Virgin Media TiVo - Is it any good?
What is Virgin Media TiVo?
With one of these babies, you can record (up to 250 hours of standard definition on 500GB, or 500 hours on 1TB), pause, and rewind live telly, as well as explore its apps and features to discover new things to watch. It’s also HD and 3D ready, so you can watch those Hollywood blockbusters as they’re meant to be seen.
Of course, TiVo isn’t the only set top box that allows recording - YouView, Sky, Freeview, and many more let you do so too. Although a TiVo subscription may cost a bit more than YouView or Freeview, you’re getting some extra cool features. There’s series link, that lets you record a whole series of a show at the touch of a button; Wishlist, where you can note down programmes you don’t want to miss in the future; an app for your phone, tablet, or computer so you can set things to record from wherever you are; and tons more. There’s even an ‘undelete’ feature to retrieve any recordings you accidentally delete.
You also have plenty of ways to find new TV shows and films to watch. A key feature of TiVo is ‘suggestions’ - where the smart tech in your box will guess what else you might enjoy, based on what you’ve already watched and recorded. To help it out, there are handy ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ buttons on your remote control to tell TiVo what you do and don’t like.
When you’re not sure what to watch, you can check out the Discover bar at the top of the home screen, browse Virgin Media's Collections and Pick of the Week, or search the TV guide by title, actor, director, genre, and more. This’ll search your on demand libraries as well as live channels, so if there’s any way at all to watch something with Hugh Jackman in it - believe us, TiVo will find it.
Spring for a more modern V6 box, and you'll get even more features. For a start, there's a comprehensive search function, that searches not just the TV guide but also your recordings, catch-up services, and Netflix to find the show you're looking for. It's also got more tuners so you can record up to six shows at once, it works faster, and it's 4K-ready.
When you sign up to a package, you can choose which box you get, and add more if you want to watch telly in multiple rooms. It'll cost an extra monthly fee to do this, but if you've got a big household of TV fans then it's worth it. For some channels and apps, you'll even be able to pause what you're watching in one room and pick it up again in another.
What channels can I get?
The channels you get with your TiVo depend on what TV package you’ve subscribed to - and it can vary from 70 to a massive 240 channels. Take a look at our guide to Virgin Media TV channels to see what you can get.
Besides channels, TiVo also has a wealth of on-demand content - though bear in mind that not everything is available with every TV package. There’s seven-day catch up from services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and 4OD, as well as loads of on-demand box sets of shows. You’ll also get Virgin Movies, and thousands of music videos and concerts on demand.
And if that’s not enough, there’s a bunch of apps too. If you have a Netflix subscription, you can log in and watch Breaking Bad, Daredevil, and Orange is the New Black right there on your TV. There’s also Hayu, YouTube, iPlayer, Spotify to listen to music, and the Red Button for additional content on channels like the BBC.
What’s good about Virgin Media TiVo?
- Record hundreds of hours of TV, and build up personal box sets of shows with series link
- Can pause and rewind live TV
- Lots of ways to discover new programmes via suggestions, search, and apps like Netflix and iPlayer
- Wide range of catch up TV and on demand box sets
- More features and content than other set top boxes
- Virgin TV Anywhere app lets you access on demand TV anywhere from any device
- Has its own 10Mb broadband connection through Virgin Media cables, separate from your home broadband - so it won’t slow you down or use up your download limit
- Several TV packages to choose from, and one of the most comprehensive TV services in the UK
- Can set recordings and manage your TV library remotely using a web browser or the smartphone app
- Record up to three shows at once
- HD ready
What’s bad about Virgin Media TiVo?
- Not available everywhere - use our postcode checker to see if you can get Virgin Media TV in your area
- Expensive compared to other subscription TV services
- TiVo interface is a bit clunky, can be slow, and sometimes has bugs
- Not all box sets and features are available with every TV package
- Costly installation fees can apply, especially if you go for a V6 box
- TV packages aren’t very flexible, so you may need to shell out a lot more to get the channels you want