Virgin Media TV changes

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    • Official Post

    I don’t know the answer to that, but there have been quite a few closures recently, including all the children’s Disney channels, two Discovery channels, Universal and Fox.


    I think the capacity issues which were much talked about back in the day are now over.

  • Are you talking about Cable or Satellite Richard? I know this is a VM thread, but I wouldn't like to assume wrongly.


    As Old Boy has said capacity issues are a thing of the past at the moment, VM moving to MPEG4, and more recently even better encoders has made their network space a lot less cramped. And made storage go much further on boxes. 8)


    I still get the impression VM are continuing to reorganise the TV streams though. Continuous and small, incremental changes.

  • Cable. Even with all the channel closures, 50 streams is a lot to accommodate.


    If jj20x was here we'd be able to see if they've re-opened previously closed transport syreams, borrowed it from broadband etc.


    The way things are going, capacity problems certainly won't be a problem. MB says a source has told him that Sky want to restrict their own channels to their satellite & Now TV service. If true, maybe VM will go down the BT route & simply become a reseller of Now TV??

    • Official Post

    Cable. Even with all the channel closures, 50 streams is a lot to accommodate.


    If jj20x was here we'd be able to see if they've re-opened previously closed transport syreams, borrowed it from broadband etc.


    The way things are going, capacity problems certainly won't be a problem. MB says a source has told him that Sky want to restrict their own channels to their satellite & Now TV service. If true, maybe VM will go down the BT route & simply become a reseller of Now TV??

    That wouldn't be such a bad thing in itself, Richard. What MB's source appears to be referring to is a transition period from satellite to IPTV broadcasting. They wouldn't want to switch off satellite overnight, but they may decide to shut it off to new customers initially and just allow migration to streaming to occur naturally (with inducements) until the level of satellite viewing is such that they can finally switch it off.


    They can be more robust in this process with Virgin Media, of course. They will not be so concerned about upsetting their customers, and it could well lead to an influx of satellite customers from VM initially.


    As I said previously, one way or another, VM needs to acquire a streaming service of its own and compete on a more level playing field with Sky. All the streamers should be offered with it as well. If this is not done, Horizon's vision of Virgin ditching the TV side of their operation is likely to come to pass.

  • ---

    UPDATE

    Just been told on Social Media that there's going to be "up to 50 streams" on Discovery+. =O

    Richard, there's been a misunderstanding. (Up to) 50 streams is on Discovery+, as I said originally. VM is carrying 7 extra HD channels and an UHD one from Discovery/Eurosport.


    This is the problem with the word "streams", it's used in multiple ways that are referring to multiple different things. Sometimes the context doesn't make it clear which one, and the subject can result in more than one of the definitions to be used.


    With regard to TV, Video and Entertainment some may use it to refer to the entire multiplex as basically Digital Television is an individual stream carrying multiple services.


    An individual TV channel on a multiplex can be called a stream by some.


    A TV channel delivered by internet can be called a stream by some.


    An individual providing Live content to video service like YouTube or Twitch or Skype or Zoom is streaming. That video or audio content is the stream.


    A stream can just be audio, BBC Sounds, depending on how you use it, is access to a collection of live streams, or temporary ones.


    And then there is On-Demand services, each time you playback any content, whether it be audio or video or both, a stream is set up for the duration of the content's use by that device.


    Some are using stream to refer to the broadcast of TV and others use it just when it is delivered by internet. This comes about by the word "broadcast" also being used in different ways, by some, than it used to.


    "Broadcast" can similarly be used in multiple ways. It can be the outputting of video and/or audio content, no matter how it's delivered to the the consumer.


    When the Industry use it, it usually refers to one-way transmission, usually from transmitter masts. They do not mean anything delivered by individual connections to the end consumer.


    "Broadcast" and "linear" aren't interchangeable but are sometimes used that way. Something can be broadcast and only last a short time, linear tends to used in the TV and Audio sense as something that is continuous. Linear content provision can be provided without being broadcast.


    My point being, a person can think they are talking about the same thing with another, and yet not be. The same person can use the same term in multiple ways and mean a different version of the thing each time they say it. And even ultimately confuse themselves.

