Liberty Global Gets Active With ActiveVideo

ActiveVideo’s invasion of Europe continued Thursday with word that Liberty Global will use the vendor’s CloudTV software platform to deliver the MSO’s Horizon user interface to set-tops and other types of connected devices.

ActiveVideo’s cloud-based system decouples the UI from the device, enabling it to run on a wide range of IP-based and older QAM-based devices. Liberty Global has deployed the Horizon UI as a resident app on hybrid QAM/IP Samsung-made gateways, but has also been developing and testing a cloud-based version. The introduction of ActiveVideo’s system should enable Liberty Global to deliver the UI from the cloud and extend its reach to a greater number of devices.

Liberty Global has launched its next-gen Horizon TV service in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Ireland. Virgin Media, the Liberty-owned U.K. operator, has focused its next-gen video platform on TiVo-powered boxes.

"Consumers are seeking new enhanced experiences for their video entertainment all the time,” said Aamir Hussain, managing director and CTO, Liberty Global Europe, in a release. “Liberty Global is constantly innovating and leading in delivering compelling and differentiated TV experiences leveraging cloud-based architectures. Liberty Global is using ActiveVideo's CloudTV platform to complement its cloud UI strategy and expand Horizon-like experiences, including cloud DVR, VOD navigation and advanced applications, to STBs and connected devices."

The deal with Liberty Global expands ActiveVideo’s foray into Europe. Ziggo, the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, and Dutch IPTV service provider Glashart Media (now part of KPN) have rolled out the vendor’s cloud-based platform. T-Labs, the research and innovation unit of Deutsche Telekom, has used ActiveVideo’s system to power field trials in Germany and Greece of a “virtual” set-top initiative ahead of an anticipated deployment. Its U.S. customers include Cablevision Systems, Time Warner Cable, and Charter Communications, among others.

“We’re seeing broad market acceptance of cloud-based UIs, not just in the cable sector, but IPTV,” Murali Nemani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for ActiveVideo, said.

ActiveVideo currently supports about 10 million devices, a mix that includes both set-tops and integration with unmanaged CE devices such as Roku boxes. That number should rise to well over 20 million devices by the end of 2014 based on current deployment plans, Nemani said.