Dropping Virgin Media TV for Apple TV in UK

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jimsmac, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. jimsmac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    #1
    Hi all. Long time since i posted on this site / forum!

    We have Virgin Media Big Bang plus Sky Movies at the moment. This gives us basic TV channels (and movies), land line, and 100 mbps broadband.

    My plan is to drop the TV part but keep the Virgin 100 mbps broadband and the land line. I will then replace the Tivo and TV service with an Apple TV.
    1. I presume that by doing this I can watch Freeview via an App (is it called TV Guide?), add Sky movies and/or Sport via the NowTV app when I choose to, plus get Netflix and iPlayer as well.
    2. I guess that by doing this I am losing the ability to record a program off of Freeview, but am I losing the ability to pause the Freeview TV?
    Just wanted to run this past UK users before we buy the Apple TV.

    James
     
  2. BMox macrumors 6502

    BMox

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2014
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #2
    The app you're wanting is called TV Player. That contains all 5 terrestrial channels.

    Now TV with an entertainment/movie pass (eBay is your best bet) sorts out your Sky needs. The movies are only 720p though so not the greatest of quality.

    iPlayer isn't available yet for the Apple TV.

    You should be able to pause what you're watching like with any other streaming app.
     
  3. jimsmac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2001
    #3
    Thanks. For some reason I thought iPlayer was on it.
     
  4. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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    UK
    #4
    I ditched Sky a few months ago. There are hundreds of channels and I was really only watching half a dozen of them at most.

    This allowed me to discover just how much great TV there is on Amazon Prime and Netflix. I got a subscription to Now TV for fear of missing out on something, but I rarely watch it.

    I still watch a lot of BBC programmes via iPlayer. I initially bought the Amazon Fire TV box during the summer, which I found to be really excellent: it has Amazon, Netflix and iPlayer.

    I bought the Apple TV because I'm a fanboy and didn't use it much at first. I've just bought a new TV and the combo is working really well: the tiny and simple Siri remote also controls the main functions of the TV. Of course we're still waiting for Amazon and iPlayer on the Apple TV but my new TV has those built in.

    I've saved about £30 a month (I also stopped paying my TV licence as I no longer watch live TV) but I've spent some of that on Netflix/Now TV subscriptions, the no-ads ITV player on my iPad, and buying box sets on iTunes.

    As time goes on I'm finding that the trifecta of Amazon, Netflix and iPlayer cover 95% of my needs. Amazon is basically free (£79 a year, but you get free next day deliveries and Amazon Music as well and it's not a monthly outgoing). Netflix is £7.49 and iPlayer is free. Long term, I'm saving money and having a simpler, better experience. I like not having a schedule to worry about.
     
  5. BingoBlue macrumors member

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    Sep 9, 2014
    Location:
    Philly
    #5
    We take the same approach as profmatt in our house only we still use Roku hardware. I had the house wired up with Ethernet when we first moved in so looking to replace the wifi only Roku kit with new Apple TVs. Still not the complete solution yet like Roku - suspect it will take another 18 months or so.
     
  6. SpinalTap macrumors regular

    SpinalTap

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    Sep 25, 2003
    Location:
    Bournville, UK
    #6
    I have VM broadband only. Streaming iPlayer from my iPad (or any other catch-up service) to my AppleTV3, is very, very good in terms of picture quality - and without any lag.
     
  7. RB1959 macrumors member

    RB1959

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    #7


    I think you'll still need a TV licence though.
     
  8. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

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    #8
    I'm pretty sure the license fee is just for watching 'live' transmission, so there is effectively a loophole for catch-up TV. Pretty sure this will change when the BBC charter is renewed.

    I'm a Virgin Media customer too (mainly for the 200mbps broadband), and having looked at the aTV4 apps for watching terrestrial TV wouldn't consider a switch just yet. The picture quality on the TV Guide app is rubbish, and I saw another one (iBox I think) which was just as bad. I've sideloaded the Auntie Player (iPlayer) and that better, but still not as good as watching 108 or using the iPlayer through the TiVo box.
     
  9. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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  10. RB1959 macrumors member

    RB1959

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    #10
    Seems a very grey area to me. Every computer and portable device is capable of accessing live TV these days. How do you prove that you never watch it if they come knocking on the door?
     
  11. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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    #11
    By that argument, anyone with a mobile phone should pay the TV licence. It's not your responsibility to prove that you're not watching live TV, it's their responsibility to prove that you are.

    I agree that the whole thing is a mess and, as Crazy Badger says, it's likely to change when the BBC charter is renewed. In the meantime, quite a lot of people are choosing to rely on catch-up services and therefore not paying for a licence: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/...l-way-to-avoid-paying-the-TV-licence-fee.html
     
  12. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

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    #12
    If you have a TV in the house, I'm pretty sure they'd win any argument you might have about only watching catch-up TV. You'd stand a bit more chance with just a monitor/computer or tablet, but as you say most services now let you watch live TV anyway. The whole model for the license fee is due for an major overall as the landscape is so different from when it was first introduced. I pay mine by Direct Debit and I think it's well worth the ~£12 a month it costs.
     
  13. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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    UK
    #13
    There is no aerial on my building, and I cut the cable from the satellite dish, so I think I'm good.

