Cable giant Virgin Media has launched its new broadband internet based “next-generation entertainment platform” and Set Top Box (STB), which uses Video-on-Demand (VoD) technology from TiVo.
The service will roll-out from mid-December 2010 and cost from £26.50 per month. The STB itself will cost £199 and standard installation costs apply (£40).
Virgin Media said the product will not eat into the Traffic Management restrictions of existing customer broadband accounts. Instead, the box uses of its own dedicated 10Mbps broadband Cable Modem connection.
The new service sees Virgin Media beating the much-vaunted YouView (Project Canvas) service to market, which is due to appear from ISPs BT and TalkTalk in 2011.
However YouView will initially be forced to work over BT’s often slower DSL ( ADSL , ADSL2+ ) broadband platform, which limits the potential of IPTV services.
The Tivo box features 1 TeraByte of storage for personal recordings, along with access to over 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music videos.
Viewers can also conduct a ‘WishList’ search based on a particular show, theme, actor or director. All future content relevant to that will be automatically recorded.
An app store, built on an Adobe Flash-based platform will run the latest videos, social networking and information apps will be updated regularly (iPlayer, Twitter, Facebook etc.).
Meanwhile, three tuners allow viewers to record two channels whilst watching a third.
The new platform also features a recommendations engine that learns to predict the type of shows the viewer will like, and recommend related media.
Virgin Media’s Executive Director of Digital Entertainment, Cindy Rose, said: “This is a landmark moment in the UK’s digital revolution and vividly illustrates why Virgin Media is the only company who can provide the ultimate digital lifestyle. For the first time, viewers will have a truly personalised viewing experience so they can get the most out of the wonderful worlds of the internet and TV all in one place.
We’re really excited to bring our customers what is just the first of successive generations of transformational services based on this unique TiVo-powered platform.”
Virgin Media TiVo Service Details can be found here: