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‘Plum’ TiVo update from Virgin Media adds new features

A new colour, new features, HTML5 and more - Virgin Media TiVo gets an update

Virgin Media’s powerful TiVo set top box has been with us for four years now. In that time the interface has received only minor tweaks really, but now it’s getting a bigger overhaul. The big difference is ‘plum’ with the garish red colour scheme banished (thankfully) for something less retina-searing and more modern-looking.

The new colour is accompanied by a new, more slender, curvier font, plus the new logo – which drops the text for simply the familiar loop. It’s worth noting that the version we saw wasn’t finished, with some red elements remaining. All-in-all it looks a help of a lot better, despite the fact that the layout looks essentially the same at first glance.

The main menu has been rejigged to better reflect the viewing habits of its customers – thanks to the constant feedback that Virgin Media gets from the TiVo system, a recurring theme in the update. The TV Guide is at the top still, but is now followed by Catch Up and On Demand options, giving you more immediate access to streamed content. Search and Discover now includes a ‘What to Watch Now’ option, which gives you real-time suggestions based on your viewing history, preferences, and those taken from other TiVo users.

My Recordings has seen the biggest changes, with a new sidebar menu that lets you filter your mass of recordings by category. For example, all the kids TV now appears in the Kids folder and all the sport in the Sport folder, so you main TV folder isn’t clogged with endless kids programmes or cycling highlights shows (as mine is). You will be able to edit which folders appear here, say adding Movies, or removing Sport if you don’t use it.

Another big change here is the addition of a Partially Watched folder, this compiles all the recordings you’ve watched part way, with the most recently watched at the top. It has a progress bar for each episode, so you can see how far you’ve got. It’s a much quicker way to continue watching a show, without having to find it in the usual way.

As well as the new features, the new interface feels more responsive than ever. it’s only a small upgrade, as Virgin Media has previously made a big step forward in this area, but it’s arguably the most responsive-feeling interface of its kind now.

Apps should be quicker too, and more up-to-date as well, thanks to support for HTML5 support, replacing the previous flash-based apps. This will come with a new app store, part of a partnership with Opera, provising apps such as Vimeo, TedTalks and Red Bull.

Speaking of apps, the Virgin Anywhere app, which lets you watch a wide range of channels on your tablet, as well as remote control you TiVo box from it, will also be updated shortly. This should reflect the new colour scheme and interface changes. The iOS version should be ready to go imminently, but Android users will have to wait a couple of months for their update

The roll-out for the new TiVo interface will start in October and be complete in time for Christmas, so a plum TiVo to go with your plum pudding. It’s not a radical makeover, but the additions are all progressive and logical, and we look forward to testing it in full soon.


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