    • Official Post

    It depends what you call a ‘channel’, cheekyangus. I think live events will be viewed in the future via streamers, just like Discovery + is offering with their Olympics coverage. They will be accessible by category (eg ‘live events’) rather than by channel name (eg Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, etc).


    There is absolutely no reason why live events have to be broadcast via the traditional broadcast channels. The main problems are broadband accessibility and latency, both of which will no longer be issues with time.

  • It depends what you call a ‘channel’, cheekyangus. I think live events will be viewed in the future via streamers, just like Discovery + is offering with their Olympics coverage. They will be accessible by category (eg ‘live events’) rather than by channel name (eg Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, etc).


    There is absolutely no reason why live events have to be broadcast via the traditional broadcast channels. The main problems are broadband accessibility and latency, both of which will no longer be issues with time.

    Money. Most are in it to make it, and even if they aren't (PSBs like BBC), they still need to manage it to operate. Broadcast (in one definition of it at least) means transmitting out at one point over a large area, you could have 1 person in that coverage area or 10 million, the cost is still the same. With streaming you need up to 10 million streams, and depending on how you offer it to the public and how you implement it, you may need all those streams to be end-to-end (i.e. all the way from source to each customer). That's a lot more resources and a lot more expensive.


    Yes as technology progresses costs (usually) come down, but other factors (sometimes surprising ones) come into play and can bring unexpected hurdles.


    You only have to look at broadband and mobile phone coverage. Those businesses, like all businesses to an extent, are reluctant to spend money, everything is about the the balance of income and expenditure. Their coverage blurb is always giving the population coverage in adverts, the geographic coverage isn't anywhere near as good. Getting good geographic coverage isn't attractive as it costs more than they deem worthwhile. Companies are ruled by their spreadsheets. Having 1 transmission that reaches a very large number of people is going to appeal monetarily. Broadcasting scales much, much better than streaming.


    I read the other day Digital Terrestrial was originally planned to be 6 multiplexes for entire country but money was the reason it was redesigned. The TV companies weren't willing to pay, 90% population was deemed satisfactory for the non-PSBs, so we have the non-PSB multiplexes of today that a significant minority don't receive through an aerial.


    There's a postcode lottery with what's available where, and it's always, deep down, due to money. For all sorts of services. Places of similar sizes to where I live, but only a little further away are very poorly provided for. I'm lucky, but many others aren't.


    Technology progressing could bring down the cost of broadcasting (the transmission, not the other definitions) too. Progress isn't always about continually abandoning one thing for another, sometimes you find better ways to do the original thing, things can come full circle. Cable and Telephone networks reinvented themselves for something they weren't originally designed for, the Internet. But even the things they were designed to do are now done differently than originally implemented (Digital TV and VOIP Telephone backbone). If broadcast transmission technologies improve their price/scale advantage could remain.


    Money makes the world go round.


    As unlikely as it might seem to some, the News channels will likely be the last channels standing. News never stops, there will always be something to talk about as it's happening, so a continuous transmission will still be part of it.

    • Official Post

    Money. Most are in it to make it, and even if they aren't (PSBs like BBC), they still need to manage it to operate. Broadcast (in one definition of it at least) means transmitting out at one point over a large area, you could have 1 person in that coverage area or 10 million, the cost is still the same. With streaming you need up to 10 million streams, and depending on how you offer it to the public and how you implement it, you may need all those streams to be end-to-end (i.e. all the way from source to each customer). That's a lot more resources and a lot more expensive.

    I agree, cheekyangus - and yet we move exonerably towards closing down channels and moving over to streaming. There must be a vision somewhere that makes this change financially attractive for the future, but I am only partially understanding what this is.


    I don't know if the 'direct to consumer' approach is the full answer, although this does cut out the middle man and reduce the sheer volume of contracts needed to broadcast on a vast number of channels worldwide. Maybe that deals with the cost side of things that makes streaming viable.

    • Official Post

    On CF, a fairly reliable source of information from a Virgin Media employee has revealed that Virgin Media and others are in talks with AMC, and that this may relate to the Shudder and Acorn TV streamers.


    In another rumour, VM is said to be completing negotiations in a £1m deal which appears to be Disney +, as the exclusivity period with Sky has now expired.


    Discovery+ has an exclusivity clause with Sky which expires in November.


    Thanks to legendkiller4k and Media Boy for this information.

