Virgin Media launches TiVo platform

UK quad-play operator Virgin Media has unveiled details of its Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo next-generation entertainment platform. The new service is aimed at revolutionising the way people find and enjoy their favourite content. An easy-to-use graphical interface will combine the live TV schedule with catch-up TV, a huge library of on-demand programming and popular web-based applications alongside a market-leading personal video recorder.

Using Virgin Media’s digital network, customers will be able to watch what they want at the click of a button, rather than waiting for time-consuming downloads. Utilising dedicated channels of bandwidth, Virgin Media claims the user’s viewing choice will not come at the expense of their broadband connection, so households can watch and surf simultaneously without interruption.

Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, claimed the operator was the only company which could provide the ultimate digital lifestyle, describing the platform as the first of successive generations of transformational services based on the TiVo-powered platform.

The platform features a highly intelligent recommendations engine which will learn to predict the type of shows that a particular customer loves and will recommend content on offer. The search technology will find films, music, TV shows and online content as well as providing rich programme information and details about the actors and directors, allowing viewers to discover even more content connected to the cast and production. The user will be able to create a WishList search based on a particular show, theme, actor or director and all future content relevant to that will be automatically recorded.

Through its dedicated 10Mb cable broadband modem, which is built into the personal video recorder, the new platform will also bring the popularity of the app store to the living room for the first time, doing for TV what the iPhone and Android have done for the mobile phone.

The service will be supported by a brand new set-top box offering 1 terabyte of storage – up to 500 hours of standard definition programming – as well as access to 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music on demand. In due course, there will also be the facility to set recordings remotely via online and mobile devices. The box will have three tuners, allowing viewers to record two channels whilst watching a third, eliminating potential recording conflicts. The future-proofed service will automatically be updated with new features and functionality as they become available.

The service will begin to roll-out from mid-December. Virgin Media has confirmed that its branded TiVo service will retail at £199 for the box plus £26.50 per month. Sky TV packages will range from £19.50 to £52 per month.

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