Virgin Media, and their TiVo using subscribers, had an interesting weekend – in the proverbial sense. Starting on Saturday, after an update Friday night, VM TiVo users discovered their units had lost all scheduled ‘Series Link’ recordings – what we in the US call Season Passes. That’s a fairly serious issue, clearly, as this is the core functionality most users look to their TiVo to provide. The issue persisted into Sunday, with Virgin Media & TiVo working on a solution, which was eventually pushed out late Sunday. While this is a respectably quick turn around for determining the cause of an issue, developing a fix, and getting it pushed out, it still means many VM TiVo users lost core Series Link recording functionality for most of the weekend, and are understandably upset.
We’d like to sincerely apologise for any issues you may have encountered over the last few days with your Series Links failings on our TiVo service.
The issue was caused by a bug in a scheduled update to our TiVo service overnight on Friday, which became apparent to customers during Saturday. We worked across the weekend to resolve the issue and deployed a remedy on Sunday evening. Customers with TiVo should have already started to see their boxes automatically update and we expect all boxes to have the fix in place by Tuesday morning.
In the meantime, customers can force a manual update before then by forcing a service connection. To do this press Home > Help & Settings > Settings > Network > Connect to the Virgin Media TV Service now. It can take up to a couple of hours for the box to complete indexing the new database and for Series Links to re-schedule.
Once remedied, your TiVo box will try and find an alternate showing of the episode you have missed and set it to record. To check this is the case:
- Go to Home > My Shows & Recordings > Manage my Series Links.
- Then select any series where you think you missed an episode over the weekend.
- For that series choose “View upcoming episodes”.
- Make sure that the alternative showing of the episode you missed is set to record.
- If it is not set to record automatically then select “Record this episode also”.
Alternatively, if the programme was on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5, you may find the programme already within Catch Up TV service. Find the programme by scrolling back in the TV Guide, via Search, or within the Catch Up & On Demand menus.
Right now, we’re in the process of ensuring that we’ve completely resolved the issue and that we learn the right lessons to ensure this doesn’t happen again. We’ll also make sure in future we do a better job of keeping our teams and customers updated on issue status.
Once again, many apologies.
Director of TV Technical Operations, Digital Entertainment, Virgin Media
I think they handled the situation well and while it would’ve been preferable to avoid it happening in the first place, well, to put it bluntly, shit happens. No one, no company, and no system is perfect. The real measure is in how they cope with things when they go pear shaped, and I think Virgin Media did a respectable job with this incident. While this is going to smart in the short term, in the long run I think this will be but a minor blip in what has otherwise been a stellar product introduction. And better it happened now, in the early days while the subscriber base is still relatively small, than later on when orders of magnitude more users would be impacted. (Presuming the product does well, of course, though all signs point in that direction.)
I can think of some possible further steps Virgin Media could take to make things right by their customers, such as covering the costs of any paid on demand episodes to replace missed Series Link recordings and/or perhaps issuing a partial credit toward the monthly fee for the lapse in service.
I was watching this unfold via The Virgin Media TiVo Blog, but I’m travelling for work (I’m in Seattle for training) so I didn’t have a good opportunity to blog about it earlier.