  • I agree, cheekyangus - and yet we move exonerably towards closing down channels and moving over to streaming. There must be a vision somewhere that makes this change financially attractive for the future, but I am only partially understanding what this is.


    I don't know if the 'direct to consumer' approach is the full answer, although this does cut out the middle man and reduce the sheer volume of contracts needed to broadcast on a vast number of channels worldwide. Maybe that deals with the cost side of things that makes streaming viable.

    Cost of technology-wise broadcast is the most cost-effective for popular channels, streaming is more cost-effective for really small channels, particularly those with a narrow remit.


    In my opinion there is going to be a big +1 cull. That will, I think, be the first trend. And I think it will start with the mid to larger channels, as they will be more confident that their audience has access to their on-demand service.


    I think 5Select on Freeview (which I've been looking at on another thread) is a canary in the coalmine for public technology adoption and audience transition, and also for broadcasters willingness to sacrifice services.

    I don't understand AMC. The continued exclusivity of their channel on BT is plain bizarre, surely they should either launch on Sky and VM or axe the channel. I think that Shudder and Acorn news will likely prove true. I'm curious which VM platforms though, TV360 and/or V6, as veing smaller services they might not want to commit to expense of both.


    They could've justified keeping The Walking Dead (main, not spinoffs) for their channel, after the Fox closure, if they'd had wider availability. Missed opportunity.

  • Virgin Media have been digging up the roads and pavements in our estate and laying Fibre optics cables and accesspoints.

    Just as a matter of interest I checked what they would charge per month for myself and my neighbours should we decide to use their service.

    The cheapest option is advertised at £27 a month for 18 months then £52 a month for the next 18 months. Having checked the more expensive Virgin prices, they all have a huge monthly increase for the second 18 months. ( example £ 45 a month for 18 months then a whopping £ 70 a month for the next 18 months.

    I for one will not countenance this price structure and I doubt any of my neighbours would be interested. So I doubt Virgin won't get any buisiness from our area.

  • Virgin Media have been digging up the roads and pavements in our estate and laying Fibre optics cables and accesspoints.

    Just as a matter of interest I checked what they would charge per month for myself and my neighbours should we decide to use their service.

    The cheapest option is advertised at £27 a month for 18 months then £52 a month for the next 18 months. Having checked the more expensive Virgin prices, they all have a huge monthly increase for the second 18 months. ( example £ 45 a month for 18 months then a whopping £ 70 a month for the next 18 months.

    I for one will not countenance this price structure and I doubt any of my neighbours would be interested. So I doubt Virgin won't get any buisiness from our area.

    You were right to check as Virgin use headline grabbing prices, then bump their prices up massively, hoping that you passively pay up through inertia or because they hope that you simply could not survive without their services!


    The more savvy customers like me call them to renegotiate a more acceptable price and cancel if they don't play ball.


    As if by magic, a new price is then offered to keep your custom! Not very fair on those that are unaware of this or lack the confidence/ability to haggle though. The regulator has gone some way to help with this practice by forcing them to inform customers when their contract expires, what the new price will be & what new customers pay.


    They also have the worst customer service that I have ever known. Ever. If you can get through, they use an offshore call centre where a lot cannot speak or understand English at a basic level. They read from a script and completely ignore anything the customer says. Some just put the phone down on you if they can't understand or be bothered with the customer (who may have well been trying to get through and waiting ages and ages to get through- the longest I've had to wait was one and a half hours).


    If it weren't for the fact that i've continued to get decent deals out of them, I'd have dumped them long ago.

  • Thanks Richard. I am going to give Virgin a huge bodyswerve. ..........No doubt when the cabling is completed we will be bombarded with sales personnel trying to persuade us to change providers but I won't be biting. Besides, my current provider is providing 21mbs download and 6 mbs upload. It's not fast but it is ok for what I want to do.

  • a) They all use "headline grabbing prices" with prices resorting to standard tariffs after the offer period. Lots of businesses in other sectors do too, e.g. Streaming TV providers.


    b) We've had very good customer service from them most of the time, but since we get such a excellent service from their products we rarely have to speak to them. I've got friends who've had that you've had, I'm not disputing your experience, just pointing out that not everyone's the same.

    Edited once, last by Horizon: Moved into VM thread and removed reference to Freeview thread ().

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