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Virgin BEAM app

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DarloRich

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Following on from this thread: http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=131336&page=2

I had chance to use the new BEAM app which allows you to access a selection of dedicated on board entertainments ( films, tv, music etc) while travelling on a Pendolino on Virgin West Coast. Virgin East Coast will follow in due course. The service is free and the content is free to all travelers. Yes, even us denizens of cattle class!

You must download the free app before travel but i happily watched some of Independence Day whilst travelling between MK and Birmingham today.

I think this is a really good idea and something other TOCs should consider following. It worked well and played easily on my smart phone.

Here are some details from the Virgin website:

Virgin: BEAM is our brand spanking new onboard entertainment service: it’s on demand, and it’s on us. For movies and more, from the comfort of your Virgin Trains seat, just download the app before you travel to access hundreds of hours of the latest blockbuster films, TV shows (from the latest episodes to cult classics), games, magazines

and much more straight to your mobile or tablet device.

https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/our-blog/news/2016/06/beam-our-new-onboard-entertainment-service
 
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westv

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The list of films I saw seemed to be the sort of films the newspapers used to give away free as a DVD.
 

DarloRich

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The list of films I saw seemed to be the sort of films the newspapers used to give away free as a DVD.

You are reading a good newspaper if you get some of the more recent films given away: Avengers, Wolf of Wall Street, Captain America

While not brand new releases they are fairly recent and there are some classics like Godfather to watch. It will do me.
 

Darandio

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The list of films I saw seemed to be the sort of films the newspapers used to give away free as a DVD.

Funny that, i've seen none* of these given away for free.

A Beautiful Mind
American Beauty
Avengers Assemble
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Bridesmaids
Bridget Jones's Diary
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Hot Fuzz
Independence Day
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Jurassic Park
The Bourne Identity
The Godfather
The Theory of Everything
The Wolf of Wall Street
War Horse
We're the Millers
World War Z

*Possibly Breakfast at Tiffany's at a push...

And that is without mentioning a pretty good range of TV shows as well.
 

Starmill

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I watched The Theory of Everything on it the other day. A fairly new release which I wanted to see but missed. I was impressed. Even a Netfli original, House of Cards was on there. There need to be at least some Blockbuster films and high-profile TV to attract people to it. I think the hope is that it will dissuade the numpties who try to stream over wifi.
 
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DarloRich

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I watched The Theory of Everything on it the other day. A fairly new release which I wanted to see but missed. I was impressed. Even a Netfli original, House of Cards was on there.

Fear of the Walking Dead also ( which i have seen but only on Amazon)
 

cf111

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I've used a similar system on a Delta flight in the US. It worked very well and although I prefer a book I think it will be a success here if passengers are made aware of it and the content is of a good quality.
 

VauxhallandI

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Funny that, i've seen none* of these given away for free.

A Beautiful Mind
American Beauty
Avengers Assemble
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Bridesmaids
Bridget Jones's Diary
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Hot Fuzz
Independence Day
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Jurassic Park
The Bourne Identity
The Godfather
The Theory of Everything
The Wolf of Wall Street
War Horse
We're the Millers
World War Z

*Possibly Breakfast at Tiffany's at a push...

And that is without mentioning a pretty good range of TV shows as well.

Agree, a better than expected list.

A step in the right direction, credit where it is due.
 

Hellfire

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I'm waiting for the first " Why can't people look out of the window instead?" post:D
 

mugam4

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Do you have to pay for WiFi to access Beam? You do not have to pay for WiFi.
 
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centraltrains

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Does anyone know how the technology of this works? Do they keep all the films and content on a computer on board? One would think that would be logical due to the slowness of train wi-fi generally...
But with so many films and other content this would require quite a large storage capacity...
 

ainsworth74

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Does anyone know how the technology of this works? Do they keep all the films and content on a computer on board? One would think that would be logical due to the slowness of train wi-fi generally...
But with so many films and other content this would require quite a large storage capacity...

I'm sitting next to a 1 terabyte (1000 gigabytes) hard drive right now which would fit in the palm of your average adult humans hand. A two hour HD move is probably in the region of 5 gigabytes so that single hard drive could hold 200 films by itself.

You can have truly staggering amounts of storage capacity without actually taking up much physical room.
 

centraltrains

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Been looking at it a bit more...

Interesting games area...
One would find it interesting if they added on-train live bingo and quizzes like that certain SWT news story for quizes!

