mannerisms

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Sky vs. Virgin

The Sky vs Virgin battle, which surfaced last month with Sky withdrawing its news service and other programmes from Virgin’s TV channels, is taking on an intriguing new technical direction.

Virgin Media which delivers its TV services via cable, is currently offering 10Mbits/sec, is promising 20Mbits/sec service from this May, and its engineers are hinting at the possibility of 40Mbits/sec, or even 50Mbits/sec, by Christmas. Of course this sort of capability makes possible Virgin services like video on demand. You can order up a film and have it streamed to your TV with this sort of capability. By contrast, Sky’s so-called ‘video-on-demand’ service, based on ADSL, has to send its films to your set-top-box’s hard disc to be played back at a later date. So the Sky vs. Virgin battle is going to come down to DSL vs cable. It’s would cost BT a bomb to bring fibre close enough to the curb to make it economic to deliver tens of Mbits/sec via VDSL for the final few hundred yards to consumers’ homes. Will BT do it? Will Sky subsidise it? I doubt it. So the Richard vs Rupert battle to provide Quadplay (or Four-play) services to the home is going to come down to bandwidth. And it looks like Richard has more of it.

Tags: capability, christmas, consumers, news service, rupert

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2 Comments

  1. darren green
    May 02, 2007 14:18

    Virgin is a much better service than sky overall. On Demand through cable truely is revoluionary! It makes it worth every penny. Virgin’s broadband, although slower on paper against competitors, isn’t! Broadband through cable is using modern technology (laid in the last 20yrs max) versus a 70-100yr old network through B.T. so their 8 meg pretty much balances out with Virgins 2 meg (definately 4 meg from Virgin is better, and 10 meg is again out of this world, your pc won’t keep up) A good tip to save money overall is to do the following… take the 2 for £20 deal from Virgin (tv and broadband) and then also open a bt account. BT I feel is a bit cheaper on calls. One snag, you only get the Extra Large (XL) tv package on 3 for £30 according to Virgin’s website, whereas the Large (L) TV parckage on 2 for £20. However, call the sales team up and let them know that if they offered you the XL on 2 for £20 that for you it would tip the ballance towards them from sky. I’m sure they’ll give in. One very last tip, if you’re currently a pay as you go mobile phone user or have a pay monthly out of contract and you do not make/send a lot of calls/texts, then consider adding the virgim sim card for only £10 per month extra. It gives you a decent amount of minutes (300 to use on any network) and 300 UK texts! Believe it or noe, I don’t work for Virgin, I’m just sad enough to follow all of this and know what the 2 companies offer. Cheers

  2. Virgin User
    April 21, 2007 16:16

    “So the Richard vs Rupert battle to provide Quadplay (or Four-play) services to the home is going to come down to bandwidth.”
    Bandwidth won’t win custom with rubbish customer service. I’m moving to Sky, why you ask…?
    For the past three months I have been charged double each month. Even when they accept their mistake and review the bill (which I promptly pay) they then send me a reminder for the remainder plus a late payment fee. One month I paid the bill three times and I still got hate mail!!!
    Forget the £30 for three deal and forget giving them your bank details for direct debiting (they just take what they want). Over three months I have paid £245.00 to bloody Virgin because they simply don’t know what they are doing. One dept. doesn’t know what another has promised, and they don’t care about the customer.

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