Virgin Media review
|Review: January 2013|
Last updated December 2016
In a nutshell: Virgin Media delivers live TV and catch-up TV via fibre optic cable. It's a match for Sky, but it isn't as easy to use and isn't available everywhere.
Today's best buy: Virgin Media from Virgin Media (£Click for pricing)
Virgin Media setup & requirements
"No dish required" is one of Virgin Media's slogans, suggesting that they might feel just a tiny little bit defensive about their arch rival Sky.
Instead of a satellite dish, Virgin TV comes through a fibre optic cable, which is a benefit but also a restriction. It's a benefit, because it gives you the bonus of ultrafast broadband if you want it. But it's a restriction because Virgin's fibre optic cables don't reach every property in the UK, unlike Sky's satellite broadcasts. You can check availability in your postcode area on Virgin's website.
A choice of boxes
When you sign up with Virgin, you'll need to choose a box. The most basic box is the V HD box which gives you access to live TV and on demand TV. More advanced is the TiVo box, which also lets you pause, rewind and record on the hard disk drive. The TiVo box lets you record up to three channels simultaneously.
The TiVo box is available in a choice of sizes, up to a 1TB (1,000GB) size which can record 100 hours of HD content.
Virgin now also offers the V6 box which supports 4K UHD Netflix and YouTube. It also allows you to record up to 6 channels at once.
With Virgin TV you can access up to 175 channels, including 24 in HD. This isn't as many as Sky, but it does include some Sky channels, including Sky News, Sky Sports and Sky Movies.
The channels available depend on your monthly subscription package, so you'll need to spend some time deciding how much you want to spend, and what you're really going to watch.
In addition there are one-off pay per view events such as boxing and wrestling.
On demand TV
One thing that Virgin have got nailed is TV on demand. That's because they pipe everything through ultrafast fibre optic cables. You can access Virgin's pick of the last week's TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV Net Player, 4oD and Demand 5 just as easily as live TV.
As well as catch up TV, Virgin have a growing library of classic movies and series available for you to watch whenever you want.
You have to be careful when you choose your subscription package however, as this determines what's available here. Some content costs extra.
Virgin TV Anywhere
Virgin's new app lets you watch live or catch up TV on your PC, Mac, laptop, iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. You can also use the app to manage your TiVo box remotely. The app is free to use for all Virgin customers.
Broadband & phone
Virgin Media is also a provider of home broadband and phone services, and you can choose to bundle these into your package if you want.
Conclusion - good, but so complicated!
Virgin are doing a lot right, but they always seem to be playing catch up with Sky. While delivery of content over ultrafast fibre optic cable offers advantages, especially for catch-up TV, for normal TV viewing Sky's satellite broadcast is equally as good.
Virgin's service is very comprehensive, thanks to its On Demand service and the ability to add Sky's content to your package! And the new Virgin TV Anywhere app is a nice touch, although it's not as good as Sky's app and Sky got there first.
What frustrates us most about Virgin is the complexity. There's the complexity of choosing which package to subscribe to, with a myriad of options, charges and restrictions. There's the complexity of choosing which set-top box/PVR to get. But most of all there's the day-to-day battle with the TiVo box itself, with menus that defy comprehension.
And if you really want to risk your sanity, try calling Virgin's support number with a technical or billing problem.
Virgin Media features include:
- Uses fibre optic cable and dedicated Virgin box
- Choice of subscription channels, including Sky content
- Built-in hard disk recorder with TiVo, pause & rewind live TV
- On demand services
- Multiroom option
- Remote access via smartphone or tablet
- Virgin TV Anywhere lets you watch on a tablet or compatible device
Sorry - questions and comments on this page are now closed.
To get tv on demand will the box have to be connected to the internet?
on 18th Apr 2016
Can I access the God channels including Believe TV ?
Asked by Mrs Simpson
on 10th Apr 2016
I regularly watch believe TV on Sky and would like to be able to do likewise if was change from Sky to Virgin.
Reply by Ben
on 29th Jun 2018
Yes, those channels are available on Virgin TV.
Virgin Media user reviews
Sorry - reviews and comments on this page are now closed.
Average rating from 23 reviews:
Reviewed by Shana
on 1st Jul 2017
Nightmare first day experience! Pre installation team hooked up fibre cables without consent while I was not in (How is that even right? suppose you cancel/ change your mind?) before installation date and wired the WRONG side of the house - tv wires clearly visible on other side of house if they had cared to do a proper examination of the property - rookie error!
