Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Future software update to fix standard definition picture issue for Virgin Media's TiVo

The picture quality for Standard Definition (SD) content on Virgin Media's TiVo has been a hot topic of discussion on various forums and blogs, with several customers commenting on the reduced quality of that content compared to the legacy V+ HD box. In my review of Virgin's TiVo, I said that:
If I was to set the SD picture quality provided by V+ HD at 100%, then I'd say that TiVo's SD picture quality comes in at around, say, 92%. For me at least, SD pictures from TiVo are definitely a tad softer than I previously received from my V+ HD on the same TV, at the same viewing distance.
After some serious investigating into this issue by posters over at Virgin's TiVo Help & Support Forums, Virgin Media Staff Member stephenfeatham posted the following:
As some of you may be aware, we started our testing process for the TiVo box last year, and gradually started to roll out the service from the end of last year, before making the product more widely available from April. During this time we've issued numerous software releases to ensure the product is something we can be truly proud of. 
However, despite following a rigorous testing process, following an investigation prompted by this thread, we've now discovered a small filtering issue affecting the upscaling of SD channels which can lead to the TV picture on those services looking softer than those produced by our V+ boxes on some TVs. The good news is that filter settings exist within the firmware, meaning that creating a fix is a case of issuing a software update, and hence won't need any sort of box replacement.

We'd like to thank those eagle-eyed members of the forum who've brought this issue to our attention and we are now working with our hardware partners to resolve this issue which will go into a software release later in the year.

As this update also contains new features, it will be a few months before we're able to release it, however we appreciate some of you with certain set-ups where the issue is more pronounced may wish to get the issue resolved as soon as possible, so we'd like to invite some of you to join our beta trial panel. It is important to understand that by joining this restricted group you will receive software at an earlier stage of development which may contain other issues, but at the same time we'd love some of you on board to help make this great product even better. The only caveat is that you will be required to undertake regular 'homework' assignments testing new functionality and you agree to certain restrictions on public discussion.

More information on how to apply to join the beta trial panel can be located in the same discussion thread over at Virgin's TiVo Help & Support Forums. In the meantime, this news will be good news who have noticed a drop in SD picture quality from the V+ HD, and for potential customers who have been put off getting TiVoed due to this issue.

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