A Guide to Virgin Media

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What You Need to Know

  1. Virgin TV is delivered through Virgin’s own network of fibre optic cables and is only available in certain areas. Check to see if your area is eligible before comparing packages.
  2. There are three main TV packages to choose from; ‘M+’, ‘L’, and ‘XL’. They have 65, 100 and 160 channels respectively.
  3. All the packages allow you to watch on demand programmes and catch up TV from services such as 4 OD, ITV Player and BBC I player.
  4. You can take your chosen package with a VHD set top box, which receives HD and 3D channels, or for £3.00 extra a month, you can have the TiVo box, which can also record series from the TV schedule and pause and rewind live TV.
  5. You can take your TV package on it’s own, but the monthly fee is £6 less a month if you move your phone services to Virgin at the same time. This will automatically give you Virgin’s ‘Phone M’ package, which includes unlimited free weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobiles.
  6. If you do take a Virgin phone line you will find that, at £13.90 a month, their line rental is competitive. By buying online from Virgin Media you will also get free installation and activation for your TV services when switching your phone line.
  7. You can get any of Virgin’s TV packages in a ‘triple play’ bundle along with phone calls and their award winning broadband, which may save you a considerable sum overall.
  8. You can add PictureBox Movies to any package for £5.00 a month and Sky Sports for an additional £14.50.
  9. If you take the XL package along with Virgin broadband, you will be able to use the Virgin Media Player service. This allows you to watch on demand programmes on your PC, laptop and even your phone.

What is Virgin TV?

Virgin TV is a digital television service offering up to 160 channels, including some broadcast in high definition and 3D. As the service depends on a combination of fibre optic cables and a set top box, there is no need to have an unsightly satellite dish installed.

Virgin TV customers are able to access music, movies and TV programmes on demand and, depending on the set top box customers choose to use, they can also record their favourite programmes and even pause and rewind live TV.

All packages come with catch up TV services from the main terrestrial networks, BBC, ITV and Channel 4, whilst the Virgin Media Player (only available with the XL package) allows Virgin TV customers to access hundreds of hours worth of on demand programmes online, wherever and wherever they want, using a laptop or even a smartphone.

How Can I Get Virgin TV?

Virgin Media services are only available in certain areas. You can find out if they can be acquired in you area using their postcode checker. If you’re not already a Virgin customer, assuming you can access the fibre optic cables in your area, you will have to have the necessary cables installed.

This means that, when getting Virgin TV, you have the option of also switching your phone line and line rental to Virgin. You can also change your broadband and mobile phone services to Virgin as well. This can save you money in a bundle deal (more on which down the article.)

If you do choose to switch your phone line to Virgin, you will normally be able to retain the phone number that you had with BT, however, if you only wish to get Virgin’s TV service you can have it on its own, separate to any other service.

If you do not have access to Virgin Media cable services, you may still be able to get Virgin Media National services through your phone line, but, unfortunately, you won’t be able to subscribe to Virgin TV.

Packages

Before you consider bundling Virgin TV with another service, you first have to choose the package that best suits your needs. Here is a breakdown of the three basic packages available;

M+

This is the most basic package. 65 channels are included, with Sky 1, Dave, Film 4, Eurosport and BBC stations amongst them. 6 of these channels are broadcast in HD, so, as long as your TV set is HD ready and your set top box can receive HD channels, you’ll to able to watch shows in greater detail, at no extra cost.

As with all other packages, catch up TV services are available, as well as a wide range of films of music available on demand (note that the PictureBox movies on demand service costs an extra £5 a month.) You can also use the service’s parental controls to make certain channels and on demand services inaccessible without a pin number.

These are the various offers currently running on the M+ package;

  • Without Virgin Phone Services
  • Virgin TV services are priced on the assumption that you’ll, at the very least, also want to take your phone services from them. Their pricing structure is geared to selling their services combined together and, as a result, the package is actually more expensive overall without a Virgin phone line.

    If you do not have, or do not wish to switch to a virgin phone line, the M+ package costs £12.50 a month with a VHD box, or £15.50 a month with a TiVo Box. The VHD box is HD and 3D ready but will not allow you to record programmes and is not capable of pausing or rewinding live TV.

    The TiVo box, on the other hand, can record and store up to 250 hours of standard TV, or 50 hours of HD programming. You can record up to 3 programmes at once whilst watching a fourth, making TV guide clashes a problem of the past.

    There are a range of other advanced features. ‘Wishlist’ allows you to record an entire series at a touch of a button, whilst ‘scroll back’ allows you to search backwards through the TV listings of the last seven days and watch programmes you missed. You can even set the box to record using a mobile device such as your smartphone if you’re out and about.

    You do not have to pay Virgin for line rental (you will continue to pay it, to whichever company you already using) however, when TV is taken without phone services, installation is not free. This means you face an extra charge of £49.95.

