Virgin Media has stepped into the 4K sphere with its latest TiVo set-top box. The media company's new pint-sized V6 box provides support for Netflix and YouTube in Ultra HD (with future updates promising High Dynamic Range (HDR) support), however whether it will offer live 4K broadcasts has not yet been confirmed.
Virgin claims the TV V6 box is half the size of its previous TiVo set and provides ten times the processing power, meaning a much faster response to when channel surfing and flicking through the EPG. It also includes 1TB of storage, which is capable of storing up to 500 hours of standard definition programming (100 hours in HD). There will also be an increased focus on "superfast" apps, and the ability to record up to six shows at once – with hardcore telly addicts able to watch a seventh at the same time.
What else is new?
As well as an updated TV remote – which includes a beeper for those prone to losing it down the back of a sofa – Virgin also revealed improvements to its Series Link service, now called Series Link+, with episodes of linked shows now also pulled from catch-up and on-demand channels.
BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix and Vevo were all confirmed for download at launch as part of an improved app ecosystem, while a Kids TV app and a dedicated Media Store app for box set and film rentals were both confirmed for 2017.
In addition, an update coming to Virgin's TV Anywhere mobile app will now allow users to stream "selected" shows recorded on their TiVo box directly to a smartphone or tablet – effectively letting you pick up from where you started while on the move.
While the company's long-expected move into 4K helps Virgin's TV V6 box catch up with Sky Q which launched in February, the latter is still the more attractive option as it currently offers live Ultra HD broadcasts and on-demand content such as movies and TV. However, 4K Netflix is a coup for Virgin.
The V6 box costs £99.95 for Mix Bundle customers and above and £49.95 for those with Full House or VIP bundles, with existing subscribers able to get their hands on it from December, with registration starting tomorrow (1 December). New customers can order the set from January 2017.
Virgin TV TellyTablet
While the V6 box came as little surprise after months of rumours, the same can't be said of Virgin's new Android Marshmallow-powered HD tablet. Dubbed the TellyTablet, the 14in device acts somewhat like a portable TV designed to be moved from room to room thanks to its in-built stand.
Virgin seems to be hoping that the tablet replaces the need for multiple set-top boxes in each room, with the pre-loaded TV Anywhere app used to stream content from live programming or from pre-recorded content on the V6 box.
As well as Virgin's own app suite, the device also supports Google's Play Store, giving the tablet access to a huge pre-existing pool of apps – including some from Sky.
The Virgin TV TellyTablet launches in December and is priced £299 – with special offers also available for existing Virgin Mobile subscribers – and comes with 32GB of storage (with an SD card slot), four built-in speakers and two USB ports.