Virgin media announced yesterday that it would be offering a new box to users called the V HD box that allows punters to watch high definition content for a fixed fee of £49 (on top of the monthly subscription) and is a straight replacement for any existing SD box.
The box is in fact a rebadged Cisco/Scientific Atlanta 4585 (the 4585DVB) and has been available on a trial basis across the United kingdom since the beginning of the year. Virgin Media had also announced a few weeks ago that it will bring back TiVO boxes in the UK.
As mentioned before, the box comes with Ethernet, a single USB, a HDMI port and SCART, will be 3D compatible and has a nice power down function that switches it off, or enters standby or do nothing after three hours depending on setup.
What we've also learnt is that the remote control has been significantly reworked and is flatter and has more logically organised buttons compared to the previous generations from Telewest and VM.
There's a test port as well as optical audio out for those looking to connect their box to their AV receivers plus the smartcard slot is located at the back rather than in the front..
The box, unlike the previous others, is Dolby Digital compatible and some testers have said that it even comes with a nice blue clock and will share the same user interface and EPG as the current versions.
Also a closer look at the remote control shows that there's a red button that looks like a record button.
Add the fact that the box comes with a USB port and you might wonder whether the box will not be able to record to an external HDD effectively converting it into a nice PVR.
As for the Ethernet port, well, Virgin Media could be looking to use the box as a modem and should, in theory, be capable of IPTV. I still currently need to use two boxes rather than one to get internet access from Virgin Media and this not only hikes up the power usage cost but also makes installation more complicated.