Liberty Global out of the starting blocks with Horizon TV service
It has taken a village of vendors, but Liberty Global’s Horizon TV platform, which enables home networking, TV Everywhere services, personal recommendations and Internet applications to TVs, is now available to subscribers in the Netherlands.
Following on the heels of the launch by Liberty Global’s UPC Netherlands, Horizon TV will be rolled out in Switzerland, Germany and Ireland over the next three to six months.
“This is what our customers have been waiting for. Finally, you can enjoy the best cable TV programming on all of your devices whenever and wherever you choose,” Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries said. “Horizon TV brings the power of the Internet and the most popular apps to your TV screen and allows you to ‘connect, discover and be free.’”
Fries announced Horizon’s launch at this week’s IBC2012 in Amsterdam. Last year at IBC, Fries created a stir when he demonstrated elements of Horizon. At the time, Liberty Global said Horizon would be rolled out in the Netherlands in the first quarter of this year, with UPC Cablecom in Switzerland and Unitymedia in Germany following soon thereafter, but the complexity of the Horizon ecosystem led to delays.
Using a gateway designed by Samsung Electronics, Horizon features a wireless network that connects TVs to personal devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones. Supported by search and recommendation features, it also integrates access to personal media content such as photos, music and movies stored in the home or in the cloud.
Horizon TV also features its own app store that blends online services, such as YouTube and Facebook, onto TV screens. Customers can log in via the app or via the dedicated website with their personal UPC account to stream 80 live TV channels and access 3,500 television shows/episodes and nearly 2,000 movies.
Liberty Global developed Horizon TV in collaboration with a total of 15 vendors. While Samsung built the multimedia gateway, Intel supplied the Intel Atom CE Media Processor and NDS supplied the middleware and user interface.
Nagravision chipped in the Nagra Media Access encryption system. The Horizon TV system supports MoCA, which was delivered by Entropic, and Wi-Fi, delivered by Celeno Communications, and is part of the DLNA ecosystem.
The widget framework was developed by Metrological, and the recommendations engine is powered by ThinkAnalytics. SeaChange International provided the VOD back office systems to support seamless content migration between TV and online devices.
The ability to transfer the TV experience to various devices was provisioned by IOKO’s enterprise service platform, while Intellicore developed the second screen app.
Horizon TV online was made possible by the joint development of KIT Digital and thePlatform to create an enterprise service platform and content management system. The browser and app were designed and developed by Empathy Labs. Metrological came up with the connected application framework, and Twonky provided the application to enable devices to communicate via DLNA to the gateway.