Update on Virgin Media O2 UK’s free TV streaming service
Some of Virgin Media’s UK very high-speed ISP (VMO2) customers, especially those not already using their pay TV service, are once again urged to pick up their long-awaited streaming TV product (IPTV ) – simply called “Stream” – and it will come “no additional cost“But this time there is no mention of a trial.
In April 2021, we reported that Virgin Media had started larger trials of a new TV streaming product (here), which would be a similar solution to Sky’s rival Now TV platform, although it was not only available to Virgin’s own broadband customers (at least for now). More recently, the CEO of VMO2, Lutz schueler, appeared to confirm that the final product will launch before the end of 2021 (here).
New Blank media streams product basically provides a modified version of the size of the palm “mini boxÂ»Device they already offer alongside their premium Virgin TV 360 service, but without internal hard disk and with the modified code TV360. The latest invitations on this do not mention that this is a trial, although a spokesperson for VMO2 has informed us that it is.
As indicated on the associated customer invitation page: “We believe entertainment should be easy. So we’ve packed favorites like Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, and Netflix (if you subscribe), as well as free channels you can’t live without (like BBC, ITV, and Channel 4), into a nifty little box – and put you in charge. “A total of 40”free channels“(They mean Freeview) and various”favoriteâ€œApplications (eg iPlayer, YouTube, etc.).
Right now there are no long-term contracts involved with Stream, which means you can add or cancel TV expansion packs or subscriptions every month if you want, and all of this can be paid for through a single monthly bill. But Stream is only available with an active Virgin Media broadband subscription with a minimum download speed of 50 Mbps and, for some inexplicable reason, it is “not compatible with Gig1 broadbandâ€(The gigabit plan).
The Stream Box, which also comes with a remote, should be used with at least Virgin Media Hub 3, 4, or 5 routers, and it requires an HDMI cable connection to your TV. The box itself can handle 4K (i.e. requires a 4K compatible TV / device with HDCP 2.2), although right now it looks like most packs of Available channels only offer HD (High Definition) rather than Ultra HD (4K). Just to be clear, “Stream cannot be used with other TV set-top boxes including V6 box or Virgin TV 360.“
As above, the Stream service itself is free, but all content subscriptions taken with the Stream plan incur additional charges. In terms of TV packs, here is what is referenced next to the invitation message:
Streaming TV packs
Sky Cinema HD: Â£ 21 per month. Can be canceled at any time with 30 days notice. Sky Cinema HD channels come standard. Sky Cinema Premiere +1 not available in HD. Channel programs are subject to change. Service typically upgraded within 48 hours, but with exceptional demand it may take up to 5 business days.
Sky Sports HD: Â£ 36 per month. Must be kept for at least 30 days but can then be canceled with 30 days notice at any time. Offer available only for primary Virgin Media account holder. Sky Sports HD channels are standard. Channel programs are subject to change. Service typically upgraded within 48 hours, but with exceptional demand it may take up to 5 business days. Only available to view in UK.
BT Sport: Â£ 18 per month. Minimum duration of 30 days. Automatic renewal until canceled. Channel programs are subject to change. Includes HD and Dolby Atmos content on selected events, minimum line speed, and compatible device required. Only available to view in UK.
BT Sport Red Button: Additional streaming events on BT Sport Extra channels via the red button are currently not available on Virgin Media Stream.
Sky Sports and HD Cinema: Â£ 44 per month. Can be canceled at any time with 30 days notice. Sky Sports and Cinema HD channels are standard. Channel programs are subject to change. Service typically upgraded within 48 hours, but with exceptional demand it may take up to 5 business days. Only available to view in UK.
Essential entertainment: Â£ 12 per month. Can be canceled at any time with 30 days notice. Channel programs are subject to change.
Choice of children: Â£ 5 per month. Can be canceled at any time with 30 days notice. Channel programs are subject to change.
At the time of writing, we are not sure which channels Virgin Media includes alongside their ‘Essential entertainment‘pack. The other disappointing factor is that this product is only available to Virgin Media customers in their own network areas.
By comparison, Sky’s rival NOW TV platform can be used with any broadband ISP and its Entertainment pass costs from Â£ 9.99 per month, but you also have to pay an additional Â£ 5 per month only. for Full HD and decent sound. As above, we don’t yet know how VM’s Entertainment Pack stacks up in terms of channel choices. Thanks to Daniel for spotting the last invitation.