This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed
Virgin Media is preparing to unleash a new TV service for customers that looks set to give Sky’s popular NOW streaming platform a serious run for its money. Virgin Media has confirmed plans to trial its new service, which will bring all of the most popular streaming services into a single place.
Unfortunately, Virgin is being a little vague about exactly which services will be included, but Netflix, Disney+, NOW and BT Sport seem the most likely. If that turns out to be true, the new all-in-one streaming platform from Virgin Media will comfortably beat what Sky currently offers with NOW. That’s because NOW only gives customers access to Sky’s channels and on-demand catalogue as well as HayU. There’s no support for other streaming platforms.
What makes the latter particularly bizarre is that NOW uses tweaked hardware and software from Roku, which has one of the most comprehensive libraries of streaming apps on its set-top boxes. So, there are Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+ streaming apps out there that would be instantly compatible with all NOW boxes.
Details remain pretty scarce about the new competitor from Virgin Media, although the company has established a webpage for the new streaming option, where it’s asking customers to give it a try.
“We’re getting ready to launch a new entertainment service and we thought you might like to be one of the first to try it and let us know what you think,” Virgin said. “There are so many awesome streaming services out there, we decided to bring them all together into one place and put you in charge with our new entertainment service.”
If you fancy finding out more you can sign up here. All you need is a broadband-only service with Virgin Media (no TV or home phone).
You’ll need to make sure you’ve got one of the latest routers from Virgin Media – either a Hub 3 or 4 – and average broadband speeds of 50Mbps or above.
We’ll have to wait and see what Virgin reveals but it seems this new service could offer customers without a TV package or set-top box an easy way to tune into some of the UK’s most popular content.
Virgin says it doesn’t have a confirmed date for the trial but more news will be announced soon. Those lucky enough to be accepted won’t have to pay anything with Virgin giving this service away for free during the trial period.
Along with testing this new TV service Virgin has also recently announced that it is testing much faster broadband speeds using its existing infrastructure which could mean customers will soon see speeds of over 2Gbps.
Virgin says it has run these real-world tests in homes in Southampton and Manchester with the proof-of-concept trial aimed at showcasing the future speeds which can be delivered via the same network that already connects millions of customers across the country. That could mean a major broadband boost to Virgin users without the need for additional infrastructure or civil engineering works.