On day of installation, was told cabling would have to be pinned around the house - said no as it would make the front of the property look ugly and that I would rather the cabling be repositioned before the install. Engineer called Manager and was told that cabling guys would come and sort it out that morning and I should go ahead with install (now 8:30am). Waited all day - didn't come and now I have an electrical trip hazard outside the house until MONDAY. Waited in all day, lost earnings, stressed and upset. Calling different depts. all day. Apart from Lorna at the end, customer service beyond justification.
Totally regret leaving and miss SKY :( mistake to leave - wish I would have just paid the extra fiver a month and saved myself the stress of giving Virgin a chance. Thinking of cancelling and asking SKY to take me back.
To Customer Relations Manager, Sean. D. (Sheffield): I hope not making that extra call to the install team was worth the negative reviews, poor ratings I've left on various review sites and your social media, the £45 credit I got and my likely cancellation and return to SKY. FYI: This is exactly the reason your customer service rating is SO poor. Get real Virgin.
Reviewed by Adrian
on 16th May 2017
Tivo box is awful. Sloooow. For me the worst is the youtube app. It buffers regular as clockwork every 10 seconds and locks up every 20 minutes - not very good for music vids!
Virgin are in denial about Tivo problems. Their forum has most Tivo issues marked as solved; blatant lie.
Reviewed by hasan
on 29th Apr 2017
I've had a virgin tv/phone/internet bundle for several years and have always been able to haggle an excellent deal. Never had problems with support.
Reviewed by Steve
on 22nd Jan 2017
The TiVo box and service is rubbish. box makes noise lip syn is out of syn menu takes 10secounds to load you have to keep restarting the system NOTWORTHthe £80 pm will be closing my acc.
Reviewed by derek
on 10th Jan 2017
I think the Virgin product is great.
I also think the Virgin back up is poor.
I had a problem recently with a handset. Should be simple but, ring 150 you will not find an option for this problem. all the options offered was a remote re-boot.
After a couple of hours on line and forums I finally resorted to an old trick.
Ring 150, agree that the telephone line is the option you want. Then rapidly press the 9 button. This will take you out of the loop. You will then be asked for letters from your telephone password ( you will probably need one ). For once I had a password already set up. Straight through to an operator. New handset on order in 5 minutes. It works. So why do Virgin make it so difficult?
Reviewed by R Drury
on 29th Dec 2016
The new V6 box is a big improvement on the old TiVo, I just wish I'd been offered it at initial install just 4 weeks ago. It's much much faster & the remote easier to use/handle.
Reviewed by virgin customer
on 24th Dec 2016
I have been with virgin a long time i have full channels . I have been verry disapointed with the repeats that are on and what i am paying for take the sky movies all romantic comdy kids films and boring drama and repeted films like harry potter and when we have bank holidays how channals show the same program all day long i feel it is one big con and we should not have to put up with this and we should have better if everybody question the programs being showed maybe thay will do someting take xmas and the amount of repeates and that you have payed for.
Reviewed by brian
from United Kingdom
on 6th Nov 2016
I phoned virgin a couple of months ago to cancel my tv package and phone line because the cost had become extortionate nearly £100 a month and that didn't include sports channels. unfortunately I allowed myself to be talked into getting this TiVo box and just having the basic tv package, as most of the channels were plus1,plus2 and so on I decided to go for this as it reduced the cost by half and also had Netflix free for 6 months. I was quite pleased with this and was looking forward to getting my new super dupa all signing all dancing box. WHAT A SHOCK this box makes Britain's exit from Europe look quick so disappointed as its not any were as good as my so called old box.
Reply by R Drury
on 29th Dec 2016
For that much dosh I'd kick up a big fuss with them. I pay half that & got a V6 box for £59.00. It's lots better - really quick. It's a shame you have to throw rattles out your pram at them (& Sky) to get anything near value for money.
Reviewed by Jason ward
on 23rd Oct 2016
Moved from sky but what a mistake that was. If you are of a certain age you will probably remember teletext, that's quicker than virgin. It's all so slow and awful to navigate. On demand constantly says unavailable at this time, which has led to a growth in my DVD collection. Avoid at all costs. The most annoying thing is the controller probably designed for comfort in your hand as you will be holding it a lot, frantically pushing buttons hoping for a response. But the design allows it to roll off every surface you put it on.
Reply by Richard
on 29th Dec 2016
Get a V6 box Jason, much much quicker & remote better design & shape. If you are persuasive enough they'll do one for about £60 like they did with me - the TiVo is way too slow.
