Virgin Media just launched the Virgin V6 multi-room home entertainment service, which offers 4K streaming and on-demand content just like Sky Q. But what’s the difference between Sky Q and Virgin V6 and which is best for you? Here’s our full comparison review.
What is Virgin V6?
The new Virgin V6 box is smaller and ten times faster than the previous Virgin Tivo box, but the dimensions and specs aren’t the exciting part. What’s exciting is that this is one of the first true rivals set to take on Sky Q.
Virgin V6 is all about multi-screen entertainment in your home. You can watch live TV and get stuck into some on-demand film and TV streaming, across multiple rooms in your home and with full support for mobile devices. You can enjoy some gorgeous 4K Ultra HD visuals, and record up to six channels at once.
So, how does Virgin V6 compare with Sky Q, the other massive multi-room home streaming service here in the UK? Here’s our full V6 vs Sky Q comparison review.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Multi-room streaming
The Virgin V6 box can stream content to another V6 box anywhere in your home, as long as they’re both hooked up to your WiFi network. You can also stream from the V6 box to your mobile devices (phones and tablets) via the V6 app. More on this later.
Sky Q can do the same, with its Sky Q Mini Box and the Sky Q app. In both cases, you can start a show or movie in one room and then move to another room to pick up exactly where you left off, with minimal fuss.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: 4K content and HDR
Anyone with a 4K TV is going to be happy with both of these services, as they both give you Ultra HD entertainment.
Virgin V6 supports 4K Ultra HD streaming, so you can enjoy UHD entertainment in any room of your house. We’re yet to receive confirmation on exactly what content will be available in 4K however.
Likewise, Sky Q offers sports, movies and more broadcast in 4K resolution, with a strong selection of content now available. Check out our guide to watching 4K video on Sky Q for more info.
As for HDR video support, Virgin has confirmed that the V6 box will provide support for this at a later date. Meanwhile Sky is still looking at HDR support, and we’re expecting this feature to be introduced in 2017.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: TV recording
Virgin V6 boasts the ability to record six shows at the same time, while watching a seventh. Each individual box will be able to do this, meaning a home with two boxes will actually be able to record twelve channels at once while watching two different channels. Which is frankly bonkers.
At the moment Sky Q maxes out at four (with the ability to watch a fifth channel), although the next Sky Q update will bring in support for six channel recording to match Virgin’s offering.
The Sky Q box comes with up to 2TB of storage, while the V6 box has 1TB of space for your recordings. Of course, each additional V6 box that you add to your network gives you a further 1TB of storage, while the Sky Q mini boxes have no extra storage space for your video; they can only stream from the main box.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Sports
Both services will offer streaming of the latest sporting events, as well as catch up. However, Sky Q also gives you split-screen sports action, with the ability to watch two sets of football match highlights at once, for instance. The Split Screen feature can also be used to watch replays and multi-angle footage.
While Sky offers 4K sports streaming, we’re yet to receive confirmation on what Ultra HD sports V6 will deliver.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Third party apps
Third party apps and services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, Hay U and Vevo are all supported by Virgin V6. Sky Q supports the likes of iPlayer and YouTube, but so far there’s no built-in Netflix streaming.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Intelligent search
Virgin V6 boasts some impressive Intelligent Search which can hunt for content across all platforms, including apps. In other words, searching for a show will also search for episodes in the likes of Netflix.
Sky Q can also quickly search for content in the blink of an eye, and will return results from the coming week in the EPG as well as any on-demand content. Of course, with no support for Netflix, it can’t search the streaming app for shows and movies.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Mobile support
Both Virgin V6 and Sky Q give you the ability to download or stream any recordings and on-demand content to mobile devices. On V6 this is through the Virgin TV Anywhere app, while Sky has the Sky Q app (now available for iOS and Android too).
Virgin has also launched its very own TellyTablet device, a 14-inch Android device with a kickstand, HD screen and four speakers that’s designed to sit anywhere in your home. You get 32GB of storage plus microSD memory card support and two full-sized USB ports, but no HDMI support.
You can pre-register for the Virgin TellyTablet from tomorrow.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Kids
Virgin V6 customers can also download and use the Virgin Kids app for free, which is aimed at tykes between the ages of 3 to 6. This allows your sprogs to play games, read picture books and watch shows from all of the big kids networks. With over 1500 hours of on-demand shows to stream and download, that’s the wee blighters sorted for those lengthy journeys.
The Sky Kids app is also available free to Sky Q customers (as well as standard Sky and Now TV Kids Pass subscribers), and caters to kids between the ages of 3 and 9. You can once again stream a massive catalogue of popular shows, including fan favourites like Peppa and Spongebob. In all there are over 4500 episodes to choose from. Sky Go Extra customers can download shows too, although there are no digital books or games to speak of.
In both cases, the kids app is available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Buy to keep stores
If you want to watch the latest movies before anyone else, good news. The V6 box also gives you access to the Virgin Media Store, which like the Sky Store offers you the chance to buy the latest movies and TV seasons before they hit the usual channels and streaming services.
These are buy and keep services, so you’ll own the digital content and can watch at any time via your box or mobile devices. You’ll also get a DVD through the post, if you demand a physical copy.
Virgin V6 vs Sky Q: Pricing
The Virgin V6 box costs you £100 up-front and then your usual subscription price. However, it can also be picked up for a promotional price of £50 if you choose a Full House or VIP bundle.
The cost of a Sky Q box varies depending on what Sky TV services you choose.
Stay tuned for our full Virgin V6 review.