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Best PVR and set-top box brands: which should you buy?

Virgin Media PVRs and set-top boxes rated

By Callum Tennent

Article 4 of 9

If you want to take out a TV package with Virgin Media you've no choice but to use one of its own-brand PVRs. But are they any good?

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Sky TV may have dominated the subscription TV market for years, but Virgin Media has emerged to be a real contender. If you want to sign up to it, you're at the mercy of using its PVR to record and watch your new TV service.

Virgin Media uses American TV service TiVo's technology in the UK. That means that most of Virgin's boxes run on the same technology as TiVo, both physically and from a software standpoint.

The latest Virgin Media model, the V6, also offers 4K Ultra HD channels and a host of other new features.

Want to see other brands, too? Head over to our PVR and set-top box reviews.

You may have decided that Virgin Media is the TV provider for you, but it's easy to forget that you'll be lumped with the one box for the rest of your contract. Before you take the plunge, be sure to check out the table below to see what other Virgin Media subscribers make of it.

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Virgin Media PVR and set-top box overview
Virgin Media PVR and set-top box overview
Number tested in the past three years 3
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Loyalty score
Typical spend
+
-
Should I buy one?
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 25 August 2017) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2017 of 2,531 PVR and set-top box owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 25 August 2017.

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How much do Virgin Media PVRs cost?

This isn't an easy question to answer when it comes to Virgin Media. Never mind the fact that you can't just buy one of its boxes outright, there's also the fact that it also offers broadband and phone packages just how much you'll be paying is dependent on what sort of bundle you can take out.

One thing that's for certain is that you'll have to pay a £20 activation fee. Outside of that you will have to pay an installation fee that's often free, but can be £40 or £50 with some deals. The box itself is often free, too, although can be £50 with some packages. You can also purchase additional boxes for the same price, plus another £20 activation fee.

For more information on pricing check out our comprehensive guide to Virgin Media services.

Choosing the best Virgin Media PVR

The choice is simple with Virgin Media: do you want a box capable of delivering 4K video, or is 1080p Full HD good enough for you?

You'll be confronted with this choice when you browse the numerous subscription packages available. The V6 box gives you access to 4K channels (as well as HD and standard definition), while the TiVo box is restricted to just HD and SD. The former is more expensive, but has a more impressive range of features it can record up to six channels at once, for example, as opposed to the TiVo box's comparatively meagre three.

As impressive as the V6 box is, though, there's seemingly little reason to spend the extra cash if you don't have a 4K TV set.

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