12 things to expect from Virgin Media's next-gen box

When TiVo meets UK cable

7. Enhanced search and 8. Curation

Perhaps the most vital functionality in the new TiVo boxes is the use of search. The word being used all over the place is 'curation' meaning the way in which the masses of content are brought together and displayed in a way which is relevant to the user and search is central to that.

TiVo's principle is that if you are looking for a TV show then the channel, type or access to that programme is of secondary interest. If you are looking for the latest episode of Lost, for example, then you should be given all options – VOD or linear – or be told when the episode is actually going to be available.

Search

So therefore search is of huge importance – and TiVo's search orders things by popularity; start typing and just like the awesome bar in Firefox, or auto suggest in Bing and Google, the option start to narrow down with the most popular choices appearing first be it actor or show.

When you arrive at the show or actor the way in which the results are displayed are important. To continue with our example going to the Lost page will bring up show information, cast, an episode guide and, crucially, when (and where) you can watch or record them.

Why is this cool? Because you don't need to trawl through the listings looking for a programme – you can just find all the content from a series (or actor) in one place.

9. Internet content

Another thing that features for each show on the TiVo box is selected internet content for each programme or actor. Essentially a search is run for content on YouTube appending the name of the show and the world TV – not exactly sophisticated but potentially useful.

Although VM might well not go exactly down this route – the principle of using internet data to boost TV watching is clear, and some kind of YouTube access is likely to be enhanced with other routes to web content.