Liberty Global Moves Ahead With ‘EOS’

Liberty Global execs said the MSO is pushing ahead with EOS, a next-gen, cloud-powered box equipped with 4K capabilities that will bring more unity to its video platform.

EOS is “going to be the workhorse for our video platform. It’s powerful, inexpensive with great scale benefit,” Mike Fries, Liberty Global’s CEO, said last week on the company’s Q2 earnings call.

Fries said he expects EOS devices to cost “much less” than the MSO’s current Horizon boxes.

Liberty Global hasn’t pinpointed where EOS will show up first, but the box “will be rolled out all across Europe, and will benefit South America as well,” Balan Nair, Liberty Global’s CTO, added.

And, Nair added, it will be flexible enough to swap in apps and interfaces. “We’ll have a very easy way to move UIs on, so you could have TiVo one day on and you can have the Horizon UI in the same box, the next day. So, it’s a very fungible low cost high powered box.”

And the EOS rollout will have some impact on Liberty Global’s Virgin Media unit in the U.K., which has been leaning on a TiVo-powered platform.

The plan there is to “re-launch under the brand Virgin TV” with the new EOS box along with a new interface that will provide a “very significant step up in our ability to [offer] on-demand programming across multiple forms and give our customers access to a wide range of over the top applications,” Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge said.

Virgin Media will be shifting to the new box platform as it continues to face off with Sky and its launch of Sky Q, a new next-gen whole-home, multiscreen video platform.

Liberty Global announced plans for EOS in May, noting that it intends to start trials later this year.

Liberty Global ended Q2 with 53.9 million revenue generating units (22.5 million video, 17.1 million broadband, and 14.3 million telephony RGUs), up by 231,000, across its footprint of 49.8 million homes passed in Europe. However, Liberty Global shed 72,000 video subs in Q2, improving on the 111,000 video losses from the year-ago quarter.