TV viewing has stopped being just about a classic TV set and a boring living room for a while, with countless new devices across the world now supporting live streaming of TV channels, as well as many other ways of juggling with video content.
The latest service to allow TV consumers to enjoy their favorite content anytime and anyway they want is Virgin TV Anywhere. Launched by Virgin Media in the UK, this provides Brits with access to up to 45 channels (for now), as well as to 4,000 hours of on-demand services.
Unfortunately, the number of devices supported by Virgin TV Anywhere is not as generous as we would have expected, with Android being by far the most notable absence from the list. Virgin Media’s disrespect to our favorite mobile OS is that more hurtful when thinking that there’s a TV Anywhere dedicated app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Windows-based PCs and laptops, but also Apple’s Macs have their own browser-based portals, while UK Android users will just have to wait until “sometime next year” to get their own app. Not cool, Virgin, not cool at all!
Still, if you’re not planning on using TV Anywhere on an Android, you should know that you’ll need a Virgin TV subscription to access the service on your desktop or laptop, and an additional TiVo box to make it work on your mobile device.
Out of the total 45 channels available, there are only 25 supported by both the mobile app and desktop browser for live streaming, including ESPN, British Eurosport, CNN and Cartoon Network. Sky Sports 1 through 4 and all the Sky Movies channels are only accessible on laptops and computers, while the sole UK terrestrial channel included is Channel 5 (both on PCs and via the app).
Sky On Demand is the pack leader when it comes to on-demand content, but you’ll also be able to watch past programs from BBC or ITV. Other perks for mobile users include the ability to record and manage favorite shows remotely, rate programs with a Thumbs Up/Down feature, share what you’re watching on Facebook or Twitter, and even use your devices as remote controls for your TiVo boxes.
Virgin TV Anywhere only lets users register up to two devices for the service, which can however be changed monthly. You can therefore make use of the service on your iPhone and Mac for one month, and then you can access it on a PC and iPad the next month, and so on and so forth.
Finally, let’s also mention that, besides the somewhat limited content on the go and the lack of Android support, Virgin TV Anywhere has another major weakness. The service doesn’t support 3G streaming for mobile devices, so you’ll need Wi-Fi at all times.
All in all, this is great news for anyone craving for a solid Sky Go alternative, but Virgin Media has a lot of extra work to do to make TV Anywhere as cool as it could (or should) be. Do you guys agree? Are you as pissed as we are that there isn’t an Android app “yet”?