The Essential Collection is a TiVo triple bundle consisting of TV M+, the Virgin Media starter TV size with 75 channels including 6 HD channels, Phone M with unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and a fast connection in the shape of Virgin’s 30Mb Broadband. The heart of the TV package is the 500GB TiVo box which enables you to record, pause and rewind live TV like any PVR, or Personal Video Recorder, but gives you many more advanced searching, browsing and recording options. It also has its own 10Mb broadband connection, independent of the 30Mb service in the bundle, so you can watch YouTube and run other web apps on the box without affecting the regular internet.
The broadband included here gives average speeds of up to 30Mb, and like all Virgin Media broadband is known for giving a speed very close to the one advertised – it comes with online storage and a free wireless router.
The package costs £25 a month plus £13.90 a month line rental. TiVo activation and installation are currently free for the 500GB box, the same bundle is also available with a V HD Box for £20 a month plus line rental (known as the Virgin Starter bundle) or with a 1TB TiVo box for an extra one-off £49.95 activation.
Details of the Essential Collection package
TiVo from Virgin Media
As we touch on above, TiVo is a new kind of TV package which makes it much easier for you to watch what you want when you want. Instead of just searching either catch-up TV from the last week or the channels in your package, say, you can now search for programmes across live TV, web TV content, On Demand and catch-up all at once. Search for 'Sean Connery' and you might get a couple of films and a James Bond documentary from various TV channels and then an awards acceptance speech from YouTube. You can search in this way by actor, director or title. If you're looking for something on catch-up such as BBC iPlayer you can just scroll back through the last 7 days TV and if the show has the catch-up symbol displayed you just select and watch.
The box itself has a 500GB hard drive for recording, its own 10Mb broadband connection so use of the web features won't slow the broadband down for the rest of the household and an intelligent set-up that gets to know what you like to watch and will recommend content for you based on what you watch and record. The TiVo remote also has 'Thumbs Up' and 'Thumbs Down' keys so you can let the box know whether or not you like a programme it has recorded for you, as it will even record shows it thinks you will like, although never at the expense of a programme you have requested to record. As with all of the Virgin PVR boxes the TiVo boxes have 3 tuners so you can record 2 channels while watching a third or record 3 channels while watching a previously recorded show.
Included in the Essential Collection
- Virgin TV M+ - this package consists of 75 channels including Sky1, Sky LIVING and Discovery, with 6 HD channels
- Virgin Phone M - unlimited UK weekend calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers and Virgin Mobiles
- Virgin Broadband 30Mb - Up to 30Mb speed, unlimited downloads, free wireless router