IBC 2012: Liberty Global launches Horizon TV

Editor | 07-09-2012

After a long drawn out process, in fact nearly a year to the day after its CEO used IBC 2011 to proclaim that it would reinvent TV, Liberty Global has at last launched its Horizon connected home digital cable TV play.

Horizon will comprise a new family of media products allowing customers to view and share all of content across the TV, computer, tablet and smartphone.

The basic pitch for Horizon is that it changes a tablet, smartphone or laptop into a television. An iPad can be used as a remote control or as an additional TV screen in the home. At the same time, users can stream personal content from computers, tablets and smartphones onto their TV screens.

The new platform’s user interface navigates and recommends digital content from cable, on demand libraries, personal devices, selected apps and online sources. The Horizon TV gateway also serves as a full triple-play box delivering not only video, but also internet and voice services, along with a wireless network for the home. The Horizon TV solution supports MoCA, delivered by Entropic and Wi-Fi, delivered by Celeno Communications, and is part of the DLNA ecosystem.

The Horizon TV service has been launched officially for Liberty’s Dutch cable operation, UPC Netherlands, and will be rolled out in Switzerland, Germany and Ireland over the next 3-6 months. Commenting on the launch Mike Fries, Liberty Global’s President and CEO said: “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. 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.’”

To coincide with the launch of Horizon TV, all customers at UPC Netherlands with digital TV and internet subscriptions can now watch T online. The service can be accessed through smartphones and tablets—as an app for iPhone and the iPad—as well as through computers and laptops in and around the home. Customers can login via the app or via the dedicated website with their personal UPC account to stream 80 live TV channels and access 3,500 pieces of TV content.

At launch, Liberty was keen to emphasis the technology partners involved in the project. These included Intel with its Atom CE Media Processor; NDS with middleware and user interface; the NAGRA Media Access encryption system; the widget framework was developed by Metrological, the recommendations engine by ThinkAnalytics; SeaChange provided the VOD back office systems; IOKO’s enterprise service platform to facilitate transport of content; Intellicore developed the Second Screen app; KIT Digital and thePlatform combined to make possible Horizon TV online.