IBC: Leading Cable Operator Liberty Cable Announces New Hybrid STB and Plans to Open TV App Store Along With SDK for Third Party Developers

written by: Richard Kastelein

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At IBC today, Liberty Global, a leading international cable operator serving 18 million customers across 14 countries in Europe, Chile and Australia, today presented "Horizon" -  an elegant media and entertainment platform for the home, which seamlessly integrates cable, web-based and personal content. Using a simple and intuitive interface and a powerful recommendation engine, consumers will be able to share and view content on multiple screens and devices wirelessly throughout the home.

The Horizon user experience was demonstrated today in Amsterdam by Mike Fries, President & CEO of Liberty Global. Commenting on Horizon, Mike Fries said:

"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."


Open platform for a world of apps

In the same way that apps have added a new dimension to the use of smart phones and tablets, the Horizon open platform for apps aims to do the same for TV. The Horizon ecosystem is an open and scalable platform for the future on which developers can continue to improve and enhance the functionality for consumers. 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 & widgets that will be seamlessly integrated in the TV user interface.

Liberty Global is reaching out to potential content partners and third party application developers and will soon launch a software developers' kit for Horizon, inviting them to join the already existing 60 content partners that have developed apps for the new platform.

Reinventing television

Horizon is designed to put a computer at the heart of your digital home. This multimedia gateway will create a wireless network that connects your TV to all of your personal devices - computers, tablets and smartphones. The TV interface uses 3D graphics and images that will bring your content to life and make navigating simple, instant and seamless.

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. Horizon will also allow customers to take their entertainment experience beyond their home TVs. Applications have been developed for smartphones and tablet devices (second screens) as well as web browsers that will enable a similar and complementary experience on different devices both in and out of the home.

Deployment plans

Liberty Global is currently executing field trials on Horizon in the Netherlands and later in the year will move to consumer trials. Commercial launch is planned for Q1 2012 at UPC in the Netherlands, with UPC Cablecom in Switzerland and Unitymedia in Germany following soon thereafter. Horizon will be added to the company's existing line-up of advanced digital products, and existing digital customers will be offered an attractive upgrade package at launch.

Horizon partners


Liberty Global has developed Horizon with a set of world class technology partners. Samsung has built the multimedia home gateway, which will be powered by the Intel(R) Atom(TM) CE Media Processor. The middleware and the user experience will be provided by NDS. Nagravision will provide the conditional access solution through NAGRA Media Access. This solution will support MoCA and WiFi, and participate in the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) ecosystem. The ability to enable the TV experience on different devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) both in and out of the home will be delivered by IOKO's enterprise service platform and by the Platform video content management system. Empathy Labs was responsible for the website design.

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