This HDMI to Component cable - is it just a cable or does it include a piece of hardware that converts the signal?
You need the latter - an example of a proven one is the HDFury range but these are expensive. There may be cheaper alternatives (search the forums, I think it was discussed recently) but you have to be careful that they won't fail if the HDMI source is protected with HDCP. I've personally only used the HDFury range, so others may be able to advise you on cheaper alternatives.
I've actually got no idea what these 'HDMI to Component' cables you can buy online are actually supposed to do - the very nature of taking an HDMI signal (digital) and converting it to Component (analogue) requires specialist hardware to make this digital to analogue conversion so it's no surprise when they don't work.
Ah thank you! I thought this was the case but then insaw the cable for sale and I tried it. What about this one then? http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004I53ZL4/ref=aw_d_detail?pd=1&qid=1353077200&sr=8-1
Would that do the trick? Would I need one that strips the hdcp?
I can't say with any certainty to be honest as I've only tried the HDFury.
It might work fine, it might not - I think this area is a bit hit and miss.
Yes it needs to handle the HDCP - essentially by making your Virgin box think its plugged into an HDCP compliant device so that it doesn't switch off the signal.
Someone else asked this Q recently: