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November 17, 2016

Virgin Media TiVo 2: Release date, rumours and everything you need to know about the 4K V6 box

by John_A

It’s no secret that Virgin Media plans to release a new set-top-box: the Virgin TV V6 box powered by TiVo. There have been rumours and speculation ever since the company itself mentioned a new 4K device in an earnings report in May. Its even posted images and video of it on its official Twitter feed.

And considering it is hosting a special press event very soon, you can bet we’ll find out all about it then.

So, in the meantime, here’s everything we know about the new box so far.

Virgin Media V6 TiVo 2 box: Release date

Virgin Media is holding an event in London on the morning of Wednesday 30 November where it will undoubtedly unveil its new device. There’s no direct mention of the box on the official invite sent to Pocket-lint, but the ticket number down the side is V630112016, which refers to the model number and the date – V6 30/11/2016. And the company logo is for Virgin TV, not just Virgin Media in general.

Virgin Media

As for when Vigin Media customers can get their hands on one, the company’s original year-end financial results said that it would be launched “later this year”, suggesting a 2016 release.

Virgin TV V6 TiVo 2 box: 4K Ultra HD

Also in May, a spokeswoman for Virgin Media confirmed to Pocket-lint that its next set-top-box would be TiVo-based and “4K ready”. The latter is vitally important considering Sky Q is now capable of playing 4K Ultra HD video, as is BT’s premium YouView box.

We’re not yet sure what 4K content the new V6 box will be able to play, however. Unlike Sky and BT, it does not generate its own content so will have to rely on deals with either its rivals for 4K sports coverage or other channels and platforms.

Considering the existing TiVo box has access to Netflix could mean that the new one will be able to playback 4K films and shows through the paid TV service. It would certainly make sense. Customers would need to subscribe to the top end Netflix package in that case to get UHD content, at £8.99 a month.

Virgin Media V6 TiVo 2 box: Design

Virgin Media first unveiled the new box design on its corporate Twitter feed at @VirginMediaCorp. It lead many to believe that the box was bigger than the existing TiVo STB, but, in fact, the opposite is true.

Sneak Preview: Say hello to our new Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo. More to come soon. #VirginV6 pic.twitter.com/SBvpkRjvEz

— VirginMediaCorporate (@VirginMediaCorp) August 11, 2016

When seen alongside the existing VM TiVo remote, the box looks a little chunkier but when seen in a morphing video Virgin Media also released, it is clear that the device is considerably smaller.

Be one of the first to get updates on our new Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo. Register at https://t.co/Anes1OOQRO pic.twitter.com/ygwYr7sCPd

— VirginMediaCorporate (@VirginMediaCorp) August 16, 2016

Virgin Media V6 TiVo 2 box: Specifications

Bar its 4K video output we’re yet to hear about the V6 box’s featureset or specifications. We can only speculate as to what it might hold in its bowels.

The flagship Sky Q box has a 2TB hard drive, so we’d think Virgin Media would want to match its main rival with its own flagship machine. We also think it will have several TV tuners to record multiple channels – the current TiVo box has three.

Where the Virgin TV device could better Sky’s equivalent is with the HDMI output. Sky has a HDMI 1.4b output with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, which allows for 2160p video but not high dynamic range picture tech (HDR). With the benefit of hindsight, it would be good to see Virgin Media adopt HDMI 2.0 for HDR output. That would make great sense if a deal with Netflix is on the cards.

Virgin Media V6 TiVo 2 box: Price

Pricing for paid TV packages is always complicated and we’re sure that the Virgin Media V6 box will come in at a premium price point. We’re not sure whether you’ll have to pay extra for the box, but Virgin Media’s top end TV packages (with broadband and landline phone) cost anywhere up to £120 a month.

Virgin Media V6 TiVo 2 box: Conclusion

This is an essential launch for Virgin Media. It needs to be able to compete with Sky on an even footing. It also has the advantage of being able to offer up to 200Mbps broadband alongside its new box.

It’s biggest pull though will come down to what 4K content it can offer, otherwise it might find it hard to convince existing customers to upgrade. At least initially. We’ll find out for sure on 30 November.

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