NTL bought by Branson?

I've just had a guy knocking at my door from NTL. Apparently NTL has been bought out by Richard Branson, who is looking to inject a wad of cash in getting things up to speed. (Update: Googling about a little, it seems that this is fairly old news, and that Branson isn't the sole shareholder, he's the majority shareholder, owning 14%)

About time.

I said the following:

  1. Customer Service (historically shoddy)
  2. Bit Rate seems to be reduced of late, even on popular channels (the last few episodes of 'The West Wing' suffered from colour banding).
  3. The 'guide' sucks. It also blows. It's slow and only has three days of programmes.
  4. There is only a single tuner in the digibox, so we can't watch one thing and record another. Fortunately with 'second chances' and +1 services, this is rarely a massive issue.
  5. There is no harddrive. This means that:
    1. The guide cannot be cached, which in turn uses bandwidth, reducing speed, and also reducing bandwidth available for channels
    2. Programmes cannot be recorded 'in the box' (as with Sky+)
  6. Problems with internet connectivity, I diagnosed a problem, had the diagnosis confirmed and it's still not fixed.

I was told that Branson would be putting in some serious money (bless his little red socks), and that they were surveying to find out what was needed. I was told that a HD box would be announced in the next few months, which would have a hard drive in it. (I don't care about HD (High Definition), I replied, once you have DVD quality my eyes cannot see the further improvements - what I want is reliability and responsiveness of service - there is no point in HD if the system can't take the current bit rate).

With NTL I remain a little sceptical about their getting their act together for historical reasons, however, if true - fantastic.