Virgin Media is offering a free upgrade to its TV box which lets you record six channels while watching a seventh - but here's why you need to check you're on the best deal first.

The telecoms firm announced it is offering its V6 TV box for free to 2.8 million of its customers, without affecting their contracts.

The V6 box was launched back in December 2016, and has since been given to one million customers joining or upgrading with Virgin Media from this point, so if you're being offered an upgrade now there's a chance you're already out of contract or close to renewal.

The V6 box lets you watch live TV, On Demand and selected recordings on your tablet or mobile, around your home, in addition to allowing you to record six programmes while watching a seventh - it's Virgin Media's equivalent to the Sky Q box.

See our Broadband and Landlines guides for more information.

Check you're still on the best deal

As the V6 box launched more than 12 months ago, and most contracts are one year or less, if you're being offered the upgrade now there's a chance you're out of contract or close to renewal.

If your original contract with Virgin Media has ended and you've moved onto a rolling contract, without negotiating a new deal, you could be paying hundreds of pounds a year more than the promotional rate you originally signed up to. This won't always be the case though, so here's how to check:

  1. Check your account or call Virgin Media to see if you have passed the minimum contract term. If you're still in contract, diarise to check for new deals at least a month before the expiry date.
  2. If you are out of contract, this means you can leave Virgin Media penalty free.
  3. Check the market to see if there is a cheaper alternative. See our Broadband Unbundled tool for our current top picks.
  4. Want to stay with Virgin Media? See our Haggle with Virgin guide to ensure you're at least on their best deal.

Still want the free upgrade?

If you're on the best price, the free upgrade is a good deal. Here's what you need to know:

  • You need to be a broadband and TV customer without a V6 box. You need a package with a connection speed of up to 50Mbps for the V6 box to work.
  • There will be no impact on your contract. Upgrading your box won't enter you into a new contract, or extend your current one.
  • Most will be able to self-install. If you need an engineer visit, you won't have to pay.
  • There are no postage and packaging charges.
  • Your existing kit will stop working once the new V6 box is activated. You don't need to return it.
  • You will be asked to return V6 box if you later switch providers.

If you have Virgin Media TV but not it's ultrafast broadband, Virgin Media told us the V6 box won't work so the upgrade is not available, but has said "there will be promotional offers in place."

Virgin Media giving free upgrade to its top of the range TV box - but there's one thing you need to check first
Virgin's V6 box lets you record six channels while watching a seventh

How do I get it?

Virgin Media said it will be contacting eligible customers in the next few weeks with steps on how to request the V6 box.

When we asked for the box via online chat we were told we could upgrade by calling 0345 454 111, but there's no guarantees this will work.

I have recently paid to upgrade, what does this mean for me?

We asked Virgin Media if it would refund or credit customers who have recently paid to upgrade. A spokesperson said: "Our message to those customers whore already enjoying the V6 is that were always looking at ways to surprise and delight our customers - whether thats speed improvements, new equipment and services or fantastic new TV programming".

Virgin Media does have a 14 day cooling off period after ordering services, in which you have a right to cancel. You may however struggle to get any installation and activation costs back, but there's certainly no harm in trying. See our Consumer Rights guide for more information.

What does Virgin Media say?

David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media said: "We believe that our finest kit shouldn't just be for new customers. So were kicking off one of the largest existing customer upgrade programmes ever seen in the UK, accelerating the rollout of our best ever set-top box.

"Our customers tell us how much they love using the V6 box and watch more TV when they have one. As a central entertainment hub, fired by our superior ultrafast broadband, the V6 is built for apps and the best on-demand TV experience - whether its iPlayer, Netflix or thousands of box sets."

Have your say