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Virgin Media O2 UK Finally Launches New Stream TV Service

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 (11:58 am) - Score 19,728
Virgin-Media-Stream

After a lot of beta testing, broadband ISP Virgin Media (VMO2) UK has today officially launched their new TV streaming (IPTV) product – called ‘Stream‘ – that makes popular TV channels, on-demand apps, and movies available to customers via a single small set-top-box – all via your internet connection on a 30-day rolling contract.

The service, which appears to use a modified version of the palm-sized “mini box” device that VMO2 already offers alongside their premium Virgin TV 360 service, is a similar solution to that of Sky’s rival NOW TV platform, albeit one that is only available to Virgin Media’s own broadband customers (at least for now). We leaked many of the details for this last year (here).

Stream will officially go live for new and existing customers to order tomorrow. You’ll be able to add Stream for a one-off activation fee of just £35, with no ongoing cost beyond the streaming services you choose to subscribe to. Stream also includes “Stream Credit“, which offers customers a 10% saving on their subscriptions when they add them via their Virgin Media Bill.

The box and related remote support some familiar features too, such as Voice Search and Control, Profiles and Watchlists. Customers with Stream can also manage their entertainment across devices via the ‘My Virgin Media‘ app, simply using the app to add and remove TV subscriptions to suit their needs.

Technical Specs of the Stream Box

Rear panel
• 1x HDMI v2.0b with HDCP 2.2 copy protection
• 1x Micro-USB connector (supporting power and wired network pass-through)

Front panel
• 1 multi-colour LED
• 1 button (on/standby and RCU pairing)

Wireless
• Switchable Dual-band 802.11ac (WiFi 5) 2×2
• Bluetooth LE 4.2 remote control

Core system
• RDK software
• Horizon 4 User Interface

Visual
• 4K/60 fps with HDR (HDR10 & HLG)
• HEVC and VP9

Audio
• Support for Dolby Digital (inc. Dolby Atmos passthrough)

Power consumption/Power saving features
• Low power usage (<5W)

Physical
• Size: 80mm x 80mm x 16 mm
• Casing made with up to 85% post-consumer recycled plastics

In terms of what the channels, apps, prices and content look like..

Virgin-Media-Stream-Prices-and-Channels

Sadly, this sort of box lacks the same video recording capabilities as its bigger brother, although thanks to on-demand content such features aren’t as important as they once were.

David Bouchier, Chief TV & Entertainment Officer at VMO2, said:

“At a time of endless entertainment choice and a strain on household budgets, we’re putting viewers first. Stream customers will only pay for the entertainment they choose and can pocket monthly savings on the content they add – it is a truly flexible and personal way to enjoy the entertainment that matters most, at great value.

Stream is more than just a new TV service, it’s whole new way to enjoy connected entertainment. More than ever, content and connectivity go hand in hand and with Stream we’re delivering the best of both.”

Stream looks like a reasonable enough service, unless you’re already committed to a similar solution like NOW TV – one that isn’t tied to a specific ISP, but it’s still good to have options. Speaking of options, it’s worth remembering that Sky will, later this year, be making their full TV service available over broadband – without the need to take Sky Glass – via their ‘puck’ streaming boxes (here).

However, Virgin’s announcement and the stated subscriptions make no mention of 4K (UltraHD) content and prices, which is an issue that we also spotted during the beta testing phase. We had hoped that they might resolve this in time for launch (the box itself can handle 4K), but it seems like they haven’t. We’re seeking some clarification, since only being able to offer HD is disappointing.

UPDATE 2:32pm

Virgin informs that there’s no additional cost for the 4K channels on Stream. Virgin TV Ultra HD is in the essential entertainment pack, and BT Sport Ultimate comes with the standard BT sport add-on. If customers want Netflix in Ultra HD then they can subscribe to the top Netflix tier through Virgin Media also.

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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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26 Responses
  1. Jack says:

    Looks like much better value than Sky Glass / Pucks. Maybe this will force Sky into basically turning the Pucks into an option for Sky Q instead of outdated mini boxes with just an upfront fee and nothing extra on the bill

    1. Ben Jones says:

      Sky Q boxes will never be used with Sky Stream pucks. It’s as simple as, Sky Q if you want/have a dish or have poor internet & Sky Glass / Sky Stream puck if you have no dish/poor signal and a good internet connection. So it’s one or the other as Sky+ isn’t available to new customers.

