By Cable.co.uk | Thursday March 5, 2020
Virgin Media can fight Sky for the crown of UK subscription TV on a constant basis, but if you want the fastest broadband with your TV, Virgin wins hands down every time. If you only want TV, Virgin only offers two packages – Mix and Full House – but if you’re looking for full TV, broadband, and phone, there’s a wider choice of four TV packages, each bundled with the broadband from Virgin. broadband and a telephone line.
Virgin Media’s cheapest package, Big Bundle, has 70 channels, most of which are the same Freeview channels available on any compatible TV or set-top box. If you want a really wide choice of channels, you have to watch Bigger Bundle or Ultimate Oomph Bundle.
On the hardware side, you will get the latest Virgin V6 box on which you can record six shows simultaneously, while watching a seventh. The V6 box can also stream recorded shows to other V6 boxes in your home as well as devices such as smartphones and laptops. You can also watch app-based subscription services like Netflix.
Channels available on Virgin Media TV
Virgin TV and its V6 box have come a long way to catch up with Sky in recent years, with the one notable exception in Virgin’s service being Sky Atlantic, which you won’t get with anyone other than Sky. Rather than listing the roughly 400 channels, here are our top ten picks from the Virgin TV range. You can see the full channel list on the Virgin Media website.
- 1. Sky one – Provides a solid mix of programs you won’t find elsewhere, including A League Of Their Own, Blacklist, Modern Family, In The Long Run, The Simpsons, Sick Of It and many more
- 2. Air sports – It won’t be standard and it’s not cheap to ride it, but any sports nutcase would be crazy if they couldn’t find a way to fit Sky Sports into their monthly budget. Nowadays there are 11 channels, most covering a specific sport (football, cricket, F1 and so on), with a few such as Mix, Main Event and Arena showing a mix of the remaining sports. You will also get Sky Sports News
- 3. Sky Cinema – Again you’ll have to pay a bit more for Sky Cinema, but it still offers great value with 11 movie channels and on-demand access to over 1000 movies anytime included in the price
- 4. Virgin Ultra HD TV – If you’ve got a 4K TV, this channel is for you, with its own lineup of shows like Start Up, Art Of More, The Big Dry, Masters Of Sex, House Of Cards and more, all in 4K ultra-HD
- 5. Netflix – Virgin Media has long allowed you to bundle Netflix with your plan, allowing you to access Netflix shows directly from the V6 decoder. There are thousands of shows and movies including Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, The Witcher, Lost In Space, Altered Carbon and many more.
- 6. Discovery – Not quite the source of factual documentaries it once was, Discovery still provides a lot of “factutainment” – shows based on reality, but with drama pushed for effect. Wheeler Dealers, Richard Hammond’s BIG, Iron Resurrection, River Of No Return, and Disasters Engineered are just a few of the highlights
- 7. SyFy – Killjoys, Krypton, Battlestar Galactica, Futurama, The Twilight Zone. The quality of SyFy’s production has increased dramatically over the years and there is a plethora of good things to look at here.
- 8. MTV – In addition to MTV, there are seven other MTV channels which cover different genres of music. Something for everyone, basically
- 9. Fox – Offers a wide range of high quality American shows including Family Guy, War Of The Worlds, The Walking Dead, The Mentallist, The Fix and many more
- 10. Central comedy – Still launches some of the best comedy shows including Friends (yes, always), The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Flaps, Lip Sync Battle and many more
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You’ve probably noticed that almost all of the channels included in Virgin Media’s Big Bundle are Freeview channels, which you can already watch on a smart TV or with a cheap Freeview box. However, the Player plan comes with M100 fiber broadband and a phone line at a lower price than the M100 alone. Useful for those who don’t have access to a rooftop antenna or decent TV reception.
Freeview includes the major channels of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5, as well as many entertainment and lifestyle favorites, including Pick and Film 4, and the list goes on. We won’t mention them all as the wonderfully functional tool above does that job for us.
As of Mix, Virgin Media’s TV packages offer a good selection of entertainment channels (remember its Player package is pretty much standard TNT).
