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Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, pointed out to delegates at Cable Congress on Tuesday that there is no Google TV in Hungary and no Netflix in the Netherlands, suggesting that the cable industry must take advantage of the over-the-top experience but must do so quickly to survive.
He outlined the three things cable operators do well: connectivity to the customer home, which he said the industry provides better than anyone else, good content relationships that go back decades and a “pretty good” customer base. “But there are three things we do not do well and that is connecting devices in the home, integrating external content into our service and the user interface,” he cautioned.
Fries outlined the role of Liberty Global’s Horizon next-generation media gateway, which distributes content to any DLNA enabled device in a customer home. “Consumers will be able to access content from their personal media library as well as Web content that we will ultimately organise for you,” he said.
Emphasising how this device enables Liberty Global to tackle the three big challenges head-on, he added that the user interface is very cool, featuring 3D rendering, touch screen capabilities and a Blackberry style keyboard. The new platform also provides search and recommendation as part of the content discovery experience.
Describing the next-generation gateway as a game-changer, Fries stated: “Some people will ask why it took us so long to do this. We needed to build a certain scale first before companies like Samsung and Intel were interested.” He outlined the relatively virgin territory that non-digital homes represents for the device.