The UK Virgin TiVo (Finally) Detailed

After what feels like months of teasing, Virgin Media has finally spilled the beans on the first TiVo experience to hit the UK in years. And it truly is a TiVo experience… versus TiVo hardware.  As this 1TB, three tuner DVR is manufactured by Cisco and sports a built-in modem. Surprisingly, they found the time and resources to incorporate TiVo’s new HDUI (in a new hue). And it looks sharp. Including the first glimpse of what the new TiVo program guide and channel banner might look like (see video above), should/when they complete the Premiere‘s interface. Additionally, it seems as if Virgin’s box will launch with a well-rounded selection of apps including BBC iPlayer, YouTube, eBay, Twitter, and weather.

Pocket Lint went hands on with Virgin Media:

It is, quite simply, stunning. Both super quick and intuitive, there’s a raft of cunning technologies whizzing about behind the scenes that make for the most pleasant TV experience on the market today.

While Virgin had intended to begin rolling out the “powered by TiVo” unit this year, their new landing page indicates launch is now set for “early 2011” – at £199, with a premium £3 monthly TiVo surcharge.

Click to enlarge:

21 thoughts on “The UK Virgin TiVo (Finally) Detailed”

  1. Between this, the Suddenlink project, and the push for 4 tuner support on tuning adapters, I wonder if 2011 will be the year TiVo finally releases something with more than 2 tuners.

  2. Nice to see HDUI in the channel banner and grid guide. Looks good, but what will real life performance be like? If UI elements don’t gracefully transition on and off the screen as hasty as an IOS device, then it could still be a slow bear to use. However on a new platform by Cisco, there is hope that this isn’t the run of the mill sluggish set top box. I’d like to see more service providers offer an integrated TiVo like experience as an option. Also if DirecTV’s TiVo implementation isnt more like Virgin Media’s, then that is a big failure. Who is tired of last decade’s interface on our new widescreen HDTV’s? I know I am. Hopefully they allow you to customize the UI a bit, perhaps different color hue’s just in case you don’t like the very red theme.

  3. “Wow, I agree after watching that why doesnt TiVo hire who ever made that video to do its US advertising.”

    See, that’s the thing. It’s not TiVo’s ad. It’s Virgin Media’s ad.

    Again, it’s time to move to the UK.


    “what will real life performance be like?”

    Perhaps Virgin Media is shipping better hardware than TiVo does. We shall see…

  4. @Chucky,

    Yeah, they don’t exactly show you using it in real time or anything at any point, so who knows. Still, we can hope.

  5. What’s this tele thing that the guy with the funny accent is talking about?

    Seriously, I’m so glad that I didn’t get the Premier and ended my 10 year relationship with Tivo and went with the ceton card. If I got the Premier and saw this i’d feel a little left out. I know that this is Virgin media hardware, but that almost makes it worse. A cable co is making Tivo’s newest offering look like a dated has-been. Is it me or should the Premier be the “premier” DVR out there? Well, it’s not. I think it’s time for Tivo to give up on hardware and just go the software rout.

  6. Interesting bit of info from paidContent:UK…

    So in step will Virgin be with TiVo, Rose confidently says Virgin will be taking TiVo’s exciting iPad app, multiple user profiles and possibly its QWERTY keyboard remote accessory in 2011.

    I remember seeing that in one of the original leaks of the UI. Haven’t heard a peep about it since.

  7. “I know that this is Virgin media hardware, but that almost makes it worse. A cable co is making Tivo’s newest offering look like a dated has-been … I think it’s time for Tivo to give up on hardware and just go the software rout.”

    Well, that why it’s time to move to the UK.

    The large monopoly US cableco’s, many of which have ownership in content companies, are not going to ship boxes “powered by TiVo” for a variety of reasons that make excellent sense for their shareholders.

    Europe has the kind of sensible telco regulation that creates a level marketplace that would make a software only route viable for TiVo. The US does not.

    “Is it me or should the Premier be the “premier” DVR out there?”

    If you look up premiere in the dictionary, it refers to to a first, not a best. The Premiere is the debut of TiVo’s HDUI, and thus is quite aptly named.