Reviewed by P brown
on 18th Sep 2016
Had broadband, TV. & phone installed on Friday since then no phone line and television keeps saying no signal. Need phone line husband has serious medical conditions and needs phone if he falls has a special kind that informs special services via phone link. Not a happy person at moment expect better.
Reviewed by Dawn
on 26th Jul 2016
It's ridiculously slow and clunky and horrible to use and navigate. I'm going back to sky Asap.
Reviewed by Andrea
on 9th Apr 2016
I've been with Virgin Media since the days of Cabletel who were NTL's predecessors! I have my phone, TV and broadband with them and apart from a problem with my phone line a couple of years ago everything has been fine. I don't watch box sets, TV on demand, don't use Netflix don't do streaming with the internet. I just watch TV, record TV, use the email, use internet for browsing, have a blu ray player for films, that sort of thing - I like a simple life and it suits me fine.
Reviewed by Redfitz
on 28th Feb 2016
I moved from sky to Virgin and have regretted it ever since the remote is slow the box is slow takes 5-10 second to change channel sometimes and don't like channel layout also I only moved cos wanted extra fast fibre broadband but can't get signal in garden whereas I could with sky soon as my contract finish April I'm going back to sky much better service.
Reviewed by Jeff
on 24th Feb 2016
Trying to use Virgin's Tivo is like trying to navigate a labyrinth blindfolded, that is saying something as I've used the American Tivo before without any problems. Where to begin? How about the fact that when you press the home button, it takes about 15 seconds to get to the homepage (On the US one, it happens immediately), not to mention that the apps are buggy (Netflix sometimes crashes whenever I try and open it and the only solution is to restart the box). There is so much more to mention but I can't recall it at the moment. How this product is able to bare the Tivo name is a mystery to me. I switched to Sky+ a few months after.
Broadband and phone is pretty good, no problems so far.
Reviewed by mandip
on 3rd Feb 2016
My opinion is that virgin media should just shut down as a business. Their broadband is absolutely atrocious. Completely unreliable. If its not loading at super super slow speed it just not load at all. When on skype video-call it goes literally frame-by-frame. When just normal voice-call. IíD HAVE BETTER LUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF A COMBAT ZONE! CANNOT UNDERSTAND A THING! I work from home, I am a stock trader who makes thousands of pounds through the access via the internet. Imagine how much money Iím losing every time my service is cut of. Customer service are just complete imbeciles. Explaining to me that the reason why it's very slow is because virgin are updating the broadband speed in my area from 50Mbps to 100Mbps completely free of charge. Well its been approximately nearly 4 months and when I check online for my speed its still the old 50Mbps. Also bribing me with a free month bill to withdraw my complaint. So in fact they lied in order to get out of trouble by providing FALSE INFORMATION. They are breaching the condition of my contract by not providing the service. And I guarantee everyone, if an individual were not to pay their bills Virgin would have been threatening them with Debt Collection Agencies. Yet they take the liberty to treat their customers as if they don't care. THIS IS FRAUD!!! And I plan on taking them to tribunal if that is what is takes to get their attention. And believe me I intend to go this far, then leave them and get a new provider so they donít manipulate people like this. If your thinking of signing up to virgin media! DONíT BOTHER! If you are currently within your contract period! GET OUT WHEN YOU CAN! If you are out of contract but still with Virgin. CHANGE PROVIDER WHEN YOU CAN BEFORE THEY START BLABBING A BUNCH OF BOLONEY TO KEEP YOU IN!
Reply by Steve
on 22nd Jan 2017
I agree the service is rubbish they treat us like fools
Reviewed by Sarah mcdonald
from Northern ireland
on 29th Jan 2016
To a manager called mark ☺
Thank u so very much to u mark for handling my call so well
I've been through an extremely hard time and when I rang to get an extension they were not at all sympathetic of my situation and I began to cry!
When I asked to speak to a manager I thought I'd get another unhelpful high on power but no... I got someone kind considerate and stopped me crying to making me laugh and he sang vena boys sha la la la la lol
Your a really good person and that's what all managers should aspire to be! thank u for all your help.. .Sir Richard Branson should be proud to have u on his team... sarah mcdonald
Reviewed by Jimmy
on 27th Jan 2016
Poor is a compliment!!!! I work in technology and I or my partner can not understand how someone signs off the interface. It's SOOO complex when it should be so simple. We can't wait for the contract to be finished.
