Virgin Media
#1

I thought a thread to discuss any updates on Virgin Media would be useful - channel updates, TV box software additions, and so on.

My 360 box recently updated to software version 4.41 with a new design for the home screen. I can't say I'm a fan of it so far.

The first two rows are taken up with content I don't watch. "Top Picks", at least on my box, are completely irrelevant and not in any way related to the programmes I actually watch.

Then an entire row is taken up for one tile promoting PPV wrestling, which I haven't bought and wouldn't buy.

VM really need to add a way to hide content or at the very least, rearrange the order of the rows on the home screen.
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#2

Can somebody explain to me the technical reasons why the Tivo EPG can't dynamically be updated for schedule changes, as we are seeing at the moment?
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#3

(10-09-2022, 10:44 AM)Steve in Pudsey Wrote:  Can somebody explain to me the technical reasons why the Tivo EPG can't dynamically be updated for schedule changes, as we are seeing at the moment?

When TiVo was originally developed it was a standalone product designed to work alongside existing TV platforms, but independently from them. As a result it used its own program guide data downloaded over the internet rather than the data broadcast via the TV platform (which wouldn't have existed in the days of analogue anyway).
Even though TiVo is now more closely integrated into various TV platforms it still uses the mechanism of periodically downloading it's own listings over the internet. I'm guessing that changing such a fundamental part of the way the software works is too difficult. Originally this happened once every 24 hours, but with the version that Virgin Media runs this happens every 6 hours, although you can force it to happen at any time.
To complicate things a bit more, the program guide data is supplied by a third party and not directly by the broadcasters. So no only do we not get real time updates, the listings have to be processed by another company that sits between the broadcasters and Virgin Media, delaying things even more.
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#4

So would there be a massive performance hit in scheduling updates say every 15 minutes, if only as a temporary measure while the schedules are being ripped up?
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#5

The switch from once every 24 hours to every 6 hours came in a software update, so it may be hard coded and not something that can be changed easily or quickly.  It would increase the load on the TiVo servers at Virgin Media, although I don't know how much of an issue that would cause.
The bigger issue is probably that their listing supplier probably isn't proving them with updates that frequently anyway.  Last night I forced an update on my V6 knowing that the listing were wrong and didn't get any updates despite updated listing being available via other platforms.
I would hope that whoever Virgin Media uses as their supplier (I think it's Gracenote) are working over the weekend to keep listing up to date, but they obviously aren't updating them quickly enough.
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#6

The older VM (and NTL/Telewest) interfaces also didn't have a dynamic EPG, it would poll once a day at I think 0130. You'd know when it was happening as the box would become completely unresponsive for a few minutes!

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#7

Thanks for the details Mute.

Does that also apply to the 360 which I understand isn't TiVo but runs on the same hardware? It's not like it would need to be dynamic for all channels anyway - just do the ones most likely to need it, or the PSBs.

There's an option on the TiVo home screen for upgrading that's far too easy to accidentally hit but from what I've read you can't then back out of it. It might sway me if it was a dynamic EPG although I know it doesn't offer manual recordings, which I often use.

On a side note, presumably that 3rd party provider is the one who also knocks up the programme thumbnails, some of which are wonderfully amateur and others like This Morning still show Phil and Holly from what must be their first year together.
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#8

(10-09-2022, 08:52 PM)Asa Wrote:  Does that also apply to the 360 which I understand isn't TiVo but runs on the same hardware? 

Nope. Not the same hardware. Virgin TV 360 is based in the Horizon 4 hardware, which is an internal Liberty Global product used by its other companies in Europe (Ziggo, Telenet, Sunrise, UPC Slovakia and Virgin) and Chile (VTR); the product was initially developed for UPC Netherlands, which was absorbed by Ziggo after being acquired by Liberty, and later was rolled out to Belgium's Telenet and its German subsidiary Unitymedia (which has since been acquired by Vodafone and now conform to its cable hardware). The STBs used by the operators of the service are enabled for the Horizon hardware, hence their internal name, Horizon Eos.

www.libertyglobal.com 
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#9

V6 boxes running TiVo can be updated to 360 in situ, they just send a new remote.
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#10

(10-09-2022, 08:52 PM)Asa Wrote:  Thanks for the details Mute.

Does that also apply to the 360 which I understand isn't TiVo but runs on the same hardware? It's not like it would need to be dynamic for all channels anyway - just do the ones most likely to need it, or the PSBs.

There's an option on the TiVo home screen for upgrading that's far too easy to accidentally hit but from what I've read you can't then back out of it. It might sway me if it was a dynamic EPG although I know it doesn't offer manual recordings, which I often use.

On a side note, presumably that 3rd party provider is the one who also knocks up the programme thumbnails, some of which are wonderfully amateur and others like This Morning still show Phil and Holly from what must be their first year together.
I'm not sure how the TV360 software works as I've not used it, but even if it was capable of dynamic updates it wouldn't surprise me if they were still stuck with getting the data from a third party who may not be that reactive.

The program guide data and thumbnails (and possibly channel logos) were originally provided by Tribune Media Services, which I believe are now part of Gracenote.  The copyright notice in the system info menu mentions both companies.

As for the hardware, the box that's used for the V6 was designed for Liberty Global as a standard box to be used in multiple countries.  In the UK they decided to continue using the TiVo software, but in other countries the same box runs the Horizon software (known as TV360 here and in Ireland), so it is possible to "upgrade" a V6 box to TV360 via a software update.  I believe there is another version of the hardware, possibly from a second supplier, that will only run the TV360 software which is used for new TV360 installations.  Earlier version of Horizon that Liberty Global used in other countries (including Ireland) runs on different hardware that was never used in the UK.
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