Virgin TV V6 TiVo box review

Multi-room aside, this is no revolution

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For new customers, the V6 box is available on the Mix Bundle, which costs £45 per month for the first 12 months, then £55 per month after that. There's also a £20 activation fee, though you can usually argue this one away. For existing customers, it's more of a minefield, and the advice is always the same here; argue long and hard for discounts and deals on the V6, and be prepared to walk away if you don't get a price you can afford. It's also worth confirming that any price you do agree on will last for a sufficient time, because with Virgin Media there always seems to be a price-hike around the corner.

What we liked

Mulit-room is great on the V6. It's got a slight DIY feel despite being very easy to set-up and the fact that you can use Powerline products is another boon. 

Of course, we like the speed of the V6, which makes Virgin Media's TV service usable once again, but that's nothing to get too excited about. 

It's also very hard to criticise the number of TV tuners and apps and integrated on-demand content in the TiVo service. 

What we disliked

While Sky Q is an all-new service. Virgin's V6 is the same TiVo service as before but now it just works satisfactorily. So it's not really anything to get excited about. 

The TiVo user interface does look a little outdated, with too many button-presses to locate specific apps, and even to cancel recordings and series links. It's a bit of a warren that takes some getting to know. And the thumbs-up/thumbs-down system of teaching the V6 what you like and dislike … nobody wants to do that. 

There's also the little problem of price. Of course you can haggle, and tweak other parts of your package with Virgin Media, but shouldn't a fully functioning set-top box be a default part of the deal? The V6 needs to become very cheap, very quickly if Virgin Media is to recover from its badly-timed pre-V6 price rises.

Final verdict

The V6 is easy to live with, and we love its plethora of tuners and home networking options if you can't bear to keep your old set-top box. 

Just in time with its hardware upgrade, the V6 essentially resurrects Virgin Media's TV service, which had been hanging on to the coattails of its super-fast broadband service for too many years. 

Is Virgin Media as good as Sky Q? It's not as slick – and rather surprisingly the often fussy TiVo user interface shows no improvements – but the V6 has plenty of processing power and TV tuners. 

With more than enough to get the job done, this home entertainment platform disappoints only on 4K content. However, considering how slow and cumbersome its previous effort became as the HD era bedded-in, perhaps 4K can wait. 

Haggle hard, and the V6 is worth a few extra quid per month. But Powerline-powered multi-room aside, it’s really no revolution. 

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),