The streaming-based TV box from Virgin Media, ‘Stream’, was announced this week, letting customers watch streaming services and Freeview channels via broadband.
Unlike Virgin Media’s traditional TV boxes (like the TV 360), the Stream is based on broadband, therefore all of its content – from streaming services like Netflix and Freeview channels like BBC 1 – are delivered via the internet.
When compared to some of the leading streaming devices – like the Amazon Fire TV Sticks – the list of apps available on Virgin Media’s Stream isn’t as comprehensive, but it does include many of the major services in the UK.
In addition, you also get a long list of Freeview channels, without needing an aerial or a hardwired cable. However, as with Sky Glass – the streaming competitor from Sky – you only get some, and not all, of the Freeview channels.
So while most of the important ones are here, including CNN which isn’t available on Virgin Media’s other boxes, many major Freeview channels are still missing – such as the NOW 70s / NOW 80s / NOW 90s music channels, SportyStuff TV, QVC and others.
According to Virgin Media 02, more apps and channels will be added in the future. But for now, here’s the complete list of streaming apps and channels which will be available at launch:
Stream from Virgin Media: Streaming Apps
Entertainment And Broadcast Apps:
- Prime Video
- YouTube Kids
- BBC iPlayer
- STV Player
- BBC Sounds
- Dance TV
- Al Jazeera
Freeview Channels Included In The Free Tier
It’s interesting to note that most of the channels are available in HD – even channels that aren’t currently in HD when you use a Freeview box and an aerial.
- BBC ONE HD
- BBC TWO HD
- ITV 1 HD
- Channel 4
- Channel 4 HD
- S4C HD
- Channel 5 HD
- ITV 2 HD
- BBC FOUR HD
- ITV 3 HD
- QUEST HD
- E4 HD
- Film4 HD
- More 4 HD
- Cbeebies HD
- BBC News HD
- CBBC HD
- BBC Alba HD
- BBC Parliament HD
- W HD
- BBC Three HD
- 5 USA
- ITV 4 HD
- ITVBe HD
- 5Action HD
- Quest Red
- 4seven HD
- FreeSports HD
- CBS Reality
- Tiny Pop
- Great! Movies
- BBC Scotland HD
- Sky Arts
- Sky News
- GB News HD
- RTE One
- RTE Two
- Sky Sports Racing HD
In addition to the free channels, and the 3rd party streaming apps, Stream customers can also subscribe to packages of premium channels from Sky, BT and others – with a 30-days rolling contract.
These are the packages available at launch:
- Sky Sports HD pack (£38.75 a month) – All 8 Sky Sports channels in HD
- Sky Cinema HD pack (£14.99 a month) – All 11 Sky Cinema channels in HD
- Sky Sports HD + Cinema HD pack (£46.25 a month) – All 8 Sky Sports and all 11 Sky Cinema channels in HD
- BT Sport pack (£18 a month) – All 4 BT Sport channels in HD, plus BT Sport Ultimate in Ultra HD
- Essential Entertainment (£12 a month) – 25 channels in HD including Sky Showcase, Sky Max, Sky Sports Mix, Sky Witness,
Sky Documentaries, Sky Comedy, MTV, Gold, Comedy Central, Discovery, Eurosport & Nat Geo
- Kids pack (£4 a month) – Nick HD, Nick Jnr, Nick Jnr Too, NickToons, Cartoon Network HD, Cartoonito, Boomerang
- Starzplay (£4.99 a month) – Top US drama series and blockbuster movies with original STARZ content
What Apps Are Missing From Virgin Media’s Stream Box?
While the selection is impressive, there are several major streaming apps (and channels) that are still missing from the new Stream box. Those include:
Apple TV+ – Apple’s subscription streaming service includes some critically acclaimed programmes such as Ted Lasso, Severance, The Morning Show and more. It’s been around since 2019, but it’s not available on the Stream box yet.
Plex – The popular personal media streamer (see our Plex review) lets you stream video files from your own computer, to the TV. It’s available on almost every streaming device out there, but both Sky – and now Virgin Media – have been ignoring it so far on their streaming devices.
Pluto TV – A service that offers 50+ free streaming “live channels”, which you can flip through with an on-screen TV guide, as well as some on-demand content.
Twitch – Amazon’s live-streaming service that focuses on gameplay videos (though it’s much more than that these days).
NOW (Formerly NOW TV) – Obviously, Virgin Media wants you to subscribe to Sky’s channels via its own “Packages”, and not directly via Sky’s streaming service, NOW. But that poses two issues – some NOW memberships are cheaper than Virgin Media’s packages, and – you can get Sky Atlantic programmes on NOW, while there’s no way to get them on VM’s Stream box.
TalkTV: The new news and current affairs channel, fronted by Pier Morgan, is nowhere to be found – either as a live channel, or with its app (which is available on other streaming devices – though not on Sky Glass). Because the channel is brand new, maybe it’ll be added in the near future.
It’s worth noting that some popular on-demand channels that are not available on Virgin Media’s box – such as hayu, Shudder, LaLiga TV and many others – are available as Prime Video Channels, so you can subscribe and watch them via the Prime Video app on the Stream box.
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