When Virgin Media launched in 2007 with its libraries of TV shows and movies, ‘on-demand’ wasn’t a term as entrenched in the public vocabulary as it is now.
Fast forward six years and it is very much all about the catch-up and the on-demand. While you can, of course, sign up to Lovefilm Instant or whatever you want when you have Virgin Media broadband, if you take the TV package as well, it is worth taking a look the on-demand services that come built in.
Note that this feature specfically focusses on what is available to Virgin Media subscribers. Non-Virgin Media customers can also access movies on-demand online through Virgin Movies.
What do I get with Virgin Media Movies On Demand?
Virgin Media has more than 1,000 films available for Virgin TV subscribers to dip into. Deals with all of the major studios and rights owners mean that titles like Transformers: Age of Extinction, Grimsby, Spectre, Minions and Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation are all available now (at the time of writing, at least).
Rights agreements mean that movies are available on pay-per-view basis for 90 to 120 days after a theatrical release has finished its run in cinemas.
Virgin Media also regularly broadcasts films ahead of their DVD release, with Flight 10 and Stoker examples of movies that were shown at least a week before going on sale to the general public.
There are also same day theatrical release showings. Previous examples include acclaimed documentaries the Stories We Tell and Breathe In.
Prices vary. Some are available for as little as 99p, many cost £2.99. HD movies generally cost £4.99 to rent and same-day DVD releases can cost as much as £9.99 per rental. Once you have started watching a film, it is yours for 48 hours.
There is also now a thing called Sky Cinema, which gives Virgin media customers access to a movie premiere every day, complete with what it calls ‘improved sound’, more than 1,000 films (some of which will be shown as soon as eight months after being in the cinema) and the use of the Android and iOS Sky Cinema app so you can watch these movies when out and about. But it will cost extra.
A WiFi, 3G or 4G connection is needed to watch Sky Cinema content when away from home, so bear in mind potential data costs. A maximum of two devices per account can watch up to two concurrent streams at any time.
What do I get with Virgin TV On Demand?
Virgin Media’s TV On Demand service lets you access BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, 4HD, ITV HD, BBC News HD, Dave, and E4 as well as Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky News and Sky Arts as standard.
Subscribers who pay more for the likes of the Full House TV package can enjoy BT Sport HD, Disney Channel, Dave HD, Fox HD and Gold. The Fun TV package adds various programs for kids, including Nickelodeon, CITV and Cbeebies.
Virgin TV On Demand lets you catch up with TV shows from the last seven days and also comes with access to thousands of hours of on-demand TV content.
How can I watch Virgin Movies and TV on demand?
From the Home button on your Virgin Media remote, navigate to the On Demand menu.
Virgin TV subscribers can also use the Virgin TV Anywhere service. This lets you access the same content on PC and laptop. Virgin Media TiVo subscribers can stream live TV shows and access catch up content through the iPad app.
How does Virgin Movies and TV on demand compare to…
In terms of movie streaming services like Netflix and Lovefilm, it is not perhaps as good value for money if you are keen on watching plenty of movies. For the price of three films you would already have paid more than either of these services cost for an entire month.
That said, neither of these services get movies before they are available on pay per view from Sky Box Office and Virgin Movies. So while you are paying more, you are getting the latest and greatest first.
Additionally, if you are paying extra for Sky Cinema, you get access to movie premieres. Netflix and Lovefilm may have a lot of original content, but they are less effective on the movie front.
There are also extra exclusives in the form of pre-DVD releases and same day theatrical releases and the Virgin Media Short Films you can watch at no extra cost.
If you are after TV content then Virgin Media’s on-demand offering provides a good alternative to streaming services heavy on UK and US content.