Liberty Global Inc. used the IBC show in Amsterdam to unveil Horizon, a hybrid video gateway that combines the operator's regular video service with Web-based content piped in via an integrated cable modem.
Samsung Corp. is making the box, using Intel Corp.'s Atom CE processor and Celeno Communications's video-optimized Wi-Fi chips.
NDS Ltd. is providing middleware and a 3-D user interface, while Nagravision SA contributes a conditional access system.
Liberty hasn't announced a price. Horizon field trials are underway in the Netherlands, with plans to go live there in the first quarter of 2012, followed by launches from UPC Cablecom in Switzerland and Unitymedia GmbH in Germany.
Why this matters
Liberty Global is the latest major MSO (it's the world's second-largest MSO in terms of total subscribers, with 18 million in 14 countries) to take the IP plunge using a hybrid box that streams video and can share content and a common user interface with connected devices.
It's similar to Comcast Corp.'s hybrid video gateway, in that each MSO has teed up its own technical specifications. Virgin Media Inc.'s TiVo Inc.-powered integration is tailored to that MSO, but it's more of a ready-made product that the operator was able to launch relatively quickly. (See Virgin Media Sets TiVo Price.)
Liberty's goals go beyond a souped-up gateway. Its new Web-based approach will later include an open software developers' kit and app store. The MSO said it's already got 60 developers on board for the Horizon platform.
For more about Liberty's gateway project and cable's dance with hybrid gateways, please check out:
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable