Virgin Media launches all-IP Stream platform

David Bouchier, chief TV and leisure officer, Virgin Media O2

Virgin Media has introduced its new Stream all-IPTV platform.

The machine, revealed at an occasion in central London on April 26 and to be launched 24 hours later, is Virgin’s try to rival the likes of Apple and Amazon in providing an aggregation-oriented streaming platform. 

Stream is on the market to Virgin Broadband subscribers for an upfront activation payment of £35, with customers paying for channel packages and SVODs instantly by means of the platform. Subsequently, any buyer taking Stream can get 10% credit score again on the subscriptions they add, providing added incentive to centralise memberships.

SVODs out there at launch on Stream embody Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and BritBox, with the machine additionally providing entry to BVODs together with BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.

The give attention to flexibility extends to what Virgin guarantees is a neater approach of switching subscriptions out and in  for each SVODs and pay TV channel packages. 

Talking on the occasion, Virgin O2 COO Jeff Dodds described Stream as “Streaming for the TV era and TV for the streaming era,” with him and chief TV and leisure officer David Bouchier making a number of focused digs at Sky. “We don’t imagine now we have to turn out to be a TV producer [to deliver a cutting edge product],” mentioned Bouchier.

Sky itself has revealed plans to launch its Sky Stream puck machine as a standalone IPTV product within the UK later this 12 months.

There are nevertheless numerous drawbacks to Virgin’s Stream platform value contemplating which will postpone shoppers. 

Firstly, a spokesperson for the telco confirmed to DTVE that whereas pre-existing Netflix and Disney+ subscribers can login to their accounts, the one approach they will profit from the centralised administration and cost-savings can be to create a brand new account – thus shedding entry to their profiles, watch historical past and watch lists. 

Secondly, at launch, just one Stream machine will probably be supported per family, with an emphasis positioned on shifting the handheld-sized dongle from room to room quite than having a number of pucks positioned round the home. 

The spokesperson additionally confirmed that the £35 upfront price doesn’t buy the machine, however is quite an activation payment. As such, subscribers won’t personal the Stream (not like a equally priced machine from an organization comparable to Amazon or Roku) and must hand it again to the telco if/after they change ISP.

In a press launch, Bouchier mentioned: “At a time of countless leisure alternative and a pressure on family budgets, we’re placing viewers first. Stream clients will solely pay for the leisure they select and might pocket month-to-month financial savings on the content material they add – it’s a actually versatile and private option to benefit from the leisure that issues most, at nice worth. Stream is greater than only a new TV service, it’s an entire new option to get pleasure from linked leisure. Greater than ever, content material and connectivity go hand in hand and with Stream we’re delivering one of the best of each.”

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