"Q. I paused a movie for a little while and now I’ve come back and it’s telling me I can’t watch it anymore!
A. If we’ve reached our limit for movies and TV, we’ll free up spaces from anyone who’s been inactive for a while (we’ve all fallen asleep half way through a movie). You can try again shortly, or try the magazines or games instead."

So there is a limited capacity to this? I wonder how much?


"Q. I was watching a show on my journey down, but going back up I can’t find the same show anymore!
A. We regularly update what’s available on BEAM, make sure you finish watching your favourites before they expire"

If it is an on-board server do you think there will be problems with trains having out of date content?

"Q. Is the internet slow because too many people are watching movies?
A. BEAM access the entertainment held locally on the train, therefore it doesn’t need to go to the internet to show you your movies. If you’re experiencing a slow internet connection, it’s likely that we’re passing through the countryside where there is a poor connection."

That answers my above question. Would like to know more technical details of this though!

Perhaps with this Wi-Fi system with server on train they should be calling it Virgin LAN! (assuming each train is an individual network with no direct connection to the other trains!)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm sitting next to a 1 terabyte (1000 gigabytes) hard drive right now which would fit in the palm of your average adult humans hand. A two hour HD move is probably in the region of 5 gigabytes so that single hard drive could hold 200 films by itself.

You can have truly staggering amounts of storage capacity without actually taking up much physical room.

Yep! 128GB on a micro SD card always blows my mind! I would be thinking more about the processor and RAM required in this device.... Suppose they are small in hands now; but if doing a lot of processing to different people it has to be decent...

I wonder if the system is installed on each coach or once per train as I know some trains you can get free Wi-Fi on if close to 1st class!
 

gimmea50anyday

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TPE supposed to be getring something similar. Suprised tho TPE made a big thing of it whereas Virgin seemed to have introduced it on the QT, trying to stay ahead of the field?
 

johntea

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A few years ago it would have been impressive, these days it is all just a bit 'meh'...funny how technology changes like that so quickly :lol:

It isn't that complex, I doubt they do it this way but on some wireless routers these days you have USB ports and memory card slots which you can connect hard drives and the like to for media streaming which is just one example!
 

DarloRich

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A few years ago it would have been impressive, these days it is all just a bit 'meh'...funny how technology changes like that so quickly :lol:

Why then has now one else offered it until now? I think it is great idea for long distance travel. Now if they could put plugs at each seat.............
 

Mordac

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Was on a Virgin Voyager and wanted to try, but it wasn't installed yet. When I went to the app they just said they'd be "beaming into this train very soon."
 

221129

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Was on a Virgin Voyager and wanted to try, but it wasn't installed yet. When I went to the app they just said they'd be "beaming into this train very soon."

Given that it is only on Pendolinos that isn't surprising.
 

JaJaWa

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Being rolled out across VTEC from September and VTWC (Voyager Services) later in the year apparently.

Timescale has been brought forwards and some East Coast trains now have it with all trains getting it in the next two weeks I believe!
 

SS4

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I'm sitting next to a 1 terabyte (1000 gigabytes) hard drive right now which would fit in the palm of your average adult humans hand. A two hour HD move is probably in the region of 5 gigabytes so that single hard drive could hold 200 films by itself.

You can have truly staggering amounts of storage capacity without actually taking up much physical room.

Closer to 8 GiB isn't it? I've always gone by the rule that 1 hour is 4 GiB as that seems to be the case for my TV at least and I imagine a film more demanding.

I feel this is a Good Thing overall and will help pass the time (looking out the window is boring at night :lol:) and if it helps keeps the noise level down in the train I'm glad. Still won't entice me to use VT over Chiltern or LM though

A few concerns though:

  • There is a limit on the number of people who can watch it - is this first come first serve or does First Class get a better deal?
  • Tying in A above how many people can watch at once. Even with a conservative estimate of 2.5GiB/hr I struggle to see how they'll have the bandwidth even on a local network
  • DRM
  • Will this work on rooted devices? Other apps like Now TV do not claiming the device is insecure
 

matt

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Any ideas if there is likely to be a windows app as my tablet is a Windows tablet. Would rather watch something on that instead of my phone which is Android.
 

ainsworth74

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Closer to 8 GiB isn't it? I've always gone by the rule that 1 hour is 4 GiB as that seems to be the case for my TV at least and I imagine a film more demanding.

Well I did say 'in the region of' :lol:
 

JaJaWa

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Any ideas if there is likely to be a windows app as my tablet is a Windows tablet. Would rather watch something on that instead of my phone which is Android.



They are looking into producing a Windows app.
 
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