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Initial Horizon box supply “sold out”, says Nair

Liberty Global’s initial supply of its new Horizon set-top and gateway was “sold out” on its initial launch day, chief technology officer Balan Nair told attendees at the NDS IBC press lunch yesterday.

Nair said the launch of Horizon on Friday had produced “nothing but great reviews” and the initial run had already sold out. He said Liberty Global planned to make its main commercial launch on September 21.

“For the first three weeks we planned to ship it out to every fifth customer but every customer that called in has asked for the box,” said Nair. Nair said that Liberty Global would make Horizon its “standard box” and would not sell it as a premium product. Following the Dutch launch, a launch in Switzerland will follow in 60 days, he said.

Nair said the rollout of Horizon would be hugely beneficial to Liberty Global. The company plans to roll out a thin-client device next year to enable delivery of streams to secondary TV sets. “The big cost [of deployment] is set-tops. That cost has dropped dramatically. Horizon gives you a gateway plus a couple of IP clients and you don’t have to ship out three HD DVRs,” he said.

Speaking at the same press lunch, Jesper Andersen, senior vice-president and general manager of Cisco’s service provider video technology group said that Cisco’s acquisition of NDS brought together companies that were “entirely complementary”, with NDS bringing the opportunity to provide differentiated offerings to consumers together with Cisco’s portfolio of headend and set-top products. He said that the two companies also brought complementary strengths in international markets, with NDS having a stronger presence than Cisco in emerging markets including the Asia Pacific region and India.

Andersen said that Cisco would create “firewalls” between parts of the business that worked with competing partners, enabling NDS middleware to continue to be deployed on third-party set-tops, while Cisco’s relationships with middleware vendors including Microsoft and TiVo can be maintained.