Virgin Media to Launch Virgin TV Anywhere! Tablet Users Rejoice!
There are three very important factors when it comes to a geek like me; TV, Movies and Snacks!
The world of entertainment got me into the blogging business. There are so many inspirational films and shows out there that are waiting to be watched after a hard day at work or on a weekend of down time that companies like Virgin Media are always offering new ways for the busiest of customers to digest their favourite films and shows, as well as channels.
The world of entertainment is vast, expansive and thanks to technology and high speed internet (come on BT get your act together!) your weekly instalments of TV and film can now come to work or on the tube with you!
Yep, technology makes it difficult for us to escape our jobs and the daily grind but it’s about to bring even more entertainment into our lives as Virgin Media set out to make their TiVo service a whole lot more accessible to customers with tablet devices and smart phones.
Virgin TV Anywhere is set to launch this coming Autumn and I’ve had a hands on look at what the service has to offer as it approaches its final stages before release.
Virgin Media as a service never really caught my eye but when TiVo became associated with the Digital Service a lot of enthusiasts started to take note of Virgin Media and truly began to realise that with the help of the TiVo box it could be a competitor to the big Deathstar of subscription TV services in the UK. From what I saw, the rebel alliance has come together to create a device that really is for the user and not for self promotion.
TiVo is basically the set top box that allows Virgin Media customers to receive their TV channels, record and give access to the Virgin Media on demand services and of course film catalogue. There’s nothing new here when it comes to PVRs apart from the speed and the quality that customers are given in terms of response and programme information.
With the TiVo stuck at home, Virgin Media wanted to improve their customers experience and to do that they’re kicking off the Autumn with an iPad and iPhone app that links in to your VirginTV account allowing you to manage your TiVo experience by lining up recordings, hitting the series links that you might have missed the night before and enabling your box to do things from afar but this isn’t a one way system. Your request won’t go from your iPad to the box and leave you wondering if your request has gone through. Your TiVo box will respond and say something along the lines of “Hey, you just linked this series for such and such a time, I know about it... rest assured it will be recorded”.
That’s not all though, the app allows you to select how many episodes you would like to store at any one time, if you’d like to record additional time before and after just in case and a few other features to boot. Virgin Media want you the user to dictate how you record and watch your TV.
The TiVo box and app will also make suggestions for user’s dependant on what they select to record and of course how they rate programmes in the EPG. It benefits users to interact with their set top box and the app as it could lead to some surprising suggestions from the Virgin Media catalogue.
The best thing about the switch from the TiVo menu to the app is the fact that the menu’s are practically the same, if I were to be picky I’d say that the app menu looked a whole lot better than the actual TiVo menu which didn’t appear to hold as much information or perhaps there was more dead space due to the screen size.
The best is still yet to come as the new app will introduce TV ANYWHERE which will allow anyone with a Virgin Media TV package to stream certain channels for no extra cost as long as they are connected to a wireless network. There are approximately 30 channels signed up to the service at launch with more to be added as time goes on.
Imagine your lunch times improved as you prop up your iPad and catch up on Jeremy Kyle or Judge Judy (Hooray for Judy) or catch up on your favourite shows via the on demand service. I’m kind of hoping at some point they’ll add a feature to transfer older recordings from your TiVo to your app so that you can work your way through your favourite shows if they no longer appear on the On Demand service but then again, features are being added to the app all the time to improve the service and ease of use.
TV Anywhere and the new Virgin Media TV App look fantastic and because it shares the similarities with the TiVo menu you can hop straight into using it with very little confusion. It’s smart, it’s intuitive, and it’s for you.
For more information on Virgin Media packages and this exciting new project , pop over to http://www.virginmedia.com/.
I’ll be keeping my eye on what’s to come especially as an Android App for Android Phones and tablets is on the way. Windows Phone Apps will follow but they don’t appear to be a priority. As a Windows Phone fan, I shall be keeping the heat on Virgin to start working on that Windows Phone app especially as Windows Phone 8 arrives on the market towards the end of the year! (Please sweet Jesus send me a Nokia Lumia 920!)