Wouldn't you refer 'catch up' to be associated with 'my programmes'?
Then you go to view your programme but it shows from the oldest programmes, then when you click on it, you have to hit play AGAIN.....
Actually I'm bored even talking about it. Branson clearly doesn't watch this disaster either....
Reviewed by Stan
on 21st Jan 2016
These people lie! Had been a sky customer for a very long time but found after moving the broadband dropped out so looked at what virgin had to offer. Sales rep totally guaranteed us that if we swapped the whole package we would (with the subscription to Netflix) get all that sky offers for a whole lot less. True I get three boxes two of which are recordable for less than sky multiroom, true my bill has dropped considerably but at what cost?
1: on Demand movies, unlike sky all the best movies are now virgin movies and are not in my subscription.
2: box sets one of my favourite parts of sky are not worth having on virgin as there's nothing there.
3: catch up TV is great if you only want standard channels, can't get any of the shows watched on any other channel.
4: game of thrones is not available in Netflix which would have been the only reason I would have made the extra subscription.
5: the whole set up through on Demand and TV guide searching is very low tech compared to sky and a hell of a lot slower.
In a nutshell if your kind of TV is like mine was and you enjoy boxsets, movies, on demand and sky Atlantic do not be conned into swapping over because you will be disappointed.
Reviewed by sarah
on 16th Apr 2015
If i could leave a minus star i would!! avoid this company like the plauge!! Firstly the technition come in to my home and installed my new services, while doing this he snapped my shelf of the wall and used black wires on a white wall he left the wires hanging down the wall did not even tack them to anything he also left the power box just hanging there. when i called to make a complaint the customer service team where shocking!! put me on hold twice and hung up both times (clearly did not want to deal with my complaint) finally got through to a manager which promised to sort this out and credit my bill for £64.00. Woke up 3 days later with a £225.00 bill and my services cut off. bare in my i actually only had the services up and running for 3 and a half weeks!!!! i am taking them to court to sue for damages!! DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!! Go to sky!! they are much better! the technition that has now come and installed my new sky box was amazing!!
Reviewed by Lee Coldwell
on 20th Feb 2013
I have a 18 month fixed price contract (Since march last year) I had a letter in November stating there was to be a price increase in February of £3.50 per month unless you are in contract. I have been charged the extra and on complaining I have been told it is across the board and applies to everyone. I explained i had a fixed price contract until September but they said if you are not happy take it up with offcom. Apart from that i am quite happy with the service, but to entice people with good deals and then change them is not good and at worst downright devious.
Reviewed by jenny
on 11th Jan 2010
Been with them for years - pure laziness on my part - have been rubbish throughout the years. Now I am off
Reviewed by Cassie
on 11th Dec 2009
Used be with Sky for years and changed to Virgin when I moved house; I wanted a cheaper service. I got exactly that cheap and everything that is associated with it - poor service, 3 attempts at failed or dodgy installations, rude customer services, constant service disruption and slow (up to 10MB) broadband speeds!!!! Can't wait to leave and go back to Sky.......
Reviewed by Toni
on 10th Oct 2009
Virgin Media's package prices are extortionate, They're call centres are in India, you wait in queues for anything up to 20 minutes and then told you're through to Sandra or Trevor who struggle to understand you if you're speaking in english. If you get through to customer services here in England 97% of the customer service staff are rude and arrogant and wouldn't know customer care if it smacked them in the face. Twice I have been overcharged when paying a bill over the phone and not mistakenly overcharged but blatantly lied to. This was proved when I rang back to query it and the next operator tells me it quite clearly states on the screen, which is the old balance and which is the new. This happened when the new bill was read and I got a reminder that the old bill was still outstanding. I phoned up to make a payment and the new balance was added to the old and I am told I am paying arrears and a late payment charge, I even queried the old bill and was told all these amounts and the late payment charge I then paid it and later when I found the old bill I phoned back I was told I had paid the new bill also. This was the new bill I had not received yet. Also on the 24/7 free landline calls u need to be very wary, as they are adding new numbers that are not included in the free calls. My own doctors have one of these numbers and I'm charged approx £1.50 each time I make a call. Hence high phone bills. Sky are very reasonably priced you can have their full package now even if you have a virgin media phone line you do not need to be a BT customer which is what used to put customers off. And their customer service staff do not blatantly lie to and overcharge customers (this is just a virgin media speciality). Give them a try if you're not being treated properly at Virgin Media. They couldn't be any worse anyway.