July 23, 2014

Family Filters fail to make their mark

Hmmm. From the BBC:
"The vast majority of new broadband customers in the UK are opting out of "child friendly" filters when prompted to install them by service providers. The industry watchdog Ofcom found fewer than one in seven households installed the feature, which is offered by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. 

"In July 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the major UK internet service providers (ISPs) had agreed to offer "unavoidable choice" parental control filters, which block legal pornography and other adult subjects "by default". However, the Ofcom report found users had overwhelmingly opted-out of the filter.

"The percentage of customers taking up the option for each service provider are as follows:

  • Virgin Media - 4%
  • BT - 5%
  • Sky - 8%
  • TalkTalk - 36%

"All new subscribers to the ISPs were offered the "unavoidable choice" option, with the exception of Virgin Media, which only presented the feature to 35% of customers."

What a surprise. 

July 21, 2014

He wouldn't, would he??

You may have heard that Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy media giant TimeWarner. Lots of speculation about how he would fund it but here's an interesting suggestion: Bloomberg’s Caroline Hyde reports that Rupert Murdoch is considering selling his Italian and German pay-TV assets to help boost his offer for Time Warner. If approved, a Time Warner transaction could also trigger the sale of Fox’s stake in BSkyB. (Source: Bloomberg)
A Murdoch-free BSkyB? I will believe it when I see it. 

July 20, 2014

Virgin Media's TV Anywhere streaming app comes to Kindle Fire tablets

The Amazon Appstore now has the TV Anywhere app so it now works on the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. It'll let you watch live TV over a WiFi connection (3G/4G streaming is not currently supported), manage your set-top box recordings, browse TV listings and also serve as a remote control.
Virgin claims it's the first service of its kind to come to Amazon's marketplace in the UK.

July 19, 2014

Virgin broadband reliability poll

Just a quick word on the recent broadband poll regarding its reliability: 44% (159 voters) said that they have found VM broadband just as reliable over the last twelve months, whilst 41% said it was less reliable and only 14% thought it had improved. 
That's not great reading for Virgin as it embarks upon yet another expensive marketing campaign boasting about how great everything is for VM customers. With the big speed hike in the offing for many, let's hope VM can sort out some of the basics and give us what we are actually paying for, otherwise it will all end in tears. DNS stability would be a good start, as would Superhub 2 upgrades for those of us still struggling with the original Superhubs.

July 18, 2014

Sky Movies and Sports already working on Apple tablets and phones

They were promised for August but it's only mid-July and the Sky Sports and Movies apps are already working fine on my iPad. You need to load the Sky Apps from the App Store, and once you have them you have a button to type in your VM ID and password, you then have to set a Sky PIN, and away you go.
Nice one.

TiVo abandons Adobe Flash and Air

TiVo in the US has quietly retired the Adobe Flash and Air  code underpinning those TiVo screens with a new July update.
The new software promises a significant boost in interface navigation speed, having been re-built in the Open Source Haxe. In addition to being faster, the new user interace also adds a new "My Shows" column within which the viewer's favourite content is gathered up (see video above).
This move from Flash also opens the door to TiVo one day running Cloud services on Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, and other platforms. More details on SlashGear.
I don't know when Virgin customers will be updated.

July 17, 2014

Liberty Global buys into ITV

After previous management quite vocally avoided investing in TV broadcasters for many years, Virgin Media's new parent company, Liberty Global, has forked out a not-inconsiderable £481m for BSkyB's 6.4% stake in ITV.
Liberty Global chief executive Mike Fries said: “This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market. ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the UK and we’re excited to be shareholders.” The company said that it does not intend to make an offer to buy ITV outright, but it does reserve the right to do so within the next six months.
I would hope that the HD channel, ITV Encore, doesn't remain a Sky exclusive for too much longer, but knowing how cunning Sky lawyers are I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for it to materialise on your TiVo. Maybe some prime ITV on-demand HD (e.g. Broadchurch, Downton) could appear instead?

July 15, 2014

Sky Movies and Sports on Apple iPhones etc in August

Watch Sky Movies and Sky Sports on the go – available mid-August

For your viewing pleasure, this summer you'll be able to access Sky Movies and Sky Sports through their fantastic new apps. From mid-August just download the free Sky Movies app and Sky Sports apps for iPad, for iPhone and iPod touch from the App Store. Just in time for the Barclays Premier League.
This means that instead of watching Sky Movies and Sky Sports through TV Anywhere, you’ll now be able to enjoy them on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch anywhere is the UK with a WiFi, 3G, 4G connection.
Don’t worry though – you’ll still be able to watch all your other channels on the go with TV Anywhere.
Then you can enjoy over 800 blockbusters, live movies, live sports, news clips, match highlights and in app cinema finder and loads more great features!

Sky Sports 3, 4 and F1 arrive in high definition

As previously reported, Virgin Media has shuffled the Sky channels around the EPG today bringing in the additional Sports channels (Sports 3, 4, News (date TBC), F1 and, from August 12th, 5) and aligning the movies EPG numbers to those on Sky. Here are the changes:
110. Sky 1 HD (formerly on 122)
112. Sky Living HD (110)

Sky Movies
434. Sky Movies Greats HD (440)
435. Sky Movies Disney HD (437)
437. Sky Movies Act+Adv HD (435)
438. Sky Movies Comedy HD (434)
439. Sky Movies Crime HD (441)
440. Sky Movies Drama HD (438)
441. Sky Movies Scifi HD (439)

Sky Sports
511. Sky Sports News HD (Launch date TBC)
512. Sky Sports 1 HD (517)
513. Sky Sports 2 HD (518)
514. Sky Sports 3 HD
515. Sky Sports 4 HD
516. Sky Sports 5 HD (Coming August 12th)
517. Sky Sports F1 HD

July 09, 2014

Having a problem with Virgin Media broadband?

If, like me, you're finding VM broadband someone erratic, you may like to try switching your DNS settings to either Google DNS or OpenDNS. Click the links to find out more.
Virgin admitted to a DNS issue last week and again this week and I'm not convinced they have resolved things so I switched to Google DNS - it's free and took seconds. Seems to have not just stabilised the service a bit but I'm even seeing around 10% download speed improvements, too.