Is Virgin Media TV any good?
Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com) is one of the most comprehensive TV providers out there. It has loads of channels, a dizzying amount of on-demand box sets, catch-up TV… and, well, let’s just say that someone would have to physically peel you off the sofa before you ran out of stuff to watch.
Of course, with all that choice, it can be hard to figure out where to begin when choosing a package, especially when you also factor in Virgin Media’s impressively fast broadband.
Read on, and we’ll talk about what you can get from Virgin Media, what we like and don’t like about it, and how to find the best deal.
What can I get from Virgin Media TV?
Regardless of which bundle you pick, the TV component will always be one of five 'sizes':
- Player TV - Gives you 70+ channels, including all the essential free-to-air ones and a bunch in HD. Plus you get catch-up TV, and the option to add Sky Sport, BT Sport and Sky Cinema as extras at additional cost.
- Mix TV - Gives you everything in Player TV, but adds another whopping 80 channels, including the Sky suite.
- Fun TV - More than 190 channels, including Sky channels like Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Arts and Sky News, plus extra channels like Discovery and more kids' channels.
- Full House TV - You get the lot with this one. 245+ channels, including, well, pretty much every UK channel you can think of and 45 of them in HD. There's even more entertainment, on demand TV, documentaries, and kids’ shows.
- VIP - Everything in Full House TV, plus Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.
Most Virgin Media bundles come with a 500GB TiVo set top box. This lets you pause and rewind live TV, record up to 250 hours of standard-definition shows, and access a host of on-demand content. That includes catch-up TV, box sets of hit shows, and apps like Netflix.
But maybe you need a little bit more space to save recorded shows - perhaps to record a whole series so you can watch it all together, or build up your own film library. In that case, you can upgrade to a 1TB TiVo box, which offers enough space for 500 hours of standard TV. That’s more than enough to capture a few series to binge on!
All Virgin Media TV customers also get the Virgin TV Anywhere service as standard. Available on computers, smartphones and tablets, this lets you watch live TV, catch-up and on-demand shows whenever you want - even if you’re outside the house. Plus it lets you remotely set recordings and see what’s saved on your TiVo box.
That said, it doesn’t quite live up to the name - you need a Wi-Fi connection to use it, and you can’t rely on 3G or 4G - but it’s still a very useful extra to have. What’s more, if you subscribe to Sky Cinema or Sky Sports, you can watch them through their respective apps too.
What channels do I get with Virgin Media TV?
If you want a TV service with a lot of things to watch, you won’t have much to complain about with Virgin Media. It’s one of the most comprehensive telly services out there, encompassing sports, movies, entertainment, kids’ shows, movies, documentaries and more on demand content than you can shake a stick at. And we’re talking about a ruddy big stick.
Of course, the channels you get depends on the TV package or bundle you have. Some will be included already, while others can be added on - for an extra cost, naturally. You can see an up-to-date list of channels on Virgin Media’s website, but here’s how to get some of the most popular options:
If you’re an armchair sportsman, don’t worry - you can get all six Sky Sports channels with Virgin Media. It’s available as an add-on to all packages that you can subscribe to at any time, but it’s also included in the VIP bundle.
If you’d like to find out more about Sky Sports and how to get it, check out our guide.
BT Sport is available on Virgin Media TV. You can add it as an extra when you sign up to any TV package or bundle.
Virgin Media has a few movie channels, plus a pay-to-view box office service, but if you’re a devotee of the silver screen, you really need Sky Cinema. It has many of the latest blockbusters, indie hits, and foreign films well before any other TV service.
Three Sky Cinema bundles are available on Virgin Media: Sky Cinema 1 (Comedy, Select, Family, Drama and Romance, Greats), Sky Cinema 2 (Comedy, Select, Sci Fi and Horror, Action and Adventure, Crime and Thriller), and the Sky Cinema Collection (all channels together for a reduced price).
You can add Cinema to any TV package at any time, or get it included as standard with VIP. To read more about Cinema and how to get it, switch over to our guide.
The Mix, Fun, Full House, and VIP TV packages all include Sky entertainment channels, including Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Living and Sky Arts. Unfortunately, Sky Atlantic, which shows hot US imports like Game of Thrones and is arguably the jewel in the broadcaster’s crown, isn’t available on Virgin Media.
Virgin Media has a huge amount of on demand content available. We’re talking about hours, and hours-worth of TV box sets, music videos, catch-up TV and more. Plus you can use apps like Netflix, iPlayer, and YouTube on your TiVo box. For more, read our full guide to on demand TV.
And check out our complete guide to Virgin Media TV channels.
What’s good about Virgin Media TV?
- Decent selection of channels, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky channels
- Can pause, rewind and record live TV with TiVo set top box
- Great for sports fans - all Sky Sports and BT Sport channels available
- With Sky Cinema and box office films available, it’s heaven for film junkies
- Catch-up TV, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, available with all packages
- Thousands of hours of on demand TV box sets and music videos that you can watch any time
- Netflix, YouTube and loads more apps available on TiVo box
- Virgin TV Anywhere free with all TV packages - watch live TV and on demand shows on phone and PC
- Can set recordings and manage your TiVo storage remotely via web browser or smartphone
- Available with Virgin Media fibre optic broadband - the fastest speeds available in the UK
- On demand content doesn’t use your broadband connection so won’t slow down your speeds
- Special offers regularly available - compare packages to see what’s around right now
What’s bad about Virgin Media TV?
- One of the most expensive subscription TV services in the UK
- Limited availability - you’ll need to check your postcode
- TiVo box interface is a little clunky
- Cheapest option doesn’t contain any Sky entertainment channels, making it not massively superior to standard Freeview
- No Sky Atlantic available, so no Game of Thrones or other hot US shows exclusive to the channel
- The on-demand box sets that you can watch are dependent on your package - some listed may be unavailable