Virgin Media is taking aim at Sky with the telecoms firm announcing the launch of an all-new and ultra-flexible way to tune into TV. The firm’s new Stream device is a mini box that plugs straight into any telly with customers then able to beam content to the big screen via their broadband connection. There’s no messy installation with the box arriving in the post for a simple plug and play set-up.
Now, you might be thinking that there are already plenty of streaming devices, such as Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, that do exactly the same as Virgin’s new offering. Where the telecoms firm is hoping that its Stream box will beat its rivals is thanks to the way users will watch and pay for content. The firm says it will make it easy to add and remove different services with customers not being forced to sign up for lengthy contracts.
In fact, options such as Sky Sports, Disney+ and Netflix can be chopped, changed and cancelled at any time. That means you can subscribe to Disney for a month, then cancel or switch to Netflix or Sky channels without any fuss. You can even stop paying completely and simply watch for free via services such as BBC iPlayer.
Everything then appears on one simple bill so users can keep an eye on their monthly spending.
With the cost of living increasing and recent news that millions of homes are cancelling subscriptions, this box might arrive at just the right time.
Other features include a compact design that’s small enough to pop in your pocket plus you can control everything via your voice. Streams can be viewed in full 4K and there’s the option to pause live TV although you can’t record shows as there’s no hard disk.
Virgin also says that the box will learn viewing habits and display favourite content on the homepage to make things much easier to find.
If that all sounds exciting then Stream will be available from tomorrow, April 27 although you will need Virgin Media broadband to get access to the device
It will cost £35 to order with customers then able to add more services depending on what they want to watch. As we mentioned earlier, you can then view without paying a subscription fee or add every streaming service going. It’s worth noting that the more you add the cheaper things get with Virgin applying special discounts.
This device from Virgin will now go head-to-head with Sky’s Stream Puck which is coming to homes later this year as a standalone product.
Until now, the Stream Puck had only been available to those who purchased a Sky Glass telly but that’s soon about to change with Sky revealing that it will launch this device to everyone later in the year.
Like Virgin’s Stream device, the Stream Puck lets users watch their favourite channels via a broadband connection.
As Sky learns from your tastes and viewing habits, new recommended shows from Netflix, Apple TV+ and Prime Video will appear on the homescreen alongside live events and new boxsets available from Sky’s exclusive channels.
Users will also be able to pause live television, skip adverts, search for new titles using voice search.
Unlike Virgin, Sky hasn’t announced a release date for its Stream Puck but expect more new soon.