Can Virgin Media's new 4K box put the fear into Sky?

Virgin Media TiVO

Virgin Media has today confirmed that it will be launching a 4K set-top box later this year with an upgraded box to replace its current TiVO box, which it has been using since 2011.

Details are thing on the ground so there is no word yet on whether the box will be UHD Premium certified, whether it will be HDR compatible, or whether it will have a more basic feature set of just a UHD resolution.

It is also not yet clear how Virgin plans on distributing content to the device, whether it will be an internet-based solution, or whether UHD channels will broadcast alongside HD and SD channels and be delivered over cable.

We have contacted Virgin Media to ask it for clarification on both these points, but it has declined to share any further information on the box other than that it exists and will be coming later this year.

As the operator of a fibre network which offers speeds of up to 200Mbps, Virgin's network meets current bandwidth requirements for delivering 4K streams over the internet. Netflix currently recommends at least 25mbps for its UHD content.

Sky Q

The news comes a couple of months after Sky released its Sky Q service with a box that is able to deliver 4K content, although this capability wasn't turned on at launch and has yet to be enabled.

4K content is expected to be enabled on the service for the start of the Premier League in August. Outside of resolution, Sky's box also features four times the number of tuners of Virgin Media's.

Virgin Media has also said that it plans on updating the software on its existing TiVO box to make its menus "slicker and more picture-based".

Via WhatHifi

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.