Virgin Media sneak in a VIP

VIRGIN MEDIA have added yet another triple play deal to their Big Bundle line-up, including every channel it's possible to get from the provider - and a free second set top box.

The VIP package looks to be Virgin's response to the launch of Sky Q: the TV part of the deal offers their TV XL channel pack plus the premium Sky channels in HD, the provider's best (1TB) Tivo box, and a V HD box allowing customers to watch their package in another room.

That's alongside their up to 200Mb broadband, where available.

The bundle costs £75 a month for the first 12 months, then £99 a month, on an 18-month contract - before line rental, which costs £17.99.

The Very Important Package

The VIP bundle looks at first glance like a direct replacement of the old Big Daddy deal, which Virgin retired when they introduced the Big Fun bundle last year.

But the new deal is cheaper even before we throw in that second set top box.

Package Broadband TV Calls Package price Total monthly price
[package] [speed] 240+ channels (66 HD, including Sky Movies, Sky Sports, and BT Sport) M [price+offer] [totalcost+offer]

By comparison, the old Big Daddy bundle cost £104.50 per month before line rental - and the second box would only be available to people signing up for a Virgin multiroom subscription (more details here), at a cost of at least £6.50 a month on top of that.

Sky Q
...reviewed here
...compared with the rest here

As mentioned above, the inclusion of that second box, alongside Virgin's best Tivo box, makes the VIP deal look suspiciously like direct competition for the new Sky Q packages being offered by Virgin's biggest rival - albeit with much faster broadband.

All this - and Netflix too

The introduction of the VIP deal takes the number of Big Bundles available from Virgin up to five - seven, if we include the Big Kahuna offshoots.

Ignoring those for now, that gives us a range of triple play deals that run from simply having all the basics (if we can call 50Mb broadband basic) up to an all-you-can-eat entertainment pack.

Package Broadband TV Calls Package price Total monthly price
[package] [speed] 60 channels (10 HD) and Tivo M [price+offer] [totalcost+offer]
[package] [speed] 130 channels (11 HD) and Tivo M [price+offer] [totalcost+offer]
[package] [speed] 170 channels (11 HD) and Tivo M [price+offer] [totalcost+offer]
[package] [speed] 230 channels (47 HD) and Tivo M [price+offer] [totalcost+offer]
[package] [speed] 240+ channels (66 HD) and 1TB Tivo M [price+offer] [totalcost+offer]

And to make them even more entertaining still, people buying one of the Big Bundles - including Big Kahuna Sports or Big Kahuna Movies - will also get six months of Netflix free of charge.

Virgin Media
Is it available in my area?
200Mb broadband here
...and their other broadband
Virgin Media TV reviewed
BT or Virgin? here

That's based on using the £44.94 gift voucher for the standard Netflix subscription, which offers SD and HD content on up to two screens at the same time; they can also use the credit to cover the cost of one of the other two Netflix packages.

Those with the four screen / UHD subscription will get five months free, while those with the one screen / SD Basic subscription will get a good seven months of Daredevil, House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and more, without paying a penny.

Existing Netflix subscribers can take advantage of the deal too - their account will be credited with £44.94, giving them something of a payment holiday.

Don't want TV?

Finally, for those who aren't interested in Virgin Media's TV, the ISP appear to have decided that their existing introductory offers for people taking just their broadband and phone services weren't tempting enough.

Not only have they brought in lower promotional prices, but they're offering them for 12 months - up from six months, just a few days ago.

That has the following effect on the cost of broadband and phone bundles:

Package Speed Usage Price Line Rental
[package_only] [speed] [usage] [price+offer] [linerental]
[package_only] [speed] [usage] [price+offer] [linerental]
[package_only] [speed] [usage] [price+offer] [linerental]

The caveat is that the contracts are 18 months long - and Virgin reserve the right to change the prices they charge during that time. They now make this detail much clearer, having had their wrists slapped last August for failing to warn customers this could be the case.

The good news, however, is that under Ofcom rules, they have to give us plenty of warning if they do decide to change the base prices - and then give anyone unhappy with those changes 30 days to leave without penalty.