Virgin Media Offers Peek at Next-Gen Box

Virgin Media, the U.K.’s largest cable operator, used Twitter to present a sneak peek of a next-gen set-top box that will be powered by TiVo and support 4K and a selection of OTT apps.

“Sneak Preview: Say hello to our new Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo. More to come soon. #VirginV6,” the MSO announced Thursday via Twitter, along with an image of the box and a remote control that looks similar to other peanut-shaped devices from TiVo.

Virgin Media has not announced an official launch date or pricing on the box, but offered a few more details in another tweet, in response to questions from leery consumers noting that it will be 4K UHD ready for Netflix and YouTube.

@DCVANS8 We have confirmed that the box will be called the Virgin TV V6 and it is of course powered by TiVo.  It ...

— Virgin Media (@virginmedia) August 11, 2016

Virgin Media’s new box is an example of a new, more powerful “EOS” platform from parent company Liberty Global that will become the MSO’s video workhorse.

The box and accompanying interface will represent a “very significant step up in our ability to [offer] on-demand programming across multiple forms and give our customers access to a wide range of over the top applications,” Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge said last week on Liberty Global’s Q2 earnings call.

Virgin Media is preparing to launch the V6 amid increased competition from Sky and its  Sky Q, the provider’s next-gen whole-home, multiscreen video platform.

Virgin Media has been offering a TiVo-powered experience on devices made by Samsung and Cisco (Technicolor acquired Cisco’s set-top unit last year).  But Arris (which acquired U.K.-based set-top maker Pace in January) announced in 2015 that it had won a 4K box deal with Liberty Global. An industry source confirmed that Arris is indeed the hardware partner for Virgin’s next-gen box paired with software from TiVo, which is in the process of merging with Rovi.