TechnoReview: Virgin Media Tivo


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TiVo is Virgin Media’s flagship set-top TV box , but is it as good as Sky Plus HD? Let’s break down the facts and find out!

Before I start, I’d just like to say that I’m reviewing the 1TB TiVo on the XL TV package.

The Specs

  • 1TB/500GB hardrive
  • 500 hours of SD TV
  • 100 hours of  HD
  • 3 tuners
  • record 3 programs at once
  • HDMI port
  • Scart port

The Design

Devices like the TiVo need to look good, they’re the thing that people look at when changing channels, ect…

I like the design of the TiVo. It looks a-lot better that the V+ Box. Also, it’s the perfect size for the tray thing that I use. And, the chances are, that it’ll fit in your setup. The little light bar at the front looks great and makes the box look rather menacing (in my opinion).

The Remote

The TiVo remote.

The TiVo remote is the part of the set that you’ll use everyday, so it has to be good.

The remote feels nice to hold, and it’s easy to find when I’ve lost it down the sofa.

The EPG and Interface

TiVo’s EPG

Now to the main part, the interface.

On the TiVo’s user-interface, I can find everything I need. The interface is fast and slick. Also, everything is where it should be, I haven’t had to go looking for a feature that I need. I can easily find out about the program that I was watching. I can access the info page via the info button on the remote. That particular feature is quite cool!

The EPG is also good. It’s almost the same as Sky’s EPG, which is no bad feature, but it has a hub for every program. The hub lets me do actions like: see the episodes that are coming up, series or single record that program and see the people in the program.

The interface can freeze, but that doesn’t happen that much. But it still happens. The interface can also be very slow. That may be a problem with my box or it’s a big problem. I don’t really know.

The EPG, in my opinion, looks scruffy and untidy. Also, the hubs’ often do things that you can do slightly more easyily by pressing a button on the TiVo remote.

Recording and Playback

TiVo Interface

Recording

I think that recording is the TiVo’s best strength. For starters, it has a monster 1TB  hard drive and the base TiVo still has a 500GB hard drive. The TiVo also cleans out the programs that you don’t want and leaves the ones you do. Therefore, you have more space. All the time I’ve had the TiVo-I’ve never ran out of space!

Plus, the Tivo thumbs up and down button let you show your approval or disapproval. But this isn’t a gimmic. If you do it enough, the TiVo will suggest and record programs that you might like. Then, it stores it in a folder called “Suggestions”. Most of the time, the suggestions are pretty accurate. I know that I’ve found a-lot of shows that I didn’t know existed!

If you delete something, don’t worry. Deleted programs will be stored in a folder for 30 days before they’re permanently deleted automatically. That has been a life saver for me. Plus, it’s very easy to access. It’s a folder at the bottom.

The TiVo has three tuners, which is one more than the Sky Plus HD Box, and all three can be used for recording. Three tuners are the perfect amount, not too many, not too little. With the Sky Plus HD I have found that recordings clash a-lot. I haven’t had any problems like that with the TiVo.

Playback

Playback is good too. The “On Demand” service is never down, ever. Plus, the TiVo has its own internet connection so it won’t slow down your internet-or cost your more. Ring any bells? Anyway, Virgin has a massive on-demand library, although they don’t have many documentaries so keep that in mind.

Special Features

This is the section for features like apps and features like that. They will be put in subsections.

Apps

The TiVo has an expanding app library, but now there’s only about 31 apps. Nevertheless, the TiVo’s apps are great.

The TiVo has apps like “Deal Or No Deal” and “Who Wants To Be An Millionaire?”, and they work great! The BBC iPlayer app and the other catch-up apps work great as well. The TiVo’s internet connection is more than enough for the job for the normal person. I’m a hypernerd and it kept up to my data usage.

On the down side, the iPlayer app can freeze, but it doesn’t happen often. That’s it really.

Parental Controls

Parents let their kids go play with something while you read this, otherwise they might pass the controls and watch that in-appropriate channel. I don’t know really, I’m a nerd. Anyway, the TiVo will let you control everything about the TV. From the apps they can play to the channels they can watch.

Search

You can search anything. Actors, program names, channels etc…

General Things

This is the section about things like reliability and stuff like that.

Reliability

The TiVo is quite reliable. It’s only broke on me once and Virgin were very helpful and sorted it out for FREE. That’s right,Virgin don’t charge your for fixing the box. Unlike Sky.

One annoying thing is that you must completely reboot your TiVo every 70 days-most of the time people put it on standby.

Setup

We got an official Virgin engineer to install our TiVo box because I am terrible with TV’s!

The engineers were very helpful and set it up in about 30 minutes; the setup looked quite easy. Most of the time the TiVo setup itself(no insult to the engineers).

Support

Like I said above, Virgin’s support is good. The person behind the phone was very helpful, and sorted-out our problem.

Rating and Reviews

The TiVo is a great bit of kit, it’s a VERY big rival to Sky Plus HD-and, in my opinion, is better. The TiVo is just simply amazing-you can’t go wrong with it!

TechnoBullet Rating-9/10-Excellent

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