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Virgin Media TV customers to receive free V6 4K set-top box upgrade – but what’s the catch?

Upgrades to roll out over coming weeks. Here's everything you need to know

A year after the launch of the V6 box, the company’s first 4K-enabled model, Virgin Media has announced plans to offer it as a free upgrade to Virgin TV customers – no £20 activation fee, and no re-contracting. Customers will be able to install the box themselves, too, rather than having to wait on an engineer call-out.

It certainly seems a generous deal. Virgin Media claims the offer is to celebrate the installation of its one millionth V6 box in the UK since its launch in December 2016, stating that its best box shouldn’t just be for new customers. It also points out that, compared to standard Virgin Media TiVo customers, V6 users spend an average of two hours longer watching TV each week, are twice as likely to watch a box set, and record twice as many programmes.

It sounds like a great deal, but is there a catch?

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How to get your ‘free’ Virgin Media V6 box upgrade

You’re probably just as sceptical as we were upon hearing the news. Well, unsurprisingly there are a few criteria to be met, but there’s a strong chance that you qualify anyway. Here are the boxes that need to be ticked:

  • You have to be a Virgin Media TV customer. The obvious first step – if you have a Virgin Media TiVo box or pay for a TV service through Virgin Media by any other means then that’s you. New customers get the V6 box as standard, but will have to pay a set-up/activation fee.
  • You have to be a Virgin Media broadband customer. Virgin Media’s TV is provided via the internet, rather than satellite. While it’s possible to sign up to Virgin Media TV and receive your internet through a different provider, in the case of this free upgrade you have to use Virgin Media. If you’re just a straight-up TV subscriber, Virgin Media says it will be offering ‘discounts’ to you at some point down the line.
  • You have to have Virgin Media fibre. It’s not enough to have regular, sub-50Mbps, broadband (or ‘legacy’ broadband, as Virgin Media calls it). To ensure you can watch in smooth, uninterrupted 4K you’ll need to have a fast connection. The good news is that Virgin Media will upgrade you to this at zero extra cost – the bad news is that it costs a higher monthly fee once you’re up and running.
  • You have to reach out to Virgin Media. Virgin Media has told us that over the next couple of weeks it will be contacting members about upgrading. You’ll have to keep a close eye on your inbox because once you get that email it’s up to you to sort out your new box. It’s simple enough to install yourself, so no engineering call-out will be forced upon you, but if you think you won’t be able to do it yourself you’ll be able to request one.

Is the Virgin Media V6 worth upgrading to?

Oftentimes an upgrade doesn’t really feel like an upgrade. It can be a hassle replacing your old box only to find that the new one is awkward to use and doesn’t offer any new features. That’s not likely to be the case with the V6, though. Even if you don’t have the capacity to enjoy 4K TV, that’s not where the improvements end. It has a 1TB hard drive for storing recorded shows – twice the size of the TiVo box’s 500GB. It can also record six shows at once while you watch a seventh recording, or five shows at once while you channel hop. Again, that’s considerably better than TiVo’s ability to record a maximum of three at once. It also has app support, allowing you to watch your recorded shows on the go.

If you’re a Virgin Media TV customer who doesn’t yet use V6 then we’d strongly recommend you take the company up on its offer. If you’ve still got questions about the box then you can see how it performed at our PVR test lab in our full review.

You’ll need a 4K TV to make the most of your shiny new V6 – browse our pick of the best TV deals for January.

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