Virgin Media vs Sky Q & BT TV

virgin media comparison
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After years of stagnation in the British pay TV industry, things are finally starting to heat up again. Ever since the launch of Sky+ and Virgin TiVo things have remained pretty much the same. Oh, we’ve added things like HD, 3D and catch-up programming, but the general experience has remained much the same. Now, as we get into 2016, there’s are some compelling new options on the market. Namely, Sky Q and BT TV. So, how do they stack up against Virgin Media in key areas? Let’s take a look.

4K

4K content might be thin on the ground at the moment, but the next generation of high-definition TV is gathering pace, and will quickly become an essential feature. So, if you’re planning on buying into a new TV platform for 18 months, it’s good to know that it’s supported.

Starting with Sky Q, the new TV service comes with built in support for 4K, though no 4K content yet. BT TV also supports 4K, but only if you have their top of the range 1TB YouView box. Virgin, meanwhile, has no 4K support yet – far from ideal if you want to futureproof your set up. Doubtlessly, they’ve heard plenty of this on the contact number for Virgin Media and will be updating their service soon.

BT TV is the only platform with regular 4K content, thanks to BT Sport Ultra HD, their UHD sports channel.

Storage

In the golden age of TV, storage becomes crucial. After all, you’ll need all that space to keep track of all the top tier programming on every day. Sky Q tops the list with 2TB, but that’s only in their top of the range Sky Q Silver box. 1TB is standard for Sky Q, as it is with Virgin Media. BT TV can be had in storage-free, 500GB and 1TB flavours.

Connectivity

Millions of brits rely on Internet connections to watch catch up TV, so a good connection is essential. Virgin Media rely entirely on wired connections, so you’ll always have to set it up near your Wi-Fi router. Whilst this means you’ll always have a fast connection, it can be a pain to run a wire to your box. Sky Q features built in support for 2.4GHZ and 5 GHz Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and Airplay connectivity. BT’s boxes have both wired and wireless internet support.

Content

Virgin Media have always had great support for various types of content, offering all the Sky channels (excepting Sky Atlantic) as well as access to things like Netflix on demand. Sky Q will catch up a bit with the addition of things like YouTube, but will continue to omit Netflix, which is a pain. BT TV, meanwhile, is powered by YouView, so it’s got superb catch up TV support, as well as access to all the major streaming services.

Conclusion

Ultimately, your choice will boil down to need. 4K TV is in its infancy, but it will become essential in a few years. It’s all about whether you’re willing to pay for the future just yet. Sky Q is by far the most advanced box, but it lacks the 4K content and is very expensive. Virgin Media does HD very well, but lacks 4K whilst BT TV has 4K but not much else.

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