    2. iDoc says:

      The pucks are superior in that they support undo 2.1 Dolby vision,
      HDR10, HLG and Dolby atmos. The puck has just been launched to work on its own too so I don’t see how this would be a better proposition they VM’s stream box.

  2. Tim says:

    For £35 it’s cheaper than running an aerial point into another room. A great way to get live tv if needed into another room, so for that reason I can see it being a big hit.

    Also looks far and away better than any sky glass offering at the moment.

    1. Ian brame says:

      Virgin wouldn’t send me one unless I agreed to a different broadband deal with them

  3. Richard says:

    I wonder if Disney + will launch on 360 and V6 boxes now?

  4. Jeepers Creepers says:

    re: recording, would be cool if they RTSP streamed it out and you could record that. They won’t though. But the box does look pretty interesting. Although the line-up of free channels isn’t anywhere near as good as something like freeview.

  5. Ben says:

    That’s a shame – I thought this was a really innovative product which would be suitable for the whole of the UK. Ho hum!

  6. Tech3475 says:

    It’s a shame you have to use a box for the service, even Sky has apps on the Xbox.

    1. Tech3475 says:

      Correction:
      I meant NowTV, although Sky does provide an app for subscribers on the Xbox, etc.

      I wish the Sky Q mini boxes didn’t need a dedicated box either, at least with Virgin their TV mini boxes need a coax cable for TV, so there’s (some) excuse.

  7. Regorimabitbackward says:

    American cable customers have commented they would prefer it they could stream what they require, and pay one bill to their cable company rather than having multiple subscriptions, is this VMO2 getting ahead of the game? Not a bad idea is it.

  8. Ian says:

    Can’t really see the point. You might as well have cable TV unless vm are planning to phase that out in favour of iptv

    1. Tech3475 says:

      It may still have some uses, for example, if you are unable or unwilling to have a coax cable put in where it would be needed, you have the maximum number of multi-room boxes and want basic TV in another, you don’t want the contract commitment, etc.

    2. JP says:

      I suspect a long term plan would be supply this off their network as a premium service like Now TV.

      It could also replace there cable TV offering eventually or make for alternative in supplying newer homes or reducing coaxial and manual labour usage.

  9. Sam says:

    You have to have their broadband which us rural lot will never get some another fully restricted product.. Bravo Virgin Bravo…

    1. JP says:

      And about another 50% of the country…

  10. Nathan H says:

    Ahhh, This is such a great idea…However sales agents are telling me it’s not compatible with Gig1 broadband?

    they’re making out I have to get a Volt package with an o2 Sim card.

    1. Nathan H says:

      The finer details around this are as follows.

      I have Broadband only – Gig1 package and they’re stating it’s incompatible.

      However if I was to move to be a Volt customer and have an o2 Sim Card (which I’d have 0 use for) I’d keep Gig1 bare in mind they can then offer me the stream Box. However I’d then be paying an extra £10 a month for a sim I have no use for and then the additonal channel costs. Meaning I may aswell just take out a TV Subscription with them!

      I was wanting to do the stream box A for flexibility of moving it between rooms and B, to get the F1 channel. Ah well. If only my landlord would let me move my internet to BT I could be rid of Virgin Media once and for all.

  11. AXDEAG says:

    Is it me or does the channel list look more like Freeview than anything else?

    1. Icaras says:

      @axdeag It does, but it isn’t. There’s no monthly charge for these challens which is probably why they’ve mirrored the Freeview offering.

      Presumably if this works well and people happy with it they’ll add paid channels?

  12. S.macdonald says:

    What the f are you talking about pentioner

  13. Cam93x says:

    Can you get your existing Virgin package channels on this (e.g. I already get Bath Sport on VM, just wondering if I have to pay again on the Stream box to watch in another room)

  14. Cam93x says:

    BT sport not Bath sport!

    1. Geoff says:

      That has been my key question i.e. can I get Sky F1 (part of my existing MaxIt subscription) without paying twice?

      I can’t get Chat to load, but I found a “hands on review” from the launch event which stated that the box was not available to existing VM TV subscribers, only broadband-only customers

  15. mike says:

    Don’t see the point. It’s basically Freeview and can’t stream recordings from your other Virgin boxes?

  16. Dean Mason says:

    I think It’s disgusting existing Virgin Media customers can’t access this for a second bedroom perhaps

    Kind regards
    Dean

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