Virgin Media Stream: First impressions

Virgin Media’s Stream is a pocket-sized all-in-one streaming field that helps dwell channels, subscription streaming companies, free video apps and music apps. Listed here are our first impressions of it.

Introduction

I bought the chance to see the Virgin Media Stream in motion on the model’s launch occasion in April. Listed here are my preliminary ideas on the versatile TV service.

One of many largest attracts in regards to the Stream field is the ten% low cost Virgin Media gives on any streaming companies you select to pay for via the corporate. It’s an attention-grabbing concept that successfully saves you cash the longer you subscribe to sure over-the-top (OTT) streaming companies.

Value and availability

The Stream requires Virgin Media broadband to make use of it. In case you aren’t already a Virgin Media buyer then you definately’ll want to change broadband suppliers to get it, which can imply paying kind of, relying in your present broadband package deal. There’s additionally the £35 activation payment, so it’s value doing the maths earlier than you turn.

Design 

  • Small in measurement
  • Few connections
  • Comes with commonplace distant

The Stream is a sq. in form with rounded edges and a gray mesh cloth prime. When it comes to measurement it isn’t a lot bigger than the palm of my hand. The rim of the streaming field lights up blue to allow you to its on. 

Virgin Media Stream box

On the entrance of the field is a the ability swap and across the again is an HDMI port to hook the gadget as much as a TV. I’m a fan of the compact design and assume it’d look nice when you’re not on the lookout for something too massive or cumbersome to take up house in your TV stand.

Virgin Media Stream remote

The Stream comes with a distant, with just a little microphone image indicating that the Stream’s interface will be totally managed together with your voice. There’s a house button, playback controls, navigation pad and quantity pad for coming into channels. The whole lot you’d anticipate, then. 

Interface 

  • Voice management help
  • Entry to Virgin Media retailer

One of many key selling-points of the Virgin Media Stream is that it turns any lately constructed TV (extra particularly, any from the final 7 years) right into a voice-activated sensible TV. This implies you’ll be able to entry lots of the channels, apps and streaming companies you’re keen on in a single place and navigate them together with your voice. 

I used to be given a tour of the interface throughout the demo, which appeared well-organised and simple to navigate. 

Virgin Media Stream home page
The house web page is the highest of the Apps part

Alongside the highest of the display is a listing of classes, together with Apps, Reside TV, Catch Up and Field Units & Motion pictures, in addition to icons for search and settings. 

Virgin Media Stream Apps
Apps

The Apps part is headlined with Prime Picks from a wide range of streaming companies. Scroll down and also you’ll discover all of your subscribed streaming companies, video apps and music apps.

There’s a piece for On Demand content material it’s possible you’ll wish to proceed watching and a handful of picks from every of the streaming companies and apps you might have put in. 

Virgin Media Stream Live TV
Reside TV
Virgin Media Stream Guide
Information

The Reside TV part, as you’ll be able to in all probability guess, is the place you go to look at dwell ‘linear’ TV broadcasts. There’s additionally a EPG (Digital Programme Information) you’ll be able to entry with a listing of channels and schedule so you’ll be able to see what’s on now and later. 

Virgin Media Stream Catch Up
Virgin Media Stream Box Sets and Movies

The Catch Up tab has sub-sections like Uncover, Channels and Classes, whereas Field Units & Motion pictures is stuffed with motion pictures out there to hire and content material you’ll be able to decide up on the place you left off. 

General, the interface appears to be properly laid out and simple to make use of, although I’d wish to strive trying to find content material myself to present my ultimate verdict on this.

Apps and channels 

  • Helps UK catch-up apps
  • A couple of apps lacking
  • Just a few apps qualify for Stream Credit low cost

With Stream, you’ll be able to watch channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and extra, and entry apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, YouTube and BBC Sounds. There are additionally a lot of catch up companies out there, together with BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and BritBox, to call a couple of. 

I used to be upset however not overly shocked to see that Apple TV+ and NOW didn’t seem like on board, although I want Spotify would have been there for music followers. I used to be joyful to see that Disney Plus was not solely out there, but additionally certified for the “Stream Credit” low cost, as a result of like Apple and Now, the streaming service isn’t discovered on each sensible TV.

Virgin Media Stream Apps 2
Apps

Virgin Media additionally gives reductions on a handful of those apps – so long as you’re keen to subscribe to them via your Virgin Media account.

There are some main advantages to this. You’ll solely must preserve monitor of 1 invoice each month and it could actually recurrently prevent cash on qualifying apps. The apps exist on a 30-day rolling contract, that means you’ll be able to add and drop them with no extra dedication than a daily subscription, and there’s no underlying value for the Stream field itself past the preliminary activation payment.

The ten% low cost, or “Stream Credit”, work by calculating 10% of the quantity you paid on streaming subscriptions the earlier month. You possibly can then apply these credit to the next month’s rolling contract. 

Which means – so long as you don’t catch your self paying extra for broadband via Virgin Media – you need to be capable of save your self a very good chunk of cash every month on any streaming websites you’d be paying for anyway. 

Apps included within the deal embody Netflix, Disney Plus, Sky Sports activities and Cinema packages, BT Sport, Starzplay and extra in depth packages listed in full on Virgin’s website.

First impressions

After experiencing a demo of the Virgin Media Stream, I feel the gadget can be an awesome selection if you wish to make your TV smarter with voice controls and a easy interface that encompasses a lot of your favorite TV channels, on-demand companies and streaming apps. Nevertheless, when you primarily use Apple TV Plus or NOW, you’ll in all probability wish to look elsewhere.

It’s additionally an attention-grabbing prospect for these juggling a handful of streaming subscriptions who wish to collate them right into a single versatile invoice and avoid wasting money whereas they’re at it. This makes Stream excellent for these already paying out for Netflix, Disney Plus, BT Sport or Sky Sports activities and Cinema packages.

Simply ensure you’re not getting a worse deal by switching to Virgin Media broadband or the ten% low cost won’t be value it for you.

UK RRP

Producer

Working System

Launch Date

Ports

Connectivity

Colors

Distant Management

Good assistants

A ‘arms on evaluation’ is our first impression of a product solely – it isn’t a full check and verdict. Our author should have spent a while with the product to explain an early sense of what it is like to make use of. We name these ‘arms on critiques’ to make them seen in search. Nevertheless these are all the time unscored and do not give suggestions. Learn extra about our critiques coverage.

Jargon buster

HDMI

HDMI stands for Excessive Definition Multimedia Interface and is to transmit video/audio alerts from a supply to a receiver.