Virgin V6 Box Review: Does it Live up to the Hype?

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If you’ve been investigating TV packages and bundles like us, you will probably have noticed a lot of talk about set-top boxes or TV boxes. By now you probably know that a set box is an essential part of a TV experience from any provider.Well, the set-top box that you’ll need as part of your Virgin Media TV package or bundle is called the Virgin V6 box and we’ve brought you everything you need to know about this handy piece of hardware in this guide.

What’s a Virgin V6 box and why do I need one?

Before we get into the fancy set-top box that comes with your Virgin TV package or bundle, it’s best to note that firstly, it’s free for all Virgin TV customers, and secondly, that when you get this set-top box, it's not really yours. You will have to return it when your contract is up. The handy thing about this is that Virgin will take care of any necessary repairs during your contract term.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s time to answer two of your important questions about the Virgin V6 box; what is it and do I need one? The Virgin V6 box is the hardware item you’ll need to enable you to enjoy your TV experience. You’ll need to connect it to your TV and access the channels you have purchased through your TV package or bundle. You’ll also need it to enjoy some of the features you get with a paid TV experience such as recording multiple shows, storing them and even streaming shows from services such as Netflix or YouTube.

So if you want to do all these things, the answer to the second question is yes, you will need one but you don’t need to go out and buy one separately, it’s all part of your TV package or bundle. This brings us to the next step of actually getting a Virgin V6 box.

How to get a Virgin V6 box

To get your hands on a V6 box, you will have to choose a Virgin TV package or a full TV and broadband bundle which come with the V6 box. Not all of them do as sometimes the Tivo box comes included instead. You’ll get the Virgin V6 box when you sign up for the Bigger bundle and the Oomph bundle.

Virgin V6 box for existing customers

If you’re already a Virgin TV customer, you will have to pay a significant £99.95 for an upgrade to a Virgin V6 box. This is on top of the £25 set-up fee that you’ll also have to pay. If you want additional V6 boxes as an existing customer, you’ll have to pay even more.

Additional boxes will cost you the same; a one-off payment of £99.95 and the £25 set-up fee plus £7.50 per month for having the additional box. It doesn’t seem like the best way to reward loyal, existing customers, does it?

Virgin V6 box for new customers

New customers have it a bit better than existing customers as new customers that sign up to Virgin TV will receive their first V6 box for free. Additional boxes for new customers will then cost £49.95, £25 for set-up plus £7.50 per month for having the additional box.

Free Virgin V6 box upgrade

In 2018, Virgin Media announced that they were offering all their TV customers a free upgrade to the V6 box from the old V+ or VHD box. David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media had the following to say:

"We believe that our finest kit shouldn’t just be for new customers. So today we’re kicking off one of the largest existing customer upgrade programmes ever seen in the UK, accelerating the rollout of our best ever set-top box," commented David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media.”

While this sounds like a very generous offer, customers have been complaining that while they got their upgrade to the V6 box, their monthly fees went up without any notice. This shouldn’t happen so if you know you’re eligible for a free upgrade but you’ve noticed that you’ve been charged higher monthly fees, contact Virgin as soon as possible.

Installing my Virgin V6 box

Installing your V6 box should take just under an hour. First, you’ll need to uninstall your current set-top box and activate your new one. To activate the new V6 box you need to contact Virgin with your kit number (the number that came with your V6 box), account number and area reference ready.

Uninstalling your old set-top box should take about 10 minutes. You might need to use a spanner and because Virgin likes to make life easier for its customers, you’ll be sent a spanner just in case! Switch off your power socket, your current set-top box, and remove the cable. Remove the connector cable and the HDMI lead that connects your current set-top box to your TV.

Now that you’ve uninstalled your old set-top box, you can begin preparing for the installation of your new V6 box.

Before you install your V6 box

To install your Virgin V6 box, you need to have the following items ready:

  • Virgin TV V6 box
  • Virgin TV V6 Box power supply
  • Ethernet cable
  • Cable adaptor
  • Virgin V6 TV remote
  • HDMI cable

Steps to install your V6 box

Once you have all the above ready, you’re ready to go. This is what you need to do next:

  1. Connect the short adaptor cable to the connector cable that was plugged into your old set-top box.

  2. Connect the adaptor and the ethernet (the one with the yellow ends) to your new set-top box.

  3. Connect the other end of the ethernet cable to your Hub.

  4. With the HDMI cable, connect your V6 box to your TV.

  5. Connect the two parts of the power supply and plug it into a power socket.

  6. Connect the power supply to your V6 box.

  7. Switch on the power socket at the wall and the power button at the back of your V6 box.

Connecting my Virgin V6 box

You’ve now installed your V6 box! Well done, you’re almost there. You now need to finish the installation by connecting everything together and turning everything on. Using your TV remote, push the Input, AV or Source button. Then you’ll see options for ‘Input Selection’ where you’ll have to scroll down to choose the HDMI1 port you connected to.

