By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, May 4, 2021
In 2021, Virgin TV rivals Sky’s TV service in both quality and quantity of content, with the added bonus that you won’t need a satellite dish. But is Virgin TV really good? We will take a look.
Is Virgin Media TV good?
- As good as Sky in many ways
- Best free decoder
- Incredible broadband packages
- No Atlantic sky
- Expensive movies and sports
- Indian / Asian channels are not free
Not that long ago (early 2017?) We would have said hands down that if you want the best TV packages, you’re better off with Sky. But Virgin Media has not only gained a lot of ground, but now in some ways outstrips its number one television competitor. (BT TV and TalkTalk TV still have a long way to go to compete at this level).
If you want to get Virgin TV, you have to do it as a package. Virgin does not offer television alone. Finally, you won’t get Sky Atlantic on Virgin TV – perhaps its main Achilles heel. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to stream it and with the final season of Game Of Thrones we’re running out of reason to care.
Compare Virgin Media TV
|Number of channels||Up to 230+|
|Can bundle with broadband?||Yes|
|Digital decoder||Virgin TV 360|
|Price from||£ 53 per month|
Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can expect from 135 to over 230 channels when you include premium add-ons, like Sky Cinema and Sky Sports. To see exactly which channels are available, you can visit our Virgin Media TV channel guide.
In short, Virgin’s latest 360 TV box is unmatched. We’re not going to say unrivaled, as Sky’s 2TB Sky Q box can match it shot for blow, and both come with voice-activated remotes, but the 360 TV box is free with every deal. Virgin Media TV and broadband package, while you have to pay extra for the 2TB box with Sky as it only offers its 1TB box as standard. For this reason, there really is no competition. Virgin Media TV 360 wins.
The TV 360, like its predecessor the V6, has a slightly chunkier profile than the Sky Q – it wants you to know it’s there. It lets you record six channels while you watch a seventh (seriously, who’s going to do that?). And it’s even 4K compatible, so you can watch 4K content like BT Sport Ultimate on your 4K TV if you have one. It also lets you install apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime there, but not surprisingly not NOW TV, as Sky is Virgin’s main competitor.
Just because Virgin isn’t Sky doesn’t mean you can’t use some of Sky’s best features – for an additional cost, of course. You can add Sky Sports to any of Virgin’s TV or Broadband & TV packages. Choose to add both to the Bigger Bundle or get it all as standard with the Ultimate Oomph Bundle.
Ditto for the Sky Cinema service: Sky Cinema. Not as expensive as Sky Sports (nothing is as expensive as Sky Sports), Sky Cinema gives you access to over 1,500 movies anytime, across 11 channels, most of which are available to watch anytime on demand. That’s a lot of movies, and definitely worth it, but if you’re already a Netflix and / or Amazon Prime subscriber, maybe a little less.
BT Sport has the rights to many essential sporting events including, but not limited to Premier League and Champions League football. You can add it to any Virgin TV plan or package, but if you go with the Bigger plan or better, you will receive it for free. Well, in the sense that you won’t be paying for it separately because these packages are more expensive initially.
Much like Sky, there are a plethora of premium channels that you can subscribe to individually for those with special interests. Channels like MUTV (Manchester United’s own channel), Liverpool FC TV, BoxNation (boxing), as well as a multitude of international and foreign language specialty channels.
The most recent addition to Virgin TV is the US subscription service STARZPLAY, based on the STARZ line of US TV channels. For £ 1.99 per month, you’ll be able to watch shows like Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King’s Castle Rock, The Royals and The White Princess to name a few, as well as a wide range of movies.
It’ll cost you more, but you’re free to add multiroom functionality to any Virgin TV package if you want to watch on a second TV elsewhere in your home. Just sign up and request a 360 Mini box at checkout. Alternatively, you can sign up for the extensive (and expensive) Ultimate Oomph Bundle, which comes standard with a free 360 Mini box.
Packages and packages
‘Bundle’ should really apply more to how much you save than how much there is. Going for a Virgin plan is by far the smartest decision you can make when it comes to your in-home services. Virgin plans offer great value, with super-fast broadband and fantastic TV. There are four Virgin Media packages to choose from.
- The big package – It consists of over 135 channels, most of which are Freeview, as well as a good selection of drama channels including Sky One, Fox, W, Universal and Alibi. This will be sufficient for households who just want a decent television delivered via a high quality decoder / recorder. It comes with a high speed of 108 Mbps which is sufficient for most homes
- The biggest package – Here you get everything in the Big Bundle, except the broadband speed is now at 350 Mbps (already a bit silly, to be fair), and there are over 190 channels to choose from. As a bonus, BT Sport is added for good measure
- The biggest set + Sports and movies – The Bigger Bundle + Sports & Movies contains everything in all previous bundles, a total of over 210 channels including Sky Sports, BT Sport Ultra 4K and Sky Cinema HD, as well as 350 Mbps broadband
- The Ultimate Oomph Pack – If you want just everything – all TV – Sky Sports HD, Sky Cinema Ultra HD, kids’ TV and BT Sport – literally everything, coupled with the fastest broadband (a totally insane 630 Mbps) and a TV box 360 Mini free for good measure, well, then that’s it. You even get Talk Anytime with your landline if you choose to have one, and a free Virgin Media mobile SIM card with unlimited data. While the Ultimate Oomph Bundle looks pricey, it’s actually a steal compared to the cost of having it all separately.
Compare all Virgin TV deals
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