Virgin Media catches up to rivals with its first 4K TV set-top box

Billy Bambrough
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Virgin Media's pay-TV rivals BT and Sky already offer their own 4K services
Virgin Media's pay-TV rivals BT and Sky already offer their own 4K services (Source: Getty)

After much teasing and trailing, Virgin Media has finally launched its first ultra HD 4K TV set-top box.

Virgin – whose owner Liberty gave the company its backing post-Brexit vote – is joining the likes of rivals Sky and BT in pushing 4K content to the masses, offering four times the resolution of high definition broadcasts.

The TV is still considered to be the nexus of telecoms giant's quadplay strategy, and the hook that allows them to capture additional broadband, mobile, and landline customers.

The Virgin V6, the 4K set-top box we first glimpsed in August and Virgin's answer to Sky's Q, was unveiled today along with a tablet and an online store where customers will be able to purchase HD – but not 4K – content.

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Analysts have given the device a mixed reception, on the one hand praising Virgin's creativity with its tablet but also warning it may be lacking on ultra HD content.

Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at CCS Insight, said:

Virgin Media becomes the latest UK provider to revamp its TV service. In many areas it has been playing catch up, but in others leads as it streams more channels via its app than any of its rivals.

It supports more recordings and is future proof with HDR, making Sky’s new set-top-box already feel dated. However, it lacks 4K content such as live sport and on demand movies and Virgin Media could have leveraged greater access outside of the home with its new 4G offering.

We believe that Virgin has identified a gap in the market for ultimate home TV viewing and its new TV TellyTablet will also dominate the headlines.

What's in the box?

The new set-top box – which Virgin claims is half the size of its latest TiVo box – supports an array of apps such as YouTube, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer.

Its 1TB of storage lets you record up to 500 hours of standard definition or up to 100 hours of HD TV.

Read more: Sky garners fewer complaints across broadband, TV, mobile and telephone than rivals

The Virgin TV TellyTablet – which has to be bought separately for £299 – is an Android-running 14-inch HD tablet and is designed so you can watch live television shows and on-demand content remotely.

The V6 will set you back £99.95, though new and existing customers who opt for a top-tier Full House or VIP Virgin Media package can take advantage of a £49.95 promotional price tag.

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