Julian Clover takes advantage of triple play to finally have cable TV installed
Somehow I have managed to survive the last 20 or so years without cable television, having used satellite since DJ Kat was a mere kitten, and relied on friends and a steady supply of trade shows to guide me through what was happening on screen.
This week however I was lured in by the triple play offer of adding an additional phoneline and basic cable TV for just £2 a month extra. Virgin Media, and before it NTL, has provided me with a 4 MB broadband service for the past two and a half years. The £25 fee does not immediately present itself as particularly good value for broadband alone, particularly when compared to other offers on the market, but it has been extremely reliable. Besides it is also business critical and I confess I am just too scared to change to anyone else.
The decision process began through a phone call from Virgin’s customer services department in December. It’s an annual process to ‘review’ what the customer has, for review read ‘try to upgrade’. Basic cable brings me what is effectively the Freeview DTT line-up, minus the Sky-branded channels, but including Setanta Sports News and giving extra prominence to Virgin 1. Other than previously paying over the odds for broadband, the benefit to Virgin is that I will hopefully be tempted in by one of the offerings of pay-per-view service FilmFlex or perhaps upgrade to a larger package. In my case there is still satellite to more than fall back on, but my neighbour is considering taking out a basic cable subscription to ease the path to digital, rather than go the way of Freeview in an area where an aerial upgrade is a near certainty.
Having been booked in for a Sunday, I was called again to change the appointment to another day, once it was realised Virgin doesn’t carry out installations on former the day of rest. The welcome letter, like everything else from Virgin topped in cherry red, would have been music to the ears of the Plain English Society. Maybe the tone was too chummy, but it painted a picture of a company that is slightly edgy, as opposed to the family friendly image of BSkyB.
The installation went well, the cable run was neat and tidy, and so far everything has worked. Later another knock at the door revealed the supervisor who, complete with Tektronix meter, came to check everything over. The installer returned saying his boss had noted some connections were loose, so he produced a mini spanner to check everything was sufficiently tightened on my wall socket, and shiny new Samsung set-top. As far as I know, Virgin has hitherto made no connection between my account and this publication.
So ahead hours of enjoyment access to a limited, but still free, catch-up TV service and another remote control to vanish into the sofa.