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virgin media v6 launch

This week at a swanky launch event high above the City of London, Virgin Media unveiled the TV V6, its new set-top box.

Virgin Media is hoping it'll be tempt customers away from Sky's high-end Sky Q box. It certainly has its work cut out. Sky Q has won rave reviews since launching in February, and recently saw the price slashed to £20 a month – that's half as much as it cost at launch.

Sky Q has also had almost a year's head start on Virgin Media. During that time, it's launched a 4K service, and announced new features that will land at the start of next year.

Toppling Sky will be no mean feat. Is the V6 up to the task? Here are five things you need to know about it.

1 It's 4K

virgin media v6 lounge

The V6 box comes ready for viewing films and TV shows in 4K. For the uninitiated, 4K is a picture resolution that's four times sharper than Full HD. To get the benefit of all those extra pixels, you'll need a 4K-compatible TV.

You'll also need something to watch. At the moment, there's not that much 4K content around, though the situation is improving. Netflix and YouTube will be available to watch in 4K from launch, though it's worth nothing that only select content from each is in 4K.

Virgin says there's "more programming coming soon", so look out for more 4K coming your way.

2 HDR compatible

virgin media v6 front angle

Not only is it compatible with 4K content, it's also equipped for High Dynamic Range (HDR).

This is the same technology as found in cameras. It takes multiple versions of the same scene and combines the best elements of each into one ultimate picture. The result? An image with more depth, that looks a lot more lifelike.

The Sky Q 2TB box (which was known as Sky Q Silver when it launched) is compatible with 4K, but not HDR. So Virgin Media is one step ahead here.

3 Impressive recording capabilities

virgin media v6 launch 3

This time of year, there's sometimes too much good stuff on TV. Thankfully, the V6 can help.

It can record six channels at once, while you watch a seventh. All those festive films will be watched, even if it takes you halfway into February.

With a 1TB hard drive, you have plenty of space for storing those recordings, too. It will hold 500 hours of standard definition content, or 100 hours of high definition.

4 New UI

virgin media v6 launch 2

The user interface has been given a polish, too. It's now much more visual, with plenty of big, colourful images that are easy on the eye. The very same layout will be rolled out to existing TiVo boxes, so existing customers won't miss out.

Part of the new interface is the Intelligent Search function. This scours all services for your search term, not just Virgin Media's. It should make it quicker and easier to find what you're looking for.

5 Available soon

The V6 will go on sale in January. But it'll be available before the end of the year for existing Virgin Media customers on a Mix bundle or higher.

It costs £99.95, or £49.95 if you take a Full House or VIP bundle – these are Virgin Media's top-of-the-range bundles.

Read our full Virgin Media TV V6 set top box hands-on review

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