Then the screen should turn on and once it has loaded, your software will begin downloading which could take up to 20 minutes. This is if you connected via the ethernet cable. Once the download has finished, you’ll see another screen telling you that the TV guide needs to be loaded. Press OK and you should now see the Home screen with all your TV options. That’s it! You’ve now connected your new set-top box to the TV and the internet and are ready to begin your TV experience with Virgin.

Virgin V6 box connections

To connect one V6 box to your Virgin hub and your TV, you’ll need an ethernet cable, a cable adaptor and an HDMI cable. You’ll be able to connect these cables at the back of the V6. Below you can see all the connections you can make to the V6.

How do I connect my Virgin V6 box to Wifi?

If you didn’t use the ethernet cable to connect your set-top box to your Hub because they’re more than 3 meters apart, you can connect it to Wifi although it’s recommended to just get a longer cable if possible as performance can be reduced when using Wifi.

Connecting your V6 to your Hub is simple. If during the set-up process your V6 can’t find an ethernet connection, it will remind you to connect your Hub to the set-top box using a cable. Use your Virgin remote to select ‘Other Options’ and you’ll be taken to another screen to connect to Wifi.

Then you’ll be asked to connect to your home Wifi like normal, by selecting your network and entering your password. You can make all the selections and enter details using your remote.

What can my Virgin V6 box do?

With more and more providers offering an increasing number of services in high definition, it’s not really a unique selling point anymore and Virgin has decided to go above and beyond and keep up with others like Sky Q, by offering 4K on their V6 box. Virgin is calling its V6 box its smartest, smallest and fastest box yet, but what can it actually do?

After you’ve chosen your Virgin TV package or bundle, installed and connected your Virgin V6 box, you can finally enjoy doing the following:

  • Record up to 6 channels at the same time while watching a seventh
  • Pause, rewind and record live TV
  • Store 500 hours of SD content
  • Store 100 hours of HD content
  • Access to between 10 and 85 HD channels (depending on the package)
  • Search for your favourite content using the search function
  • Put parental locks in place
  • Receive personalized recommendations

Virgin V6 box specs

If you really want to prepare to receive your Virgin V6 box, it might help to know the technical specifications, especially the exact size of the V6 box if you already know where exactly you want to put it in your home. Below are some of the basic but important specifications that you might need to know.

Size: 230mm x 153mm x 55mm

Weight: 1.04kg

Front panel features: 1x channel down button, 1x channel up / find my remote button, 1x standby button, 3x LEDs Wireless

Core system features: 1TB Hard Disk which allows the recording of 100 hours of HD content and 500 hours SD content. This also allows you to record six programmes whilst watching a seventh.

If you need to know any other details such as the power consumption features or what exactly you’ll find on the rear you can check out Virgins V6 fact sheet and scroll to the bottom for this information.

Virgin V6 box problems

With any piece of hardware, there are usually problems and the V6 is no exception. It’s worth mentioning that Virgin TV customers have been waiting a long time for Virgin to upgrade their old Tivo box for something faster, more reliable and something that supports 4K and HDR viewing. It’s finally here but it’s far from perfect. Virgin V6 customers are experiencing two main problems with their V6 box.

V6 box freezing

One common problem that customers are having with the V6 box is that it freezes regularly due to being unable to recognise the remote. If this happens, it’s recommended to pair the remote and put it on RF mode to make the remote multi-directional. Then you’ll be able to control the V6 box better as RF mode is known to be more stable and to use less battery.

To do this, you’ll need to go to the Remote Control Pairing option on your TV by heading to Home > Help & Settings > Settings > Devices > Remote Control Pairing. Then all you have to do is follow the instructions on the screen to change the mode.

Flickering picture

If you’re experiencing issues with your screen flickering, you’re not alone. This is a common issue that customers are complaining about and what’s worse is that even the Virgin engineers don’t know what the exact cause of this issue is. While there are a few ways to temporarily solve the issue, it seems like an ongoing problem that Virgin needs to deal with once and for all.

If this happens to you, try restarting your V6. This might take between 10-15 minutes. Yes, it’s a pain but it is generally known as the most effective way to deal with this problem for now. Another solution you can try is to “trick” your V6 box into thinking it’s a games console. This can be done by going to the picture menu and setting the default to game mode.

If restarting or switching the V6 box to games mode doesn’t fix the issue, it might be that your TV is not compatible with the V6 box although really, your TV need only have a HDMI port to be compatible. As we said, this issue needs to be solved by Virgin as it’s most likely hardware-related.

Virgin V6 box troubleshooting

If apart from these two main problems, you’re facing other issues, there are some simple steps to troubleshoot your V6 box. If your V6 box isn’t working, it could be an easy fix.

My V6 box won’t connect to the internet

If your V6 box isn’t connecting to the internet, it could be that you’re having some internet issues and all you need to do is restart your router. An alternative could be taking out your ethernet cable, leaving it plugged out for a few minutes and then plugging it back in.

My picture isn’t displaying properly

If your picture isn’t displaying properly, it could be that one of your cables isn’t plugged in properly. Check all the cables are connected properly at the back of your V6 box, especially the HDMI cable if the issue is with the picture display.

Why is there an amber flashing light on my V6 box?

