Last week we were invited along to Virgin HQ to play around with their new app; Virgin TV Anywhere. Here are the facts you need to know in our lowdown:
What is it?
Virgin TV Anywhere is a new app available on your iPhone, iPad or computer with four key features:
1. Stream Virgin TV in the home or on the go with wi-fi
Stream available channels (about 30 remotely, and 60 in the home on launch) wherever you are. Kind of like TV Catch Up, but better. If you’re in the house, your streaming won’t affect what’s on the TV either. You can stream a film in your room while your family/flatmates watch X Factor in the living room. Lovely.
2. Manage your TiVo
The app gives you the ability to manage your TiVo quickly and easily, allowing you to record programmes wherever you are. Very handy if your plans changes and you want to record something on the go.
3. Use as a remote control
So it might be the most expensive TV remote ever made but one feature we really enjoyed is using an iPad to control the TV. It’s super speedy and intuitive and means you can fast forward or rewind at a rate quicker than one frame per second as with the normal remote.
4. Discover and explore
A great feature on the app is its ability to let you browse content in a way similar to IMDB. You can click on any actor/director and be taken through to anything they’re involved with which you can then watch if available or record when next on.
Is it any good?
Erm, care to expand?
Ok, it’s really good. As well as turning your iPad into the world’s most expensive (and coolest) remote, Virgin TV Anywhere let’s you manage, explore and discover TV the way it should be – easily.
When is it released?
Virgin TV Anywhere will be officially launched and available for download in the next 3-6 weeks.
What does it cost?
Nothing, it’s free for Virgin Media customers.
Is Virgin TV Anywhere available on Android?
No. At least not yet anyway. Plans to develop an Android version are in the pipeline but isn’t currently a priority. You Apple haters will have to wait until next year.
What could be better?
We’re passionate about ‘second screen’ (using your phone or iPad when watching TV to enhance the experience) and genuinely enjoy nothing more than watching Question Time with the #BBCQT hashtag running alongside it. We’ve tried using social TV apps Zeebox and dabbled with TV Check which claim to add value but feel neither really delivered.
Despite an in depth chat with the man looking after the Social Media aspect of Virgin TV Anywhere, we can’t help but feel it’s not quite there yet. At present, the only social integration seems to be a (difficult to find) button that allows you to share what you’re watching/browsing. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff. However, we genuinely believe the Virgin team are passionate about improving the app’s social features, they just want to make sure they have it exactly right first. Probably the right decision.
Furthermore, unfortunately at this stage, you can’t stream content you’ve previously recorded from the app but plans for the this are in development.
Let us know what you think of the app using the hashtag #VirginTVAnywhere on Twitter or in the comments below.
By Jamie McHale