We have finally ditched Virgin. Not because they aren’t any good as an entertainment service – they’re great, on the whole – but solely on cost. Our area hasn’t had fibre broadband for years and we’ve been stuck with Virgin for fast Internet access. It really was the only game in town if we wanted to stream programmes over Netflix and the like.
No longer, however. We have discovered that BT have finally got their fingers out and expanded Infinity into our area, so we’ve signed up. We have more than halved our subscription cost at a stroke. Virgin tried to match it, but too late – that ship has sailed. They’ve been gouging us for years; so long My Branson.
We’ve had diminishing needs to record stuff too. There are so many catch-up services that we rarely ever need to actually record anything, so we’ve also had an aerial installed (we didn’t have an aerial at all when we moved in seven years ago) so now we can also receive terrestrial telly too, so we didn’t have to sign up to the BT television services.
We discovered, unfortunately, that our second telly in the sun-room only has a standard definition TV receiver, so no BBC One HD for us – problematic if we wanted to watch Blue Planet II. What to do? I could have bought one of those lovely PVR devices but the good ones are rather expensive, so I decided to get a Now TV Smart box. This includes a HD receiver and some smart TV apps too.
First impressions are generally favourable. It has a nice interface and does a good job with the telly reception, but the channels are not numbered and it’s a long way to scroll down to BBC One HD from the normal BBC One. There’s no Netflix or Amazon Video (Sky, you SUCK) and you cannot side-load apps any longer. I’d have probably been better getting a vanilla Rogo box, but this came with a 3 months voucher for Sky Entertainment, so was essentially free. I quite like it, and I can still get Netflix and Amazon video on both the Firestick and Sony DVD player attached to that TV, but it’s a bit disappointing that it’s missing some simple improvements.
Goodbye Virgin, we liked you, but you were like a funny friend with lots of good stories, but with a tendency to not get your round in (and eat all your food). Too expensive, and, ultimately, a bit of a pain in the arse.