Virgin Media broadband, phone, and TV review

ByKim Staples
Virgin Media logo

It’s got just about everything, from lightning-quick broadband to hundreds of TV channels - so is Virgin Media worth getting?

We've taken a good look at Virgin Media's broadband, TV, and home phone packages to see if they're any good. Here's what we think of it all.

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Cost

Virgin Media is among the more expensive providers. It comes at a similar price point to Sky in most regards, and it usually costs more than TalkTalk, Plusnet, and the likes.

For the broadband speed you get, it's actually good value - its up-to-100Mb option clocks in at a similar price to other providers' slower 76Mb packages. But it still isn't exactly budget.

It does often have special limited-time offers on though, so make sure you compare and check current costs.

Featured Virgin Media deals

Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Vivid 100 Fibre Broadband + Talk Weekends Vivid 50 Fibre Broadband + Talk Weekends Vivid 200 Fibre Broadband + Talk Weekends
£404.00 Total first year cost £344.00 Total first year cost £464.00 Total first year cost
£32.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract £27.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract £37.00 p/m for 12 months £20.00 setup costs 12 month contract
Up To 100 Mb Up To 50 Mb Up To 200 Mb
Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc.
Unlimited downloads! Unlimited downloads! Unlimited downloads!
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Open 24/7
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Open 24/7
Go
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Open 24/7

See all Virgin Media deals

Packages

Virgin Media does broadband, home phone, and TV. When you sign up, you can either get a ready-made bundle of all three, pick and choose which bits you want, or just get one or two services. Home phone isn't available on its own - you can only get that with broadband or TV.

On the other hand, broadband without a landline is available, which suits a lot of us quite well. So are 30-day contracts on everything - though these cost a decent bit more than long-term contracts.

So overall, Virgin Media is very flexible in terms of its packages, with only a few restrictions. Consider us impressed.

Broadband

Speed

Virgin Media broadband is very fast indeed. It's all fibre optic, available with download speeds up to 100Mb, up to 200Mb, or up to 300Mb - the fastest you can get from the UK's main providers. Even its slowest option is faster than BT's fastest. That's pretty amazing!

Those are 'up to' speeds, of course - not everyone's Virgin broadband will quite climb to those heights. But thanks to improvements in the network, you should almost certainly get speeds approaching what your package promises, at least according to Ofcom.

Upload speeds, meanwhile, which determine things like how well Skype performs and how fast you can send files or post things to social media, are quite a bit lower. The fastest uploads can be found on the Gamer package, which has upload speeds up to 20Mb. That's pretty fast, but it's similar to regular upload speeds from other providers, such as BT.

Virgin Media Super Hub

Download limits, fair usage, traffic management

All of Virgin Media's packages have unlimited downloads, and unlimited does mean unlimited - there's no usage cap at all.

However, the provider does do a little traffic management, which can slow down your upload speeds at peak times. This kicks in whenever you've uploaded a particularly large amount of data within an hour in the evenings. That's not ideal, especially if you like to spend your evenings on Skype or posting big files to the web, but it'll barely affect most of us.

For more info, see our guide to traffic management.

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TV

Channels

The channels you get with Virgin Media TV depend on which package you choose: 

  • Mix TV - 150 channels, including free-to-air channels plus a few premium ones such as Sky 1; catch-up and on-demand services
  • Fun TV - 190 channels, including even more entertainment channels and some kids' TV
  • Full House TV - 245 channels, including BT Sport and loads more HD stuff; Virgin TV box sets
  • VIP - Same as Full House, only with Sky Cinema and Sky Sports thrown in too

So, you get quite a lot of channels. Even the smallest package is enough to rival the most premium offerings from some providers. The only provider to beat the top package is Sky, which has over 350 channels to offer.

Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, and BT Sport can be added on to any package too.

While you get a lot of stuff, it's not that flexible - at least not compared to providers like BT TV and TalkTalk TV. You may have to subscribe to a top-end package just to get a particular channel you like.

TiVo

Virgin Media's TV is powered by TiVo, a set-top box and general telly system with a ton of features. Depending on your package or bundle, you'll get either the old 500GB TiVo box, or the newer V6 box, which has double the storage. Both have support for lots of streaming, catch-up, on-demand shows, and of course all your recordings. It's a good set-top box with a lot going on.

Virgin Media TiVo box

The older TiVo box can be a bit slow and clunky to use, especially if you're not used to it, though the V6 is much slicker. Still, it's a decent system, and one of the best out there - its main rival is Sky Q.

See Virgin Media TV deals

Home phone

Home phone from Virgin includes Talk Weekends as standard, which - you guessed it - gives you inclusive calls to UK landlines at the weekends. You can upgrade that to Talk Evenings and Weekends, Talk Unlimited (anytime calls to landlines), or Talk Unlimited Extra (anytime calls to landlines and mobiles).

That's fairly on par with other providers, though there aren't any real options to make international calls cheaper. Plus, the covered calls in each package include calls to Virgin Mobile numbers, but to include any other mobile network, you need Talk Unlimited Extra… which is pretty expensive.

See Virgin Media phone deals

Extras

Here's some of the other stuff you get with Virgin Media.

  • Virgin Mobile - Virgin's got a good range of mobile plans, including SIM-only, PAYG, and contract deals - and TV and broadband customers get free unlimited calls to other Virgin Mobile phones too. Useful, but not quite as attractive as, say, the 5GB of free mobile data that EE broadband-and-mobile users get.
  • Virgin TV Anywhere - The free app that lets you watch your Virgin Media TV on the go, including on-demand stuff and lots of live channels.
  • Public Wi-Fi - All customers can access Virgin Media Wi-Fi hotspots, including Wi-Fi on the London Underground if you're in the capital - though it doesn't have as many hotspots as BT.
  • Security - With broadband, you get free Web Safe, that blocks dodgy websites and includes parental controls; and a 12-month trial of F-Secure SAFE, which protects your devices from malware and viruses.
  • Photos - Get up to 100 free Snapfish prints. Cool.

Our verdict

Well, it's expensive, but Virgin Media has some of the best broadband and TV services on the market. You'll be hard pressed to find faster internet, and only one other provider - Sky - can rival it for telly. That makes it perfect for big web users, large households, and families, but may be a bit much for anyone who lives alone or doesn't use the internet much.

So long as it's in your budget - and you can get it in your area, of course - we reckon it's worth splashing out.

 

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