First look at Liberty Global’s Google TV killer

14 Oct 2010

Here’s a first look at what the Liberty Global multimedia home gateway device ‘Horizon’ looks like. The device is tipped to compete aggressively against both the Apple TV and Google TV technology.

Liberty Global chief strategy officer Shane O’Neill revealed earlier this week that the device will begin rolling out in homes in 2011 and be in all customers’ homes by 2012. Liberty Global owns UPC across Europe and other major cable firms like Telenet and Unitymedia.

Technology alliances

The company revealed that the device will combine web and linear TV and allow people to access the content they want throughout the home. Liberty is working with Intel, Samsung, NDS and Nagravision on the new technology.

As you can see from the picture, which was presented at the TIF conference in Dublin this week, on one side the device will have four buttons to control what you’re watching but on the other side will have a full QWERTY keyboard for social media interaction.

“With this, cable subscribers will be able to access internet content, as well as web TV. They will also access content across household – you can be watching in the living room any content you have on PCs and other digital devices – we will unveil a state-of-the-art user guide to navigate through this.

“It will be easy to use, it is cool and coming to Ireland in summer of mid-2012. This will be coming via UPC, not Apple,” O’Neill said.

The company, which owns UPC in Ireland and across Europe and whose cable divisions cover 18m homes worldwide, earlier this summer said it planned to work with Samsung, Intel, NDS and Nagravision to build its multimedia home gateway.

The Horizon multimedia home gateway will be powered by the Intel Atom processor. The middleware and the user experience will be provided by NDS based on Flash technology.

Nagravision will provide the conditional access solution through NAGRA Media Access. The solution will support MoCA and Wi-Fi and participates in the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) ecosystem.

Below – NDS user experience using Flash technology and a Samsung set top box

Horizon using NDS/Samsung

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years