V+ Versus Virgin TiVo – Clash of the Telly Titans

Don’t you hate it when you pay for the top of the range, and then something new and shinier comes out? I certainly didn’t like seeing the new Virgin TiVo box come out, after paying for a V+ box in addition to my standard box in the bedroom. Curiosity killed the cat, so in search of the satisfaction that would bring him back I had a deeper look into what’s different – and whether it actually matters.

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The first difference lies in the storage size. Okay, I’m not going to lie – 250 hours (for the 500GB model) or 500 (for the 1TB model) as opposed to my poxy 80… That doesn’t sound too shabby at all! But by the same token, I kind of enjoy the necessary catharsis of throwing out the shows I’ve seen or have to resign myself to never watching; that copy of Pride and Prejudice that seemed such a good idea at the time but has been gathering digital dust for months, a TV series I thought I’d get into but that fell kind of flat… Cutting the cord for these things is sort of pleasurable in its own way. But going on holiday for a week and being unsure of whether you’ll have the room for all your recordings is a mood-killer, so chalk this up as a nice green tickmark in the TiVo’s camp.

You know how you change channels, watch a new show for a while, and suddenly realise you want to record it? And then you get the last ten minutes, which you’re watching anyway, and when you try to show your spouse the awesome new show you’ve found he thinks you’ve gone a bit mad, really? Yeah, the TiVo box records from the point where you changed the channel, rather than from the point where you pressed the button – and again I concede another green tickmark in the TiVo’s camp.

The slightly more organised storage of shows – well, in all honesty, that’s neither here nor there. When you multiply storage space about six times, you’re going to need better storage than a simple alphabetical list. I’d expect nothing less, so I’m not really finding this relevant.

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Series linking has gotten easier; if you series link, say, Fringe Season 4… Then when Season 5 comes around your TiVo box will automatically pick it up. And if a timeslot changes, your TiVo box knows about it and sorts you out. As someone who is pathologically unable to obtain or retain any relevant knowledge from a TV guide of any sort, I’m very tempted by that sort of promise indeed! It’s unclear whether the TiVo box can keep an eye out for whenever Sky channels relegate a show to one of their newer channels like SkyLiving, but you can’t have everything, I suppose. Another big green tick.

I won’t lie to you; I actually set out to prove that there wasn’t much point in spending fifty or a hundred pounds on a new TiVo set, depending on the size of the hard drive. For an extra three quid per month, however, that setup price gets really attractive, and the features kind of have me convinced. Now to leave some suggestive TiVo pamphlets around the house and hope my husband agrees.

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