Written on: 06/03/2007 by Clair
You will never miss anything again.
No Volume Control.
I have now had the Virgin Media V+ service a week now and after being a NTL (previously Cable Tel) customer for over 10 years I can safely say this service has been a long time coming. The V+ box is £15 per month for users new to the service or if you are an existing customer already paying £10 a month for your TV it is only an additional £5 a month hence the 10 out of 10 value for money. There are different pay options depending on your the size of your TV package I believe if you already have the full service this is cheaper again.
The box itself has to be installed - this does not take long but as every channel individually has to be re-tuned into the box it can take up to half an hour. Currently if you are subscribing to V+ the wait time for installation is approximately two weeks but I am sure this will go down as more people get it. When it comes to the installation they give you to options either pay a one of fee of £75 for the box or pay an additional £5 per month and keep your old box for another room. I am sure this only applies to existing customers but if you do choose this option it could take a further hour for installation depending where you want the second box and how easy it is to get it there. If you do chose this option then you can watch both boxes on different channels unlike the old Sky system where you had two boxes but you both had to watch the same channel.
Now the actual product itself has 80GB of memory thats 80 hours worth of record time to you and me, and you have the option of recording two channels at once whilst watching a third which would come in handy for Monday nights when you had Nip/Tuck and Prison Break and ANTM all that the same but lack of Nip/Tuck on Sky One is a different story all together. Also don't make the same stupid mistake that I did and set to record a programme that is on in the early hours of the morning and then when you go to bed turn everything of at the socket surprisingly this does not work. Of the mark a bit but I heard to day that by not turning of you TV at night will cost you a further £30 per year in electric.
At the moment you can set to record programs three ways either just hit the record button of what you are watching, Go into the V+ button on your remote where you select individual programs up to 8 days in advance. Great for going on a weeks holiday or you can record on series link i.e When I selected Neighbours (my fav show ever) it gives you an option to record that episode or all and as I don't finish work till 5.30 it was a case of selecting all.
Other features include pause, rewind, fast forward live TV which comes in great when the telephone rings, you can just rewind or pause and watch again. Downsides to this is it happens automatically and in order to do other functions like turn the TV over you have to come out of digital TV which is only a few more buttons but it should be addressed in the near future. I have also found that you lose track of time doing this as you are used to things finishing at a certain time so if you have paused Corrie for 10 mins it will now finish 10 mis later which could mean you miss the first 10 mins of Eastenders. Although these are just teething problems for me and you may not be as thick as I am.
Problems that I have come across in my short time that may put some people of is lack of Sky One which we are all aware of now, and for some reason the On Demand (there is no button for this on the new control) and Virgin Central channels no longer work (the red button will not bring me in to the screen it just tells me it is loading and then stops), although I do believe this could be a tech fault with either my box of Virgin Media and would be interested to know if any one else has the same problem.
Another problem is, is that it's back to two remotes as the volume does not work on the new control so you have to use your TV control for this (or get up and walk).
I did worry about getting this service after waiting on it for years but that was only due to the whole Sky One thing. However Virgin Media have bought the On Demand rights to Lost and it will be available from September, I believe, and they are going to be showing Nip/Tuck from where it left of on Sky in about two weeks time, my source was the call centre staff so do take that with a pinch of salt.