Channels in the entertainment category include several Sky channels, a pair of CBS, Horror, Fox, SyFy and many more. Unfortunately, Sky has kept its entertainment gems: Sky Atlantic for its own customers; an understandable gesture, but disappointing for Virgin Media customers.
Mix offers viewers 88 channels of entertainment, while Bigger Bundle and Ulimate Oomph offer 110. However, most of these additional 22 channels are HD (High Definition) duplicates of channels already available to Mix viewers.
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Factual and lifestyle channels
Factual and Lifestyle is Virgin Media’s own category for this type of programming. This creates some weird teammates, with channels dedicated to home improvement alongside channels devoted almost entirely to WWII.
That said, Virgin Media offers up to 44 factual and lifestyle channels, increasing to ten for Mix customers. The ten channels available to Mix customers are primarily lifestyle focused and include Food and Travel Channel.
Viewers looking for a little more meat on the factual bone will need Virgin Media’s Bigger Bundle or Ultimate Oomph Bundle. These packages include all documentary channels offered by Virgin Media. These include History, several Discovery channels, and National Geographic. In addition to these documentary channels, these packages include a number of crime, lifestyle and food channels, as well as HD versions of several channels.
Virgin Media offers a veritable mountain of children’s channels, with the usual exception of the Player package, which only offers Freeview children’s channels – mostly from the BBC.
Mix includes Freeview channels such as CBeebies and CBBC, as well as several well-known children’s channels including Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and Cartoonito.
For viewers ready to summon Cartoon-ageddon, Virgin Media’s full line of 29 children’s channels can be found in its Full House and Ultimate Oomph package. In addition to the Freeview and Mix Kids channels, you will also find Nickelodeon channels and a variety of Disney channels.
It should be noted that on 29 children’s channels; 11 are HD versions or more one of other channels. But hey, how many cartoons can a kid watch in a day – in fact, don’t answer that.
Choosing music channels often doesn’t sound like a choice at all, but maybe those of us who listen to vinyl at home aren’t the target audience.
Virgin Media offers up to 18 music channels, most of which fall largely into the rock or pop camps.
All Virgin Media plans include the terrifyingly named MTV OMG as well as 4 Music. Mix includes nine music channels, including MTV Music, Kiss, Magic, The Box, and Vintage TV. Those who opt for Full House or Ultimate Oomph get several other MTV, Box Hits, Kerrang and VH1 channels along with a few more.
When it comes to movies, your choice of Virgin Media package will depend a lot on your taste. If you love your movies that are classic or artistic in nature, Virgin Media’s Mix package should have you covered. But if you want to watch recent versions, your only bundle option is its expensive Ultimate Oomph. However, you can add Sky Cinema to other packages for an additional monthly fee.
Ultimate Oomph is the only pack that comes with Sky Cinema, where you’ll find both newer versions and classics. There are over 20 Sky Cinema channels, covering different genres and audience types.
Mix customers can watch TCM, Film 4, Sony Movie Channel and a few more. There will definitely be some great movies on these channels, after all, much of the best cinema was made in the 20th century. But those who want to watch last year’s blockbusters will be disappointed.
Full House customers get additional HD versions of channels, as well as the real TV movies during the day. So not much more, but the films will look better.
Sports fans will be well served by Virgin Media’s Mix, Full House and Ultimate Oomph packages. Mix offers channels including Eurosport 1 and 2, At The Races, Sky Sport News and Sky Sport Mix.
If you want to add BT Sport, you’ll need its Full House package, where you’ll find BT Sport 1, 2 and 3 plus BT Sport ESPN.
For the real sports fanatic, the Ultimate Oomph package adds 16 Sky Sports channels, including Sky Sports Premiere League, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Cricket.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I receive Sky Atlantic on Virgin TV?
Unfortunately, there is no way to watch Sky Atlantic on Virgin TV, despite rumors that have been circulating the internet for years that Virgin is able to offer it. But there is a trick to get around it. See our How do I watch Sky Atlantic? to know more.
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