Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Virgin TiVo Files, Part 1: Backward EPG

This is the first in a list of blog posts which will focus on a feature of Virgin's TiVo. Like thousands of other (drooling) Virgin Media customers, I don't have a TiVo at hand (yet), so these posts are based on what's known about the product, its feature-set, previews features from online sources and the knowledge of experienced TiVo users. As always, your comments are welcome.

Right, first up? The backward EPG. Virgin Media may currently be the only platform featuring catch-up TV services from all 4 UK terrestrial broadcasters, but that content isn't that easy to find using the current Virgin EPG.

Sure, if you want to get to BBC iPlayer then you can just press the red button on any BBC channel, but while red button functionality exists for the likes of ITV (now and then), its used more to promote X-Factor content and phone-ins then aiding the location of last week's Coronation Street.

Usually, you can drill through the Catch-Up VOD menus to find the content you previously missed, but that's not as easy as just scrolling backwards in time on the EPG provided by Virgin's TiVo box:

Its a solution so simple, you wonder why its not been done before, and yes, I'm well aware of YouView's backward EPG but that won't be in anyone's home any-time soon, will it?

Missed last week's Waterloo Road? No problem, just scroll backwards through the Virgin-TiVo EPG to last week and watch it - at which point Virgin's VOD service will automatically select the content and play it for you. To avoid confusion all catch up content in the EPG is identified by a little c within a round arrow.

Catch-Up content on Virgin Media is currently available from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. However, as part of the deal which saw Virgin sell its TV channels to Sky, some Sky VOD content will be available at some point to Virgin customers. Hopefully, that will mean being able to scroll backwards through the EPG for say, Sky 1, and, if you really want to, being able to locate last week's episode of The Simpsons.

Of course, there's are far easier ways of locating content via TiVo, and I'll be taking a closer look at that in a future, thrilling instalment of The Virgin TiVo Files.

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