German cable operator Unitymedia will introduce the next generation of multimedia home gateway Horizon in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Chief Commercial Officer Christian Hindennach.
The aim is to provide a simple, fast and easy to navigate user interface guiding viewers through the variety of content, everywhere and anytime, said Hindennach, speaking at an exclusive preview at trade fair ANGA COM 2018 in Cologne.
The Ultra HD/4K box (pictured), manufactured by Arris, contains a 1TB hard drive and eight tuners capable of recording up to six TV shows in parallel with the remaining two tuners ensuring quick TV channel switching, according to Christoph Schwab, Senior Manager Product Development at Unitymedia.
One of the key features is the voice control and search function activated by pressing a button on the remote control. Other features include personalised content recommendations based on personal profiles as well as instant restart and instant replay accessible from the electronic programme guide (EPG).
Instant replay will cover the past seven days. Unitymedia expects around 70-80% of the TV content to be available for the cloud-based instant restart and replay features when the box is introduced in the market, depending on rights clearance, said Hindennach.
The user interface will also include Unitymedia’s video-on-demand service as well as third-party apps, for example from Netflix and YouTube. The multiscreen platform also covers secondary TV sets, smartphones and laptops.
Before coming to Germany, Unitymedia’s parent company Liberty Global will deploy the next-generation Horizon in other European countries, according to Hindennach. It will resemble the V6 box Unitymedia’s parent company Liberty Global introduced at its UK subsidiary Virgin Media, but with a different software.