

      Hub & TV upgrades are no longer happening, fault replacements used to be a common thing for Hub 2/2AC to a 3 & Tivo 500 to V6. Due to their shortages these are being like for like swaps, but you’re better off on the 2/2ac anyway.

    4. Name says:

      What about not being VM customer, having modern Smart TV and decent internet connection from elsewhere?

    5. Adrian says:

      Virgin gave me the worst customer service of any organisation ever. You can rearrange the deckchairs but the ice berg is still out there.

    6. Jon says:

      I work for virgin media and I would like to verify you can get a free hub upgrade if you have the 2ac hub

  3. Joshe says:

    Maybe this trial is for the Mini TV boxes they have in other Liberty Global Regions, but since it’s for broadband only customers it might not be, but it’s just a theory.

    1. AQX says:

      This isn’t the case, the mini boxes in other countries still use their standard connection however they’re able to do cloud based storage as in other countries they aren’t forced by law to have them stored on drives inside the boxes unlike in the U.K. There’s a clause with the BBC that Virgin, BT & Sky etc all follow which prevents the online storage being an option. And my guess is that it would be expensive to split BBC content and other channels as other channels may also be on the same boat.

    2. joshe says:

      I think we’re talking about different boxes i’m taking about the IPTV horizon mini tv from UPC Poland not the ones which look like the 360 mini box. https://www.libertyglobal.com/about/products/mini-tv-box/

  4. Andy says:

    The registration form seems to be broken – it asks for customer number and area code but there are no form fields to enter anything. Then it won’t let you go backwards or forwards because the data is missing. Tried on PC & Mac with four different web browsers.

    1. ANdy says:

      My mistake – PiHole ad blocking stopped the form from working.

  5. Kevin Barry says:

    Would be really good if they had Thier existing services working first. Low BB sPeed, recorded programs fail to play

    1. Joshe says:

      That sounds like a service fault in your area, or you live in an oversubscribed area. If it’s the latter there’s not much you can do about it, but if it’s a service fault you should call virgin. I’ve never had a problem with Virgin Broadband as I use my own router instead of the terrible Hub 3.

  6. NC says:

    I wonder if Virgin are hoping to offer an IPTV service to those who aren’t a VM customer, but perhaps with a decent broadband from an alternative provider?

    Personally, I used to be a VM customer but left sadly due to the poor internet reliability, but I do miss the TV…

    1. AQX says:

      This appears to be the impression I’m under as well since the requirements is Broadband only it makes me feel like they’ll be trying to do something like TVGo and an app store.

  7. Litlephil says:

    It’s easy to think virgin are looking at launching a similar device to sky’s now box that can work via 3rd party broadbands, but will have discounts with virgin broadband it’s another way virgin will be able to get to customers in none fibre areas now virgin mobile an 02 are joined I think virgin will look to increasing its mobile side both phones and entertainment.

  8. Stephen Hood says:

    How about getting the service we already pay for to be reliable and capable of serving a basic three bedroom nineteen thirteen house. My wife has missed so many important meetings I couldn’t begin to list them. All we get is switch it off and on again.

    1. Jon says:

      Maybe you should enquire about intelligent WiFi which will improve your WiFi quality

  9. John Walkling says:

    No wonder virgin is short of returns of equipment as they have no contact we’re users can arrange returns easily!

  10. Lawrance says:

    There customer service and speed are rubbish

  11. Rumy Haque says:

    Unqualified, unprofessional customer services ( some of them) Still suffering From Jan 21.
    Who will listen ???

    1. AQX says:

      Nobody here as this isn’t run or monitored by Virgin at all, check out their community forum and someone may help there.

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