  • With Phone Services
  • This option costs £6.50 per month and comes with free installation and the basic VHD set top box.

    You can upgrade the package to include the TiVo box for an extra £3 a month. Installation will still be free and the activation service, which normally costs £49.95, will also be free.

    This option requires you to have, or switch to, a Virgin phone line. You will, therefore, also pay £13.90 a month in line rental to Virgin. However, included within this price, you will also get Virgin’s Phone M package, which gives you unlimited free weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin mobiles.

  • With Phone Services and Broadband
  • You can take the M+ service in what is known as a ‘triple play’ bundle, that also includes phone and broadband services. This package costs £23 a month and comes with a TiVo box, unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobiles, and Virgin’s 'broadband L' package.

    The broadband L package includes speeds of 10mb, free anti-virus and computer security software, a free Virgin Media Hub, an automatic file back up service, as well as unlimited downloads.

TV L

The TV L packages work in the same way as the TV M+ equivalents, the only differences being that you receive 100 channels rather than 65, and pay more for the privilege.

The channels available with the L package include Sky 1, Extreme Sports, Comedy Central, Good Food, Nickelodeon and Animal Planet amongst others.

As with the M+ options, the TV L package can be taken various ways;

  • Without Virgin Phone Services
  • This option costs £18.50 a month if taken with a VHD box, or £21.50 if taken with a TiVo box. Installation is not free in this instance, so you’ll have to pay an extra £49.95.

    With this option your line rental won’t be charged by Virgin so you’ll have to pay that separately.

  • With Phone Services
  • This option includes unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin mobiles. With the standard VHD box the cost is £12.50 a month. This goes up to £15.50 if you go for the TiVo box.

    Installation and activation is free. With this option your line rental is payable to Vrigin. This will cost an additional £13.90 a month.

  • With Phone Services and Broadband
  • For £29 a month you can get the TV L package, a TiVo box, unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin mobile and Virgin’s broadband L package together in a bundle.

TV XL

The TV XL package has all the features of the TV L option, but boasts 160 channels, including a greater number of HD channels,such as ESPN HD, E4 HD, Sky 1 HD, Sky Living HD, FX HD and Sky Living HD.

  • Without Phone Services
  • This option costs £35.50 a month and there is a £49.95 charge for installation. For an extra £3 a month you can have the TiVo box, rather than the standard VHD box.

  • With Phone Services
  • You can have TV XL, plus unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin mobiles for £24.50 a month with a VHD box, or £27.50 a month with the TiVo box.

    Installation and activation are free, whilst line rental costs an additional £13.90 a month.

  • With Phone Services and Broadband
  • For £41 a month you can get Virgin’s TV XL package, a TiVo set top box, the Phone M package, and the Broadband L package together in a bundle.

    Again, installation and activation are free, whilst line rental costs an additional £13.90 a month.

    If you combine the TV XL package you have access to Virgin Media Player. This allows you to watch TV on demand, and catch up on any programmes you may have missed in the last 7 days, on devices such as you PC, lap top and even your smart phone.

If you wish, you can add Sky Sports to any of these packages mentioned in this article for a further £14.50 a month. You can also add PictureBox movies for £5.00 a month.

All of these prices are all based on an 18 month contract and require customers to pay by direct debit.

The Packages Compared

You can compare the prices at a glance using this table;

M+ L XL
Without Phone Services £12.50 a month (£15.50 with TiVo) + £49.95 Installation £18.50 a month (£21.50 with TiVo) + £49.95 Installation £30.50 a month (£33.50 with TiVo) + £49.95 Installation
With Phone Services £6.50 (£9.50 with TiVo) + £13.90 line rental £12.50 (£15.50 with TiVo) + £13.90 line rental £24.50 (£27.50 with TiVo) + £13.90 line rental
With TiVo, Phone Services and Broadband £23.00 a month + £13.90 line rental £29.00 a month + £13.90 line rental £41.00 a month + £13.90 line rental
With PictureBox Movies + £5.00 a month + £5.00 a month + £5.00 a month
With Sky Sports + £14.50 a month + £14.50 a month + £14.50 a month

Other Bundles

Interested in taking one of these television packages in a bundle, but feel you need a more expansive phone or broadband tarrif? You can combine any of Virgin’s packages for TV, phone and broadband services and still save money.

Use Virgin’s build a bundle page to see if you can save by taking the packages you want together.

Further Reading

 
2 comments
not a crime not a crime
09/03/2013

yeah...dontgo giving your user id out on public pforums!!!

 
Ann Wallace Ann Wallace
10/11/2012

Am an existing customer of long standing and seem to be missing out on something here. Account no. 107918701. My current monthly outlay is over £ 60. You will be able to check I only have a plus box and I think I may need to revise my package . Seems I am not getting such value for all this money when I see what is available now. Disappointed a TiVo box is required for watching on I pad etc. My son can get Sky on his as long as he is a customer. can you help ?

 

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