Advanced Television

Horizon dawns for UPC Netherlands

September 7, 2012

Colin Mann @ IBC

Launching simultaneously with a press event on the IBC show floor and a customer session in central Amsterdam, Liberty Global unveiled its much vaunted Horizon TV, a family of products designed to allow customers to view and share all of their favourite content across the TV, computer, tablet and smartphone. Horizon TV is available immediately from our UPC Netherlands, and will be rolled out in Switzerland, Germany and Ireland over the next three-to-six months.

Balan Nair, CTO, Liberty Global, said that two and a half years previously, the cable operator had stepped back to assess what it needed to do differently to ensure customer satisfaction. “Video underpins what we do’” he said. “The consumer is top of the tree and the User Interface is key. A core principle in developing Horizon was that the User Experience had to be ‘Wow!’,” he explained, adding that the product also had to be capable of delivering TV anywhere in the home.

The result, following development with partners such as NDS, Samsung and Intel, is what Nair described as “a transformational box”.

Among the features are:

  • Multiscreen and Home network Horizon TV changes your 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, customers can wirelessly stream personal content from their computers, tablets and smartphones onto their TV screens.
  • Personal Recommendations -Horizon TV makes personal recommendations and allows customers to search from a wide selection of programmes currently being broadcast, previously broadcast or available via UPC on Demand.
  • Bring the Web to the TV – Horizon TV features an app store where services like YouTube, Wikipedia and Facebook are contextually integrated into your TV viewing experience.
  • Horizon TV via tablet, smartphone, laptop or computer.

Concurrent with the launch of Horizon TV, all customers at UPC Netherlands with digital TV and Internet subscriptions can now watch television online. This online service can be used by smartphones and tablets (as an app for iPhone and 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 television shows/episodes and nearly 2,000 movies from the latest Hollywood hits to the best classics. UPC Netherlands is the first video provider to offer this service in the Netherlands.

Samsung built the multimedia gateway, Intel supplied the Intel Atom CE Media Processor and NDS supplied the middleware and user interface. Nagravision supplied the NAGRA Media Access encryption system. The Horizon TV solution supports MoCA, delivered by Entropic and WiFi, 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 provided the Video On Demand back office systems to support seamless content migration between TV and Online devices.

The ability to transfer the TV experience to various devices has been made possible by IOKO’s enterprise service platform. Intellicore developed the Second Screen app. Horizon TV online has been made possible by the joint development of KIT digital and thePlatform to create an enterprise service platform and robust content management system. The browser and app were designed and developed by Empathy Labs. Metrological developed the connected application framework. Twonky provides the application to enable devices to communicate via DLNA to the gateway.


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