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virgin media v6 launch 3

The Virgin TV V6 set-top box brings with it plenty of cutting-edge features.

You can record six channels at once while watching a seventh, for example, and stream content to other TVs and devices in the home. But to really appreciate what it can do, let's put it side by side with its predecessor.

The Virgin Media TiVo box launched more than five years ago, so it's getting a little long in the tooth. How does the V6 compare? Very favourably, as we'll see.

Looks

virgin media v6 launch 6

The V6 is a lot smaller than the TiVo box that came before it. It measures up at 230x153x55mm, which is about half the size of the TiVo box.

It is still quite tall for a set-top box though. So if you use a rack to accommodate your set top boxes, amps and whathaveyou, you might want to make sure you measure up before buying. Or invest in a new rack.

Recording abilities

The Virgin Media TiVo box can record three channels while you watch a fourth, but the V6 knocks that into a cocked hat – it can record six channels while you watch a seventh. You'll never miss a Christmas special again.

Picture quality

virgin media v6 lounge

This is one of the crucial considerations. The Virgin Media TiVo box was HD-compatible, which was fine in its day. But the V6 is equipped for 4K content (that's four times sharper than HD), with YouTube and Netflix supported at launch, and more services coming soon.

However, don't get too excited. You'll need a 4K TV in order to see the benefit of the better picture quality.

If you bought a new TV in the last couple of years, chances are it's 4K. But the rest of us will have to wait till it's time to upgrade the old gogglebox.

Storage

The V6 only comes in one version, which packs 1TB of storage. That's enough for 500 hours of standard definition content, or 100 hours of high definition.

The TiVo box came in both 500GB and 1TB storage options.

User interface

virgin media v6 search

Virgin calls the V6's menu system "reassuringly familiar". In other words, it hasn't tried to reinvent the wheel.

Instead, it offers the same easy access with a more image-heavy layout. It makes the ageing TiVo box's UI look like it's from the in-house entertainment system at a cheap hotel.

The V6 does have some new additions though. Smart Search scours all available services for your search term, while Series Link+ pulls in old episodes from other services like Netflix too, and puts them all in the same folder.

Remote control

virgin media v6 remote control lifestyle

Again, Virgin Media has stuck to a familiar design. But again, there are some changes.

The remote now has a search button, for quickly accessing the search function. And the remote is a bit smaller than its predecessor.

TiVo skills

The new V6 features the same iconic thumbs up, thumbs down buttons as the TiVo box. If you watch something you like, give it a thumbs up. Then the service will recommend more content like that.

Didn't like it? Give it a thumbs down, and its recommendations will steer clear of similar shows.

Verdict

The V6 isn't going to revolutionise how we watch TV, but it does bring Virgin customers some great new features. And it's streets ahead of the old TiVo box.

Read our full Virgin Media TV V6 hands-on review

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