    I think the BBC could do with slimming down. It's not clear to me, for example, how this is any part of its remit: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/07/bbc-give-away-1m-microbit-computers-schoolchildren

    And I'm not enthusiastic about supporting a vast, expensive party for wealthy people masquerading as a television programme. Especially not when it offers a showcase to bigots. I'm one of the 134,254 people who have signed this petition: https://www.change.org/p/the-bbc-sh...from-sports-personality-of-the-year-shortlist
     
  14. jimsmac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2001
    #14
    I would be fine with that combination but think i'm going to need to hold off just a little longer until the iPlayer app appears and maybe a more reliable way of watching Freeview TV (if it ever does). Although the concept of tv on demand is great I still like to be 'pushed' a schedule to pick programs from to watch. Maybe just an old fashioned view, but i'm the same with Spotify. Presented with nearly every song on the planet to play I'm often struggling to think what to put on!!

    Interesting. Does the Roku do Freeview over the internet and iPlayer etc?

    Thanks. While it will be good to have that option, for our family it won't work if someone needs a separate device to get the TV working.

    That's what I'm thinking as well. I think I'm going to hold out a little longer.
     
  15. NeilHD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    #15
    Having just got yet another Virgin price increase email I'm tempted to ditch it, too.

    I have the XL package, but hardly watch it. I have Now TV already (because all the good shows are on Sky Atlantic and Virgin doesn't carry that), and Netflix, and they are the 2 things I use the most. Apart from that it's sometimes some normal TV (BBC mostly). I don't get enough use from the 200+ channels, but what holds me back is that it's nice to sometimes flick through the channels and just watch something without having to decide what to watch... i.e. I ended up watching Wayne's World the other night, as it was on one of the far-up channels. Was great!

    If there was a good way of getting the Freeview channels via Apple TV in HD then I'd probably bin the Virgin stuff and just keep the broadband.
     
  16. rctlr macrumors 6502a

    rctlr

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    May 9, 2012
    #16
    The Government will be putting something in the Charter, as the current one ends next year, in regards to BBC iplayer and streaming services and the TV Licensing.
    With the EU wanting to allow BBC Streaming to work in Europe for UK people (!) then there needs to be some mechanism to authenticate - a TV License login seems like the way to go.
     
  17. RB1959 macrumors member

    RB1959

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    #17
    They'll need to increase the Satellite footprint again if they do that as a lot of people across Europe can no longer get a signal from the new tighter beam satellite. I'm sure many expats across Europe would be happy to pay a license fee to access UK channels without fanying around with VPNs and massive dishes. It would be a win win for all I think, although as we already pay a TV license fee in our respective countries, why not just have one European wide license and be done with it.
     
  18. rctlr macrumors 6502a

    rctlr

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    May 9, 2012
    #18
    I don't think countries in Europe who have dropped licenses like the UKs would be up for that.

    My opinion - keep the TV License, and people subscribe with it in the uk, they can then subscribe when in a different country without limitations.
    For the rest of the world, a subscription service for them (about 7 euros a month), like netflix.

    This ditches VPN and all that tom-foolery
     
  19. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    One of the reasons I ditched Sky was because there were way too many channels, most of which were rubbish. Even Now TV has too many channels: I'm really only interested in Sky Atlantic, Sky 1 and Comedy Central.

    I preferred the days when there were only three channels, and even those weren't on 24 hours a day!
     
  20. BingoBlue macrumors member

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    Sep 9, 2014
    Location:
    Philly
    #20
    Roku is currently the more complete solution hence if you are buying for now I would recommend their hardware over the Apple TV without hesitation. I don't know if TVPlayer is available for Roku as I also don't have a TV Licence so not looked to stream live broadcast TV.

    Are you sure you even need that live TV element? I expected to miss it... my wife especially but we've been catch up only for the last few years and wouldn't go back. Our Roku kit combined with catch-up from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and 5oD plus Amazon, Netflix and Now TV cover all our needs.

    A brief point on the TV Licence. You only need one if you watch or record live broadcast TV - just because you have a device capable of watching it doesn't mean you need to pay. It is not a grey area at all therefore using catch up applications like iPlayer is perfectly fine as long as you don't use any of the live TV elements of it.

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/tv-licence

    This may change in the next year or so but currently it is crystal clear that no TV licence is needed for catch up TV where you do not watch or record live broadcast TV.
     
  21. BingoBlue macrumors member

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    Location:
    Philly
    #21
    If they did come knocking they have to catch you in the act of watching/recording live TV or get you to admit to it with a signed statement. For me.... I have removed their applied right of access over my property so the only way they can legally come knocking is with a police search warrant signed by a judge... and i'll happily allow them in to see how much time they have wasted.
     
  22. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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  23. dickovski macrumors regular

    dickovski

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    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    #23
    I ditched the Tivo part and phone line part of my Virgin package in the Summer. Bought a Youview+ box off ebay for £30 which lets you watch and record freeview channels through a normal aerial and has all the catchup services AND a NOWTV app. Works brilliantly, basically does everything I used to do on Tivo but without the subscription cost. Also got an ATV4 when it came out a few months ago mainly for Plex streaming though I'm now more inclined towards Infuse. These 2 devices have me covered and don't cost me a penny on a month by month basis. Obviously still got the monthly internet bill but overall pay a lot less than I used to
     
  24. jimsmac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2001
    #24
    Good timing given this discussion!
     
  25. jimsmac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2001
    #25
    That is an option for me as well but we don't have an aerial on the house so I'd have that up front expense to factor in as well.
     

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