Virgin Media recently launched their brand new V6 box, and here is our review.
The new Virgin TV V6 box is Virgin Media’s smallest, smartest and fastest box yet. It is half the size of the previous TiVo box with 10x the power and packed with a load of extra features.
The Virgin TV V6 box is designed so that recordings can be accessed and streamed on other TiVo boxes around the home. The new set-top box is completely compatible with Virgin Media’s original TiVo box meaning that existing Virgin Media customers can keep recordings and transfer settings while updating their home entertainment.
Recordings, on demand programmes and live TV can be watched in one room, paused and continued in another room seamlessly through a Virgin TV V6 or TiVo box. Recordings and live TV can also be continued on a mobile device with Virgin Media’s TV Anywhere app.
A Closer Look
All the ports you could need are on the rear of the V6.
And there’s a new remote too!
There are only 3 buttons on the front of the V6.
Comparing to the 1TB Tivo Box
Prior to the V6 being launched, the latest and greatest box from Virgin was the 1TB Tivo box, which you can still get.
Just to show you the difference in physical sizes of the two boxes, take a look below.
Using the V6 box
Here are some images of the box in action. None of these are new or specific to the V6 box though, but I thought it useful to show in the review.
Smart Search is a fantastic feature that enables you to search for content and see the results for that content displayed even if its via a streaming service such as Netflix or YouTube.
The first thing you notice about the V6 box is it’s size – it is significantly smaller than the previous models (as you can see from the pictures above). Virgin really have managed to pack a lot into such a small package. It’s just a shame that the package doesn’t look that amazing. There’s nothing wrong with how the V6 looks, and looks aren’t everything, but it just looks a little plain and a bit boring. But that said you may not necessarily have the V6 box on display so the looks may not matter to you.
The V6 box doesn’t have a new interface – it’s the same one that owners of the previous Tivo boxes have, which is a little disappointed as it’s looking a little dated, although we suspect that this is partly due to compatibility with the older Tivo boxes for multiroom connectivity. That said however, navigating the interface is a lot faster on the V6 so that’s something!
The V6 has six, that’s right, six tuners in it so that you can record six different programmes at any one time. Now you might be reading this and thinking that you don’t need six, but there may be those times when you need more than the number you get in the Tivo boxes, and when you can actually really that many programmes you will probably find yourself recording things because you can!
The V6 has 1TB of storage so that’s quite a lot of recordings to be stored (500 hours of SD recordings or 100 hours of HD recordings), although that could fill up pretty quickly if you decide to go wild and record on all 6 tuners.
Runnings apps from the V6 is a lot faster as well – not just because of the change in processing power in the V6 box but because the V6 takes advantage of a faster connection to your broadband than the previous models did.
Virgin have also worked with Netflix to deliver a tailored solution for running Netflix with less buffering by taking advantage of all that the V6 box can offer. I tested watching something in 4K from the V6 against watching Netflix in 4K on my 2016 Sony TV using the installed app and the V6 app was faster and had less buffering, especially at the beginning of a stream. I know how I will be watching Netflix from now on! There is also a YouTube app for watching 4K YouTube videos.
Unfortunately that’s it for 4K content at this time. There is no other Virgin Media 4K content available, which is a little surprising considering that Virgin are pushing the V6 as a box to watch 4K content on. Sky have the Sky Q and have a fair amount of 4K content to consume, so hopefully Virgin will hurry up and sort this little issue. We also really want to see an Amazon Prime Video app tailored for the V6 too please!
The V6 box is compatible with HDR although as of writing this isn’t available yet and will require a software update. There is currently no date for this update though, which is a little disappointing.
The V6 also supports Dolby Atmos, so if you have a setup at home that can utilise Atmos then you are laughing – or at least you will be at a later time when Virgin actually have some Dolby Atmos content to broadcast.
The remote control is a little smaller than the previous model, but what really stands out is that this remote uses RF to communicate with the V6 meaning you can have the V6 hidden away somewhere and you no longer have to point the remote at the front of the box. This may not sound like a big deal but if your box wasn’t in line with where you are sitting this could be a bit of a pain. Well that’s all gone now and it works great!
Setting up the V6 box initially was fairly painless and relatively quick – we did have an issue with the setup failing because of a particular error, but a quick call to technical support resolved that one and part of the issue was because we were swapping out an existing box.
The V6 box can work with other V6 boxes in your home, and even with the older Tivo boxes meaning you can record even more content and stream that content between boxes. This works very well as long as you have a fast enough Ethernet connection between the boxes otherwise you might see the dreaded not fast enough message!
The standard price of the Virgin TV V6 box is a £99.95 one-off upfront cost, ew and existing customers with a top-tier Full House or VIP bundle will benefit from a promotional price of £49.95. Although it is worth checking with Virgin for the latest pricing and offers as these change on a regular basis.
The V6 box is a great addition to the home and gives you the ability to record up to 6 channels at once, is a lot faster than previous Tivo boxes and has great multiroom streaming functionality, it’s just a pity there’s no real 4K content to watch on it yet (other than Netflix and YouTube)!