Virgin Media has officially launched what the company is calling the UK’s first next-gen entertainment platform.
The TiVo powered set-top box boasts a “game-changing” interface (which we saw leaked screenshots of yesterday), and it brings a new “world of apps” to the living room.
Virgin says that the easy to use interface combines the live TV schedule with a catch-up TV guide, along with a large quantity of on-demand programmes and popular web applications.
The TiVo box has its own built-in 10Mb cable modem with dedicated bandwidth so whatever the family is watching on the television won’t interfere with the household’s broadband connection.
The platform also comes with an intelligent recommendation system, which learns by the programmes you watch, and highlights other shows you might enjoy. The TiVo remote control – which is shaped like a peanut – also features thumbs up and down buttons, so you can instantly rate shows.
And indeed save you from the temptation of hurling a giant peanut at the screen in protest at the latest travesty of television (yes, Gillian McKeith, we’re talking about you, although thankfully she’s finally been given the boot from the jungle).
A powerful search function is also present, which can be used to find anything from films through music to online content, providing details about the actors and production staff.
Apps on board will include the likes of iPlayer, YouTube, eBay, and of course social networking support with Facebook and Twitter.
Cindy Rose, Executive Director of Digital Entertainment at Virgin Media, commented: “This is a landmark moment in the UK’s digital revolution and vividly illustrates why Virgin Media is the only company who can provide the ultimate digital lifestyle.”
“For the first time, viewers will have a truly personalised viewing experience so they can get the most out of the wonderful worlds of the internet and TV all in one place. We’re really excited to bring our customers what is just the first of successive generations of transformational services based on this unique TiVo-powered platform.”
With 1TB of storage tucked away in the box, you shouldn’t be stuck for space. In fact, that’s enough capacity for around 500 hours of standard definition viewing. The hardware also comes with three tuners, so you can record two programmes and watch a third if needed.