Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries demonstrated a new video platform today at the IBC Show in Amsterdam that blends cable, Web-based and personal content with a new interface and recommendation engine.
Liberty Global's Horizon gateway works with a new service called Horizon Online, the latter of which streams video and 3,000 VOD titles to multiple screens and devices throughout customers' homes.
"Over the last 20 years, Liberty Global has been at the forefront of driving technological innovation for its customers in Europe. Both in high-speed broadband and digital interactive television, we have constantly strived to improve our customers' experience. With Horizon, we're reinventing television," Fries said.
The Horizon gateway creates a wireless network that connects TVs to personal devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones. Supported by search and recommendation features, it will integrate access to personal media content such as photos, music and movies stored in the home or in the cloud.
Also notable about the Horizon service is that it will allow subscribers to view content outside of their homes, which has been a stumbling block between cable operators and content providers in North America.
On the content side, Liberty Global said the Horizon ecosystem was an open and scalable platform that developers can build upon. Liberty Global is working with international and national content providers, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to develop applications for its standards-based "App Store." In this store, subscribers using Horizon will be offered a full catalog of Web-based apps and widgets that will be seamlessly integrated in the TV user interface.
Horizon is currently in field trials in the Netherlands and will move to consumer trials later this year. Commercial launch is planned for the first quarter of 2012 at UPC in the Netherlands, with UPC Cablecom in Switzerland and Unitymedia in Germany following soon thereafter.
Liberty Global didn't say how much Horizon would cost.
Samsung built the multimedia home gateway, which will be powered by the Intel Atom CE Media Processor. The middleware and the user experience will be provided by NDS. Nagravision will provide the conditional access solution through its Nagra Media Access. Horizon supports MoCA and Wi-Fi, and Liberty Global said it would participate in the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) ecosystem.
The ability to enable the TV experience on different devices will be delivered by Ioko's enterprise service platform and by thePlatform’s video content management system.