Virgin Media TiVo BBC iPlayer app hands-on

One of the many exciting features about the Virgin Media TiVo box (or Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo box, to give it it's full name) is its ability to run Flash based applications, housed in their own section on the menu system. And those who have had their box installed will have already noticed that BBC iPlayer was one of those featured from the off.

However, that was a cut-down Beta version of the service, with many aspects - such as HD content - missing. And regardless, Virgin Media has had BBC catch-up video available to all of its V+ HD and V+ customers for some time - longer than any rival - available through its EPG.

Now the iPlayer app has been upgraded to full status, to feature all the diverse and rich content that the Beeb offers, HD and otherwise. And it offers in-app search functionality and everything you'd expect from the VOD platform.

But what one hand giveth, the other doth taketh away...

Unfortunately, while the iPlayer application even offers more BBC-centric content than Virgin Media's own catch-up delivery service ever has, you can no longer access on demand Beeb programming through the VM TiVo EPG. Where there were once little "C" logos on BBC shows (both forward and back in time) to signify catch-up content availability, there are now blank spaces.

Of course, with a 1TB hard drive you can always series link your favourite shows. And the TiVo functionality records programming it thinks you'd enjoy based on your viewing habits anyway, so in all likelihood you'll have the show you missed already immediately available to you, and stored for longer than a week.

Then, of course, the full iPlayer service is but a few clicks away on a remote control, and it'd be a particularly lazy viewer who couldn't be bothered to navigate a little further than before.

And we'd be surprised if Virgin Media isn't already working on a way to link from individual programme listings in its EPG to the app, and will offer that as a firmware update somewhere down the line. Who knows, it may even be implemented by the time the box is rolled-out in greater numbers.

Incidentally, existing V+ and V+ HD customers have been completely unaffected. BBC catch-up content is still accessible through the Virgin Media front end.

Read our extensive Virgin Media TiVo box review, with a stack of exclusive pictures.