Virgin seem to be dipping their toes into any puddle or pond they stumble upon these days such as offering Virgin Media Broadband internet provision and using Google Mail for those Virgin customers, and since their venture into the TV market has been somewhat of a success, it now seems as though they are going to expand it further by building their next set top box around the current TiVo system.
In essence, TiVo is a DVR (Digital Video Recorder), similar to the likes of Sky+ and Sky HD which is probably one of the most highly demanded product of it’s kind at this moment in time. But it is clear that with this move, Virgin look to tackle BSkyB head on with their own box.
So what is TiVo? Well for those of you who have Sky+, you will be familiar with such functions as creating what they call ‘series links’ to your favourite shows and saving the entire season to an internal storage device. TiVo is designed with a similar intention, allowing users to save their favourite shows for future viewing, but the other main feature is that it suggests TV shows and films that it think you should like based upon what you already like – it’s a great system to find new content that you’ll like.
This is accomplished by it giving you a ton of extra features such as their recommendations which allow users to rate shows according to their quality, and subsequently a list is produced and shared with other TiVo users recommending similar and popular shows to those they already regularly watch – adding a real social-side to watching TV, who’d have thought it?
As well as this there is a whole host of HD content such as an on-demand movie store similar to Sky Box Office and such. Currently in the US, TiVo is partnered with the likes of Amazon and Blockbuster in providing this vast library of content. There are built in search facilities which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for in a flash.
Other great features included with TiVo is the ability to watch your recordings on another television, expand storage space, transfer your recordings to a mobile device and remotely schedule recordings through mobile devices.
In addition, you can also connect to the internet on your TiVo box which allows extra functionality such as streaming music from online providers, (music can also be stored locally or played from your computer), stream video from YouTube and other such video content websites.
Also, let’s not forget the TiVo also gives you access to the type of TV that we have become used to in years gone by. All the free channels are available over the air as you would normally watch TV on a regular Sky or Cable box. However, this is where TiVo and other of Sky’s competitors have run into trouble. Currently, channels such as Sky Movies and Sports create too much of an attraction for the majority of people in the UK that they cannot fathom switching to a provider on which they have to rely on terrestrial or extra subscription channels such as ESPN to view sports.
Although all in all, Virgin-TiVo based digital tv set top boxes sound pretty nice to be honest and it is a good bit of healthy competition which may spark up yet another rivalry between Virgin and a leading service provider in the UK such as those in the past with the likes of BT.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Virgin can make a success out of TiVo in the UK and if it does work out wel, then TiVo have a happy return to the UK market, especially since their last entry pre-dated Sky+ itself, but ultimately was not successful, perhaps it was just ahead of its time back then? We’ll see…
Via – Engadget