Virgin Media unveils next generation TV box

Virgin Media yesterday unveiled its latest television set-top box, which it has been working on for more than a year. The company claimed it would ''lead a revolution" in British broadcasting.

The system combines live broadcast television with on-demand and online catch-up TV in a far more sophisticated manner than before.

The device also brings to the platform applications similar to those of the Apple iPhone. According to Cindy Rose, the executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, this was a landmark moment in the UK's digital revolution.

In November last year, Britain's biggest cable company had announced teaming up with set-top box maker Tivo, which has revolutionised home television recording in the US, to plan the new Virgin Media product.

Calling it interesting for the market, technology analysts say the move marks a significant development as it is the first time in the UK that a pay-TV provider had combined the 'open internet' with its premium package.

The box features a 1-terabyte hard drive, that allows 500 hours of recording, and three tuners to allow viewers to record two channels and watch the third simultaneously.