Technology

Virgin Media has no answer to Sky Glass, but does have a NOW TV rival around the corner


Virgin Media are the two biggest players when its comes to the paid-TV market, and the choice between the these telecommunications titans has never been more difficult. While Virgin Media bundles in one of the best home broadband services available in the UK with its TV packages, Sky offers the award-winning Sky Q box as well as the newly unveiled and revolutionary Sky Glass 4K TV set. This telly has the Sky Q experience built into the TV, and instead of being delivered via a satellite dish content is streamed over a broadband connection.

The sleek, carbon neutral TV offers a huge departure to Sky’s previous products – and currently Virgin Media has no answer for it. But Sir Richard Branson’s firm is catching up to Sky in one other crucial area.

IPTV (internet protocol television) has long been an area that Sky has cornered, thanks to its on-demand streaming service NOW, which was formerly known as NOW TV. But after years of market dominance NOW looks to be getting its biggest challenger ever, thanks to Virgin Media.

Recently Lutz Schueler, the CEO of Virgin Media O2, confirmed this newly merged firm were set to launch their first IPTV product before the end of 2021.

During a convention in Cambridge Schueler said: “We are almost flat with our TV customer base. We’ll be launching soon our first IPTV offering, targeting more at the younger segment. Maybe it’s the other way around for the younger segment. You start with Netflix, but then you get to the linear content.”

And now more details about this NOW rival have been revealed ahead of its full unveiling.

As reported by ISPreview, this new streaming service from Virgin Media will simply be called ‘Stream’.

It will be a modified version of the fun-sized device that is offered alongside the Virgin TV 360 service.

However, this device won’t feature an internal hard drive or TV360 code.

Like with NOW, Stream seems to be all about offering a hassle-free experience where any subscriptions can easily be cancelled.

The service will reportedly let customers add or cancel TV add-on packs each month, and everything can be paid off in a single monthly bill.

However, the service will reportedly only be available with an active Virgin Media broadband subscription as well as a minimum download speed of 50Mbps.

Strangely, the service won’t allegedly be available with Virgin Media’s gigabit broadband – which offers average download speeds of 1,130Mbps.

The Virgin media Stream box will come with a dedicated remote, will allegedly need to be used with a Virgin Media Hub 3, 4 or 5 router and is capable of 4K picture quality.

Here are the passes that allegedly will be available with Stream when it launches later this year…

• Sky Cinema HD – £21 per month

• Sky Sports HD – £36 per month

• BT Sport – £18 per month

• Sky Sports and Cinema HD – £44 per month

• Essential Entertainment – £12 per month

• Kids Pick – £5 per month

Here’s what customers that are being invited to try out Stream are being told by Virgin Media: “We think entertainment should be simple.

“So we’ve packed faves like Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, and Netflix (if you subscribe), as well as the free channels you can’t live without (like BBC, ITV, and Channel 4), into one clever little box – and put you in charge.”





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