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The Virgin Media Stream makes it easier to cancel your streaming subscriptions – but there’s a catch

The Virgin Media Stream is the cable TV giant’s answer to Sky’s streaming Glass TV service

Virgin Media has today announced its latest TV product, the Virgin Media Stream, in a bid to take on the satellite-dish-free Glass TV from rival, Sky.

Designed to aggregate broadcast and major streaming services, and as an alternative to the company’s existing TV 360 service, the catch is that Stream is only available to Virgin Broadband customers.

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Once you’ve paid £35 upfront for it, however, there are no ongoing costs, other than those you pay for your broadband or any streaming services you choose to sign up for.

Virgin Media also said Stream customers subscribing to “Entertainment” channels would get a 10% discount at the end of every month, in the form of streaming credit, although this is contingent on paying for your subscriptions via Virgin, something you might not want to do with Netflix as there’s currently no means of migrating your current account across – you’ll have to cancel and sign up anew.

The big news with the Virgin Media Stream, however, is that it should make services much easier to sign up for and then cancel because everything is handled and paid for via your Virgin Media bill. Indeed, Virgin Media says that every service on the platform is available on a rolling 30-day contract – you can sign up or “upgrade” to a service in a matter of a few clicks.

Cancelling should be quick, too, if the demonstration I was shown is anything to go by. All you do is click cancel on the Stream front end, scan a QR code with your phone and follow the steps from there. Cancelled services usefully show you how much time you have remaining on your subscription, too.

The product itself is fairly humdrum and takes the form of a small HDMI dongle that plugs directly into the back of an existing TV. It’s around the same size of a Chromecast and comes supplied with a Bluetooth remote in the box that allows you to search across multiple channels using your voice.

Just like other streaming hardware it gets its content via Wi-Fi (dual-band 802.11ac) and your home broadband and it supports up to 4K resolution and HDR. As with other streaming products, you also need to power it, either via a spare USB socket on your TV or the mains adapter supplied in the box. The mains adapter also has an RJ45 socket on it that allows you to hook up the Stream to your router via Ethernet cable.

As for the content offering, that looks fairly solid, with most of the main broadcast and streaming providers catered for, including Sky Sports and BT Sports, all the main UK terrestrial TV channels, Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime. The only big service missing at this stage is Apple TV+.

The Virgin Media Stream will be available to new and existing customers from 27 April. We’ll be reviewing it just as soon as we can get our hands on one.

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