Now Virgin Media is launching its own powerful 4K UHD set-top box for 2016

by on May 10, 2016

Stephan Jukic – May 10, 2016

Virgin Media has announced that it will be unveiling a new 4K ultra HD set-top box for its subscribers and new customers later in this year. During the company’s first-quarter financial reporting, the U.K media giant explained that one important part of pending enhancements to their UK TV services and products offerings will be the new 4K set-top box platform.

The box, when it comes onto the market will be one more addition to the rapidly growing 4K UHD set-top box market.

The media box is expected to feature live ultra HD broadcasts, canned content and streaming media apps. In other words, it will be very similar in key ways to what’s now being offered by BT Sport’s YouView-powered set-top streaming 4K box and what will soon be Sky’s 4K content offerings through their own Sky Q Silver set-top platform.

According to a Virgin Media spokesperson, “There will be a new set-top box coming later this year, and it will support Ultra High Definition video. Before that we will be updating the existing TiVO set-top box to make its menus slicker and more picture-based.”

These remarks are also reflective of statements made by David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment office at Virgin Media during an interview with the “Telegraph” newspaper in the U.K.

Virgin's older, now out-of-date HD set-top box.

Virgin’s older, now out-of-date HD set-top box.

Virgin will also be working on updates to its existing series link feature technology and these updates will allow for on-demand programs from sources like Netflix, Amazon and others.

The upcoming Virgin media set-top box, which doesn’t yet have a formal name as far as we know, will almost certainly be a strong competitor to Sky’s Sky Q Silver set-top box with 4K capacity. And in order to compete effectively with the Sky Q Silver, the Virgin model will definitely need some robust specs. Sky’s premium 4K-capable set-top box offers up 2 TB of storage space, a crazy total of 12 tuners, several HDMI 2.0 and USB ports with 4K essentials like HEVC and HDCP 2.2 and a number of other cool internal and external smart interactivity and content sharing features.

Furthermore, the 12 tuners of the Sky Q Silver box allow users to simultaneously watch different content sources on different TVs in the home, get picture in picture viewing of another channel and record several entertainment channels at the same time.

Virgin’s existing TiVo media box on the other hand offers just three tuners and its specs are definitely on the old fashioned side now, with only 720p HD support and limited content streaming capacity.

In other words, Virgin’s addition of a new 4K set-top box later in 2016 is not only a needed new offering from the normally cutting-edge company, it’s also something that Virgin will likely take advantage of to one-up Sky’s superb media box in some key ways. We ourselves are definitely expecting full high dynamic range content support for maximum compatibility with the latest 4K TVs, most of which now offer high quality HDR display specs.

We’ll have to wait and see..

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