Virgin launches streaming internet TV service

Virgin TV Anywhere Virgin TV Anywhere follows in the footsteps of BSkyB's rival Sky Go service

Related Stories

Virgin Media has launched an internet TV service that streams programmes to computers, tablets and smartphones.

The TV Anywhere service is available to UK customers but they will need to rent a Tivo set-top box from the company to use the smartphone and tablet apps.

It signals a challenge to BSkyB's rapidly growing Sky Go service.

It may also deter users from cancelling subscriptions to make use of cheaper catch-up TV alternatives and media libraries such as Lovefilm and Netflix.

At launch, streaming shows via Virgin TV Anywhere will only be possible with a wi-fi or broadband connection.

Virgin said it did not have the rights necessary to offer it over 3G or 4G phone networks - although other functions such as setting a Tivo recording from a remote location would be possible via cellular connections.

By contrast Sky Go does stream media over 3G and 4G.

Catch-up facility

The new Virgin product offers the ability to view live broadcasts from up to 45 channels including several of Sky's premium sports and movie options if the customer has an existing subscription.

In addition catch-up content is available from a smaller number of channels, although this is limited to PCs at this point.

Virgin said that two-thirds of its customers already made use of the catch-up services it offered to TV sets.

The program is based on Tivo's own Buddy program released about 18 months ago in the US.

PCs will access the facility over the internet and there is an app for iPhones and iPads.

Virgin said it was also working on a version for Android, but would not release it before 2013 because of the extra effort needed to ensure it worked across the platform's wider range of devices.

In addition Virgin said it was looking to release an app for Windows Phone 8 and other devices, but could offer no guarantee at this time.

Technical ability
Virgin TV Anywhere app Virgin says the service will offer up to 4,000 hours of catch-up programming at any one time

Virgin will be hoping to emulate the quick take-up of the rival Sky Go service.

Launched in July 2011 it has proven particularly popular with sports fans with golf's recent Ryder Cup providing its biggest ever audience.

"Sky has said that the service now has 2.8 million users - given that it requires a certain amount of technical ability to use it that's a pretty impressive figure out of its 10.6 million user-base," James Barford from Enders Analysis told the BBC.

"The Sky evidence indicates that people really do use a service like this, so Virgin is doing it both to match or exceed the functionality of Sky but also as a defence against the YouView service which offers catch-up programming but only via a television set."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

BBC Future

(Science Photo Library)

Nasa’s amazing airport simulator

How to train 21st Century controllers


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.