October 27, 2013

Liberty Global's Horizon box

There has been some conjecture around the business that Liberty Global's strategy is to standardise on a single set top box standard across it's different global companies, including Virgin Media.
Although I'm assured that there are no immediate plans to replace TiVo, a quick search on Liberty Global's own box, the Horizon, suggests it's a less-than-stable rocky affair, with some similar features to the TiVo but seemingly a lot less mature. That makes me a little nervous. TiVo ain't perfect, but it is the best box around these days, still streets ahead of the Sky boxes and don't get me started on the BT and YouView alternatives.
The Horizon is made by Samsung (as are some TiVos), but is certainly not a "looker" to my taste. It looks like it could sit actually under the TV, which would be useful for some. The remote looks some relic from the eighties.
If you want to know more there's an interesting 2012 brochure you can download but to my eyes this looks like it would be a step back from what we have today. It's been rolled out at Liberty Global's companies in Switzerland and Holland but not without problems. One thing I will say for TiVo (which I've had since VM introduced it) is that it's a reliable performer that's never let me down.
Anyway, contrary to some speculation elsewhere, we have TiVo for the foreseeable future. The Liberty Global Mike Fries CEO was recently interviewed in the Hollywood Reporter:
Discussing future sources of growth, the CEO said: "Over five years, we're less about connecting more homes." Instead, growth will mostly come from "getting connected homes to do more with us." Giving subscribers more value and improving customer relationships.
Fries said Wednesday that pay TV operators do certain things really well, such as offering the best content and the biggest distribution pipes. But he also highlighted areas where improvements are needed, such as in moving content across platforms and improving user interfaces. He said Liberty Global is trying to solve these issues with DVR partner TiVo and its next-generation set-top-boxes Horizon.
In the U.K., Virgin Media will for now continue to work with TiVo instead of launching Horizon. "TiVo has promised us innovation" to move into a similar direction as Horizon, Fries said.
Interesting times. Meanwhile, expect the latest TiVo software updates, including the arrival of (cue fanfare) HD Netflix, over the next week or so.


Tom Chiverton said...

" growth will mostly come from "getting connected homes to do more with us." "

Here come the price rises. Thanks Liberty.

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Benjamin Cleaver said...

If the only alternative is that box when mine dies...goodbye VM..