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By: MarkJ - 1 December, 2010 (11:32 AM)
virgin media uk cheap broadband tv and phoneCable giant Virgin Media has today launched its new broadband internet based "next-generation entertainment platform" and Set Top Box (STB), which uses Video-on-Demand (VoD) technology from TiVo. The service will roll-out from mid-December 2010 and cost from £26.50 per month.

A key selling point of this new product is the fact that it will not eat into the Traffic Management restrictions of existing customer broadband accounts. Instead the STB makes clever use of its own dedicated 10Mbps broadband Cable Modem connection.

virgin media uk tivo broadband tv vod box
New Set-Top-Box Feature Highlights

* 1 TeraByte of storage for personal recordings.

* Access to over 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music videos, including hundreds of hours of HD and 3D entertainment, plus catch-up TV from the terrestrial broadcasters, all available instantly.

* Dedicated internal broadband link to bring internet services and apps direct to your TV.

* WishList™ search based on a particular show, theme, actor or director. All future content relevant to that will be automatically recorded.

* App store (Built on an Adobe Flash-based platform). The latest videos, social networking and information apps will be updated regularly (iPlayer, Twitter, Facebook etc.).

* Three Tuners. Allows viewers to record two channels whilst watching a third.
The new platform also features a clever recommendations engine that learns to predict the type of shows you love and, just like a personal shopper, will recommend related media. It will also find films, music, TV shows and online content as well as providing detailed programme information, allowing viewers to discover even more content connected to the cast and production.

Virgin Media's Executive Director of Digital Entertainment, Cindy Rose, said:

"This is a landmark moment in the UK’s digital revolution and vividly illustrates why Virgin Media is the only company who can provide the ultimate digital lifestyle. For the first time, viewers will have a truly personalised viewing experience so they can get the most out of the wonderful worlds of the internet and TV all in one place.

We’re really excited to bring our customers what is just the first of successive generations of transformational services based on this unique TiVo-powered platform."

However such a clever platform, with its own dedicated broadband link, doesn't come cheap. The monthly fee of £26.50 (XL TiVo Package) also requires you to have a Virgin Phone Line (total £32.50 per month). The STB itself will set you back £199 and standard installation costs apply (£40). We expect more packages, prices and bundle discounts at or shortly after launch.

The new service is also somewhat of a first salvo against future YouView (Project Canvas) services, which are due to appear from ISPs BT and TalkTalk in 2011. However YouView will initially be forced to work over BT's often slower DSL ( ADSL , ADSL2+ ) broadband platform, which limits the potential of IPTV services.
Virgin Media TiVo Service Details
http://www.virginmedia.com/TiVo

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