This afternoon, a Virgin Media engineer has arrived to ‘upgrade ’ my existing set top box to a V+ (TV drive).

This is a straightforward box swap. No additional wiring or drilling is required. However, the new box failed to initialise. We both stared expectantly at the following screen for an eternity:

Card Status: No T-Stream


He then called technical services who initiated the operation. He double checked the serial numbers of the V+ box and the card. He tried to bamboozle me with science ‘Hits must be slow today’.

Eventually, he gave up and fetched a second V+ box from his van. I reciprocated with a visitor’s parking permit. It now looks unlikely that this simple box upgrade will be finished within the original 5 minute period.

We made more polite smalltalk like a couple on their first date. We waited. And waited. The ‘IPPV Status’ stubbornly remained ‘BLANK’. He showed me the User Guide - a booklet cunningly disguised in a DVD box.

We waited a little longer. We both pretended to admire the new black V+ remote control.

Suddenly, he exclaimed ‘At last !’. He seemed very pleased the see the ‘Credit Limit’ field change to £105.00. ‘Oh good - it’s finally starting to come through. Shouldn’t be much longer now.’

But it was. We waited. I offered him a cup of tea (‘Ta. Milk, two sugars’).

He called the service centre yet again to quadruple check the serial numbers had been entered correctly. He seemed a little frustrated and annoyed to discover the numbers were not ‘paired off’ (mismatch between STB and SmartCard) correctly.

This news seemed to disappoint him as he said quite forcefully ‘I have been waiting around for 45 minutes for this TV Drive reset’. However, he now seemed supremely confident that this time, the box would be initialised properly in the next 5 minutes.

It wasn’t. We talked. I showed him my holiday photos from Norway. We finished our tea. My wife asked if he ‘would be stopping for tea.’

Eventually, I suggested that he went off to his other three jobs and return later this afternoon. He politely rejected this suggestion, saying ‘No let’s just give it another 5 minutes.’

15 minutes later, he gave up and went off to his remaining jobs, promising to call me later to confirm that the V+ box is finally ready.

However, another 45 minutes has passed and the ‘Card Status’ is still ‘No T-Stream’ so I have a feeling he will be returning but only to reinstate my original set top box.