Monday, 11 April 2011

Virgin Media prepare to give birth to Baby TiVo; 500Gb Hard Drive; £49.95; Available on all TV packs

TiVo. Yours for £50 plus change. Well, 1p change.
TechRadar had a nice chat with Virgin Media, who have confirmed the existence of the cheaper TiVo model.
Whilst the 1TB box is available exclusively to XL TV customers, the great news is that the 500GB box will be available to Virgin Media TV customers for just £49.95 and can be used with our L or M+ TV packs too, making it even easier for more telly fans to join the TV revolution that is Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo.
The Baby TiVo is due to be available in mid-May. Apart from the smaller hard drive capacity, the rest of the spec remains the same as the 1TB version - 3 tuners; Wishlists; Recommendations; Search & Browse; Dedicated broadband connection etc etc.

The £3 per month charge remains in place on the XL pack. For customers on the M+ or L packs, the monthly fee is £8. Don't forget the installation fee of £40. M pack customers will need to upgrade their TV pack if they desire to get TiVo.

If the 1TB version is any indication, then the 500Gb version should have enough recording capacity for around 250 hours of standard definition recordings, and 60 hours of high-definition recordings.

The beginning of the end for V+ HD?
This appears to be the first step for Virgin migrating their customers from the legacy boxes to TiVo. The existing V+ HD box also has a one-off 'HD activation' fee of £49.95 - the same one-off cost as the 500Gb version of TiVo. Given the much superior features of TiVo, plus a 500Gb Hard Drive compared to the 160Gb in V+ HD, the choice seems pretty clear regarding which Virgin PVR you should spend your £49.95 on.

The availability of 'Baby TiVo' to customers on the M+ and L packs, as well as XL of course - greatly makes the next generation PVR more attractive to Virgin's TV customer base.

By comparison, Sky's standard HD box is free to customers joining online, but also requires signing up to the HD pack at £10.25 per month. The actual number of HD channels received depends on the number of packs you've signed up with and well, its not TiVo now, is it?

Customers on Virgin's XL pack currently receive 17 HD channels for no extra charge - that will soon be 19 channels with the recently announced additions of Sky Arts 1 HD and Sky Arts 2 HD.

UPDATE: Apparently, the pre-registration ordering emails which Virgin begun dispatching today confirm the  details for the 500Gb version:
Coming 16th May, our 500GB Tivo box. Exclusively for existing customers

Tivo 500GB box
Storage for around 250 hours of standard TV
£49.95 for box activation
£3 additional monthly fee on TV XL
£40 installation fee applies

Prices correct as at 04/11
The 500Gb version will be exclusively available for existing customers first from May 16th, and available to new customers later.

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