    It’s also why I’ve personally been avoiding upgrading to the Premiere so far. It’s generally good to avoid Rev A consumer electronics…

  8. “Rose confidently says Virgin will be taking TiVo’s … multiple user profiles”

    That would actually be useful.

  9. While I have no use for multiple profiles, I can see great potential with it for those that do. Of course I tend to dream big when it comes to TiVo. I am hoping some of what I am thinking is shown through functionality of the iPad App.

  10. For the 18 people on the planet who have all three of the following: 1) a TiVo 2) FIOS service with no CCI byte restrictions 3) an OS X box hooked up to their TV, I will yet again pimp the current betas of Plex.

    They’ve taken the old XBMC engine everyone uses, stuck a nice native Cocoa Media Manager on top for easy administration, magnificently executed automagical metadata lookup from IMDB and theTVDB, and made it transcode serve iOS devices to boot.

    You can easily home build a nice 4TB drive box for $200, transfer new recordings from your TiVo to your Mac via ethernet, play it on your lean-back via Plex, and stream it to your iOS devices via Plex. And it all basically works as of now.

    It’s pretty cool. Just sayin…

  11. Sezmi has had multiple user profiles since it rolled out more then a year ago. There are 4 dedicated profile buttons on the remote but you can add as many profiles as you want. Those without a button just have to scroll to their profile after they turn it on.

    We have 3 profiles in my house hold:
    This is very useful because everyone gets their favorite shows shows grouped on their profile. You can also change the background which also changes the color scheme to match.

    It’s too bad Sezmi hasn’t rolled out their Sezmi Supreme package everywhere (although the locals only package is available in 36 cities.)

  12. Chucky- Amazingly, after reading dozens of articles and hundreds of posts about the Premiere, I never caught the extra “e”, which changes the definition completely. Ha, I must really have adult ADD! However, I think that my point is still valid, Tivo’s top of the line DVR should be the “premier” DVR on the market. Worldwide.

    Also, I think that you are probably right about Tivo not making it with US cableco’s b/c of the way we regulate here. But to completely agree with you, I’d need to see the numbers from companies like RCN and their increase/decrease in market share vs non-Tivo partnered companies. If Comcast, for instance, were to start to loose large amounts of subscribers to RCN because of the Tivo partnership, then we may she a shift. When it comes down to it, if Comcast were to start to bleed subscribers, then it be their fiduciary duty to their share holders to solve the problem. Along that line, Tivo can tailor their software to the needs of the company requesting it. However, I don’t think that we will ever see a day where that is required.

    Ironically, the only thing that may drive cableco’s to Tivo software is a really successful 3rd party box which, if it were produced by cable, would negate the need for them to license their software to the cableco’s. Catch-22.

  13. That UI looks really nice. I certainly hope my next TiVo can sport that UI, and some content to use it.

    I find it interesting that the term “Series Link” shows up in the screen shots. That is the term that the DirecTV HR-2x DVRs use in place of “Season Pass.”

  14. Hi, UK person here, to clear up any misconceptions.

    Strange to see you all want to move to the UK to get our TiVo, when for the past 7 years or so we’ve wanted to move to the US to actually get any new TiVo at all! Our current boxes (Sky+ for satellite, V+ for cable) are sluggish, slow, have out-of-date UIs and are very much DVRs, not PVRs.

    We couldn’t believe it when TiVo announced they would come back to the UK.

    Anyway, some points:

    Season Pass is called Series Link probably because a) we don’t have seasons, we have series of shows, and b) that is the term that is currently used.

    Telly, or “tele” as you put it, is a shortening of ‘television’ used here in the UK, e.g. “Put the telly on”, “There’s nothing on the telly” etc.

    The advertising is very good for Virgin Media standards, but it is not known whether this advert was put together by the TiVo team or an in-house Virgin Media team, or even a third party. But it is very much a detailed explanation of the service because nobody probably knows what it is, whereas in the US it’s been part of popular culture for over a decade.

    Anyway, can’t wait for this new TiVo service. Looks very good to me.

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