If you see a flickering amber light on your V6 box, this means that the V6 box is having trouble connecting to your home Wifi. In this case, go through the same steps as when your V6 box won’t connect to the internet and restart your router and maybe even unplug the ethernet cable.

How do I reset my V6 box?

Sometimes,fixing any of the issues you might be having with your V6 box is a matter of resetting your internet or the V6 box itself. To reset it, you can use your Virgin remote to simply turn it off and if it isn’t responding because it’s frozen, you can hold the Standby button on the V6 box itself until it turns off.

You can also do a full reset by turning it off using the power button at the back of the box and unplugging it from the power supply.

How much does the Virgin V6 box cost?

As we mentioned earlier, the price of the Virgin V6 box depends on whether you’re a new or existing customer and in this case, new customers end up getting a better deal. If you’re already a Virgin TV customer, the V6 will cost you £99.95 plus the £25 set-up fee. If you then want to get an additional box, it will again be £99.95 for the box and £25 for the set-up fee plus £7.50 per month for having the additional box.

New customers will receive their first V6 box for free but will then have to pay for an additional box, albeit less than existing customers. Additional boxes for new customers cost £49.95, £25 for set-up plus £7.50 per month for having the additional box.

Remember that all customers who get a TV or broadband deal that comes with a Virgin V6 will get it for free and that these prices are for TV-only customers and those who choose the most basic TV and broadband deal (which doesn’t come with the V6 included).

Although existing customers have to pay a lot more for the V6 box, at least Virgin doesn’t discriminate when it comes to the £25 set-up fee, charging both new and current customers alike for this.

Virgin V6 prices for new and existing customers

Customer

New customer

Existing customer

Set-up fee

£25

£25

Price of the first box

Free

£99.95

Price of additional box

£99.95

£49.95

Monthly fee

£7.50

£7.50

Virgin V6 box reviews: what’s the word on the street?

The word on the street is that customers have been waiting a long time for Virgin to upgrade their older Tivo box but it’s turned out to be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ as many customers now want their older Tivo box back.

Users are very happy with the speeds however there have been recurring complaints about the same issues over and over again, the freezing and the flickering images, and some are even saying that they just want the old Tivo back as it gave them fewer problems.

Virgin doesn’t seem to be too worried about these comments as they’re not doing much about it. Even in the community forum, the solution from a Virgin team member is to always call an engineer to your house.

The problem with this is that according to customers in the community forum, the engineers don’t seem to be much help. They fix the problem temporarily but then it happens again. One tired customer has even called out an engineer four times, with no long-term solution in sight.

Our Verdict on the Virgin V6 box

We love the fact that Virgin has finally updated its set-top box and is trying to provide its customers with the best possible TV experience. Adding 4K content and HDR is a big step in the right direction as these two features have become more and more common, and quite frankly providers can’t afford to have them.

The V6 is keeping up with its rival set-top boxes by allowing multi-room viewing as well as multi-use on different devices. It's actually a step ahead of its rivals by allowing you to install streaming services on it like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It’s really got everything covered, well, not absolutely everything.

Although 4K content is now available to Virgin customers, the content that can actually be watched in 4K is very limited, and by very limited we mean there’s no actual 4K content. It supports 4K content but you’ll only be able to enjoy this if you have a subscription to a third-party streaming service such as Netflix.

4K is becoming more and more common and customers are expecting to be able to watch their favourite programmes in 4K quality.

Next, we have the price factor. It’s definitely positive that you can get the V6 box for free with most TV and broadband deals, otherwise, those prices would be through the roof but it’s still not cheap if it doesn’t come included in the deal you choose or if you get a TV-only package.

We’re also not fans of themonthly fee and the fact that if you want an additional box, you don’t get rewarded with discounts. If you want to keep this box, bear in mind that it’s not going to be cheap.

Although there is a big difference in the performance of the new Virgin V6 box while using it, there are regular problems with the freezing and flickering images. While we discussed some ways to solve these issues, we believe that the root cause of them is related to the hardware which Virgin will need to sort out and at the moment they don’t seem to be doing anything about it, apart from sending out various engineers to people’s house with no final solution.

To us, it’s unacceptable to not take action to fix these issues immediately. The V6 box isn’t exactly cheap, customers are paying big money to have it, they expect a lot more, and so they should. As we’ve seen multiple customers complaining about these issues over and over again, it really gives us the sense that Virgin just isn’t doing anything about it.

In summary, we think the V6 box is a step in the right direction with all its features. Also, we can’t look past the fact that although it’s not cheap, it’s still not as expensive as the Sky Q box, for example. If you are looking to get a TV and broadband deal, doing it through Virgin is a fantastic idea as you’ll get the V6 for free in most cases.

Virgin just needs to fix the two main recurring issues and improve its 4K performance and it could be the only TV box anyone ever needs.

Virgin V6 Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Much better performance compared to the old Tivo box

Outdated, old-fashioned interface

Multiroom and multiuse features

Regular, repeated issues that are being ignored

HDR and 4K capability

Price, set-up fees and monthly fees

HDR and 4K capability

Doesn’t actually provide any 4K content