Virgin Media is launching a serious overhaul of its V6 set-top box, with the introduction of Virgin TV 360, a home entertainment box that integrates voice search.
, personal profiles and more for a real breakthrough in set top box streaming.
There is a new interface that aims to make navigation lighter and easier
, as well as a voice remote to quickly switch between applications. User profiles are coming, too, which means you can personalize your favorite apps and channels without stepping on family members' toes. It builds on the success of the V6 set-top box, which brought support for Ultra HD and HDR, but adds smart features to really compete with the world of streaming devices and smart TVs. However, you'll need Virgin Media broadband to sign up for the box, whether you already have it or are considering getting a TV/broadband package.
The new line includes a 4K compatible Mini box
, which can be placed in another room in your home for multi-room viewing, meaning one person won't be able to take advantage of the 360's capabilities. It's worth noting that many of these smart features are available through existing Alexa-enabled streaming devices
, like the Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV platform also gets user profiles ahead of the 2020 release. However, the full suite of live TV, smart TV apps and multi-user/multi-room sync features all add up to a better entertainment experience through Virgin TV 360.
Virgin TV 360 expected to be available to new Virgin Media customers
(and those who upgrade to the Ultimate Oomph plan) before the end of the year, though it may take until early 2021 for other existing customers to become eligible for the new box. A press release states that "The Ultimate Oomph Bundle offers Virgin Media's premium TV package, which includes 250 channels including all Sky Cinema, Sky Sports and BT Sport channels, two TV decoders, M500 ultra-fast fiber broadband, an unlimited mobile and landline SIM card. Currently available for €79.99 per month. Virgin Media has also just announced a speed increase to 600 Mbps for existing Ultimate Oomph customers."
Disney Plus is coming
However, one of the most exciting details we've managed to get from Virgin Media has been the arrival of Disney Plus. Disney's streaming app launched in the UK in March and has so far been noticeably absent from Virgin Media boxes.
Virgin Media isn't the only outlier though, while Disney Plus is available on most home game consoles, Nvidia and Apple TV streaming boxes, Fire TV and Roku streaming sticks, and Samsung and Sony TVs, but you still won't find it on Panasonic TVs. A representative of Virgin Media told us in an instruction that "starting next year I am confident that we will have on the platform."
We were also told that the Alexa integration
Although not present at launch, it could well be in the works by 2021, which would mean you could connect your Virgin TV 360 box to smart speakers. Alexa as the new Amazon Echo (2020).