Virgin Media has made the first official statement on the featureset of its new TiVo-powered set-top box, due for deployment before the end of year.
The Cisco-manufactured box will offer customers 1 Terabyte of storage for personal recordings, equivalent to being able to store some 500 hours of content. The cableco is combining the local storage with its own on demand service and catch-up from Britain’s terrestrial broadcasters, delivered over the Virgin network.
The box, capable of HD and 3D delivery, will also have a dedicated internal modem that Virgin says will be able to deliver HD video and other online services without impacting on customer’s regular broadband activities.
Virgin argues that this is an improvement over other connected TV products in the market that have to rely on a single broadband connection for all of their online and TV activities.
“We’re really proud of our new next-generation TV service which will appeal to anyone and everyone looking for the best of live broadcast TV, catch up, on demand and internet apps and services,” said Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment, Virgin Media.
BSkyB has offered customers a 1-terabyte version of the Sky+ PVR since April of this year; the device actually has 1.5 TB, with a portion reserved for the download of content at the broadcaster’s discretion. Broadband TV News understands the Virgin receiver is just the 1 TB, the nature of its fibre-optic network negating the need to reserve any storage for the operator.
No new announcements have been made on the timing of the TiVo rollout, but previous statements have indicated that a soft launch will be made before Christmas 2010. Going forward new customers would receive the TiVo box and there would be some sort of receiver swapout for existing subscribers, particularly those on the higher tiers towards which Virgin tends to place most of its value.
Some existing Cisco-manufactured DVRs, the Virgin V+ receiver, are capable of a software download that would upgrade them to TiVo capability. However, this would not be possible with the Samsung DVRs also in the market.