Liberty Global Expands Horizon TV to Germany

Launch Of Next-Gen Video Service Follows Recent Debut in Ireland and Earlier Launches in the Netherlands and Switzerland

Liberty Global’s German subsidiary, Unitymedia, has launched Horizon, the company’s IP-capable video platform.

The current iteration of Horizon runs on a Samsung-made HD-DVR/gateway outfitted with the Cisco/NDS middleware platform and Snowflake user interface, the ThinkAnalytics recommendations engine, integrated Wi-Fi from Celeno Communications, the ability to record four shows at once, and integrated IP-fed apps such as YouTube.

According to Rapid TV News, Liberty Global is selling the Horizon box in Germany for an introductory price of €299 ($393) through October 31, and for €399 ($525) thereafter. The MSO is also selling a non-DVR version that also removes the W-Fi module for €199 ($262) during the promo period, and €249 ($328) thereafter, according to the report. During that same promotion, Liberty is also leasing the HD-DVR Horizon box for €8 ($10.54) per month and the non-DVR version for  €5 ($6.59. Liberty Global is expected to roll out a multiroom DVR features sometime next year.

Liberty Global is launching Horizon in Germany amid a recent setback there. Last month, a German court said governmental approval of Liberty Global’s acquisition or Kabel BW in December 2011 was too lax, a ruling that could break up Germany’s second-largest cable operator.

More generally, Liberty Global is using its next-gen Horizon platform to attract new customers. It reported having 270,000 subs on Horizon in the Netherlands and Switzerland as of the end of July. Liberty Global, which has 21.9 million video customers, launched Horizon in Ireland last month.

Liberty Global is also developing a cloud-based version of its Horizon UI. The operator has yet to offer many of those details, but Liberty Global has been linked to the Reference Design Kit, a pre-integrated software bundle managed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable that aims to accelerate product development cycles. The next version of the RDK, called RDK 2.0, is expected to add hooks for the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard to make it more compatible with European cable networks.