Liberty Global rolling out new video platform

Sept. 19, 2018
Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) has unveiled its next-generation video platform, Horizon 4, at the company's annual Tech Summit in ...

Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) has unveiled its next-generation video platform, Horizon 4, at the company's annual Tech Summit in Amsterdam.

The Horizon 4 suite of products includes a 4K/UltraHD set-top box, a remote control with voice capabilities and an upgraded version of Liberty's "GO" mobile app, which works together with the set-top. The platform will be introduced over the coming months to selected customers in The Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium, with a wider rollout in those and other Liberty Global markets to follow.

The Horizon 4 set-top has already been introduced as the "V6 box" in the UK, where nearly 2 million customers1 are now using it in combination with TiVo software. The new platform to be rolled out in the coming months combines that set-top with the new Horizon 4 user interface, which includes:

  • Access to linear TV, replay and VOD
  • Apps such as Netflix and YouTube in up to 4K/UltraHD
  • Cloud storage of recordings
  • At a later stage a constantly-updated selection of web videos and online TV channels will be available
  • All content is accessible via a single user interface

The upgraded version of the GO mobile app allows customers to watch content on the go, be it linear TV, replay or on-demand, and also includes download to go functionality. Viewers can continue watching the same program where they left off on a different device, and the mobile app can also be used to control the set-top box or use "push to TV" functionality to watch content on the big screen after searching for it with the app.

Enrique Rodriguez, Liberty Global's EVP and CTO, said: "Horizon 4 brings our customers the best user experience from Liberty Global's 'one platform' strategy. Our teams develop a common set of products and services which are then rolled out across our local operating companies. This allows us to achieve significant scale and operating synergies. The launch of this latest installment of our next-gen digital TV platform marks an important step in our journey of bringing great innovation in connected entertainment."

Mark Giesbers, Liberty Global's VP of entertainment products, said: "Today is an exciting day for our customers. They increasingly lead 'fluid lives,' meaning they view content from many different providers on many different screens, especially on mobile devices, and at very different times during the day. We want to add value to customers' lives and deliver on their expectation of 'any content, any device, anywhere, anytime'. That means aggregating all those TV channels, movies, series and apps into one easy-to-use, seamless viewing experience - and across multiple devices. The new Horizon 4 platform with its 4K set-top box, the remote with voice control and the improved mobile app allows us to do exactly that."

Liberty Global's original Horizon TV platform was launched in The Netherlands in 2012.

The hardware and user interfaces of the Horizon 4 product suite were developed in-house by teams based at Liberty Global's tech campus in Schiphol-Rijk in The Netherlands, together with various teams in other countries and with external partners across Europe. Before launching Horizon 4, the company tested the platform in more than 10,000 customer homes in various different countries.

The Horizon 4 software powering the new 4K set-top box was developed using RDK. One major improvement compared with previous set-top box platforms is that Horizon 4 will see updates being made every few weeks. In addition, the release cycle will allow a faster rollout of software fixes and improvements.