Hate Virgin - TiVo and broadband alternatives

kirsteenatom
kirsteenatom Posts: 1,062 Forumite
edited 29 September 2018 at 7:06PM in TV MoneySaving
I've been with virgin for ages and they are awful in terms of customer service. I want to change providers, and have removed my mobile phone, but I seem to be stuck with their Virgin recordable box and broadband and home phone.

I don't even really want a home phone, but I don't save anything by removing it.

I don't really know what options are out there as I've been with virgin for so long!

What are economical options which retain the functionality I have with my tv at present?

Any advice gratefully received.

Kirsteenatom
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  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,134
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    If you want to move away from Virgin, you'll need to look at the following issues:-

    - What Internet speed do you need? (Not what do you have now, but what do you realistically need. VM customers often have speeds way above what they need).

    - What pay TV channels/services do you want?

    - What functionality are you looking to replicate? Recording/Box sets/Catch-up? Do you definitely favour linear TV reception over video streaming?

    - Do you have an existing satellite dish or TV aerial on your property? If not, are there any issues that would prevent you from fitting one or the other.

    - Do you have an existing BT line at your premises? This will likely be sat, unconnected at a terminating BT Master socket somewhere.

    Once you've answered those questions, we can probably help with suggestions from Youview, Sky, Freeview, Freesat, ADSL, Fibre BB, etc. etc.
  • Cornucopia wrote: »
    If you want to move away from Virgin, you'll need to look at the following issues:-

    - What Internet speed do you need? (Not what do you have now, but what do you realistically need. VM customers often have speeds way above what they need).

    I have VIVID 200 Optical Fibre I want fast internet.

    - What pay TV channels/services do you want? Not really that fussed, the normal terrestrial channels and a basic package is fine, don't watch a lot of live tv, no sports or movies needed

    - What functionality are you looking to replicate? Recording/Box sets/Catch-up? Do you definitely favour linear TV reception over video streaming?
    Mainly recording. I have Amazon Prime and Netflix and most of our watching is on that, but the kids enjoy watching the Simpsons and I like to record programmes mostly on Channel Four and the BBCs.

    - Do you have an existing satellite dish or TV aerial on your property? If not, are there any issues that would prevent you from fitting one or the other.
    Nope - no satellite dish, I think there is an aerial, and no issue with putting up if I need to

    - Do you have an existing BT line at your premises? This will likely be sat, unconnected at a terminating BT Master socket somewhere.
    Yes

    Once you've answered those questions, we can probably help with suggestions from Youview, Sky, Freeview, Freesat, ADSL, Fibre BB, etc. etc.

    Thanks so much for your help - I really don't know what I'm doing here! :)
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,134
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    edited 30 September 2018 at 9:01AM
    Thanks.

    Your main issue will be Internet speed. If you genuinely need 200Mbps, then VM is pretty much your only practical option.

    However, it's extremely likely that this is much more than your household needs. (A large family with plenty of devices and lots of TV streaming might get up between the 38Mbps and 76Mpbs of the standard Fibre BB options, but above that is really exotic territory). Part of the USP of Virgin is to persuade customers that they "need" very high speeds when they don't - and then to make them pay for them.

    Otherwise, your requirements look doable with a Basic Freeview recorder (Humax is a brand than MSEers tend to recommend). A decent one will cost £150-200. You'll need a rooftop aerial for that, and it will get you the entire set of Freeview channels, including the ones that are transmitted in HD. That box *may* include apps for Netflix, Amazon and catch-up, or you could add another device to do that for you.

    Something like this: http://www.argos.co.uk/product/2589378

    Ideally it would be 1TB, though, especially if you are recording in HD.


    I would suggest that you look at 76Mpbs Fibre Broadband from a "reasonable" ISP like Plusnet (or you can tell us what usage you have, and we will estimate). Or you could look at the no-landline deals from Vodafone.
  • Cornucopia wrote: »
    Otherwise, your requirements look doable with a Basic Freeview recorder (Humax is a brand than MSEers tend to recommend). A decent one will cost £150-200. You'll need a rooftop aerial for that, and it will get you the entire set of Freeview channels, including the ones that are transmitted in HD.

    Just to mention its worth a check on the Freeview website first to see what channels are broadcast locally. I installed a system for relatives and was dismayed by how few Freeview channels were picked up there. Then had to install a Freesat system as well . .
  • Just to mention its worth a check on the Freeview website first to see what channels are broadcast locally. I installed a system for relatives and was dismayed by how few Freeview channels were picked up there. Then had to install a Freesat system as well . .

    They're having another Freeview re-tune event shortly (4 days from now for my postcode) so they might have more available soon.

    http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/coveragechecker/
  • worried_jim
    worried_jim Posts: 11,631
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    I went VM BB only and get vivid 200 for about £30 pm after some hard negotiating. Have a second hand BT Youview box from eBay for £30 and job done! Has all the catch up services and the ability to record remotely via my phone. I want for nothing.

    Did this about two years ago and it's been fine.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,134
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    Indeed, I was assuming that the OP was in an area with good Freeview coverage - but it's well worth checking.

    Also, there are Youview/Freeview options for a small selection of pay channels with BT, Plusnet, Talktalk and EE (I think that's all of them).

    These bundle a recording box with the subscription, and IIRC start from £5 per month (Plusnet).
  • Mister_G
    Mister_G Posts: 1,919
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    and of course the OP should check here

    https://www.dslchecker.bt.com/

    to see just what speeds can be offered by an alternative ISP at their location.
  • kirsteenatom
    kirsteenatom Posts: 1,062 Forumite
    Wow - that's brilliant. Thanks so much for all of your responses! I may be free of the dreaded Virgin in the near future!

    Does anyone know if I lose all my recordings as soon as I stop the service with them or can I keep the box on one tv and watch those before I disconnect it completely?

    :D
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