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Virgin Media Preparing New Horizon Software for UK v6 TV Box

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 (10:11 am) - Score 31,059
virgin media v6 tv iptv set-top-box uk

Sources indicate that cable TV and broadband ISP Virgin Media UK (Liberty Global) may have begun initial customer product testing of a new Horizon software platform for their v6 set-top-box, which if all goes according to plan might replace their existing TiVo based platform during the second half of 2020.

The Virgin TV V6 Box (pictured – top) launched back in 2016 (here) and was actually based off Liberty Global’s Horizon 4.0 platform except, unlike liberty’s other EU deployments, the UK launch shipped with TiVo based software instead of the horizon one (Virgin Media UK has had a long-standing relationship with TiVo).

Both the Horizon 4 RDK and TiVo software platforms have broadly similar features, although we note that cloud orientated control and recording is much more heavily implemented in Horizon. Likewise Ofcom’s required changes to Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs), such as accessibility improvements (e.g. text-to-speech, zoom, high contrast display, highlighting and filtering etc.), must also be introduced to horizon before launch (most are already present via TiVo).

Otherwise we rather suspect that the shift to Horizon may be more about cost savings and efficiency than bringing new features to consumers. The Horizon development team – who are located in Liberty Global’s office in the Netherlands – would enable Virgin Media to drop their TiVo license and bring everything in-house. One other possible benefit from this is that it would speed-up the roll-out of future software updates and features.

horizon_software_virgin_media

We did ask the operator if they could give us an official update and clarify what benefits the move to Horizon might bring for consumers, although they said there was nothing to share with the public yet and promised to keep us updated.

In the meantime we believe that the new Horizon platform is currently only being tested by a limited number of staff and customers. The main launch currently seems likely to occur sometime in 2020 (possibly by or around the second half of next year) and we’ll be watching out for news of a wider customer trial in the future.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. VM insight says:

    I have one of these. I like it but they’ve stuck with the horribly purple theme which is ugly. I do like that members of your home can each have their own profile, the voice search feature works wonders and the remote is a lot nicer to hold.

  2. Roger_Gooner says:

    I’ve been expecting the switch to Horizon 4 for a while. This will make failed hard drives and lost recordings on a hub swap things of the past but the network connection will need to be reliable for cloud recordings and playbacks. I also foresee problems with VM’s notoriously poor call centre agents being able to handle problems with the new user interface.

    1. Anon says:

      As one of those employees, i can tell you we’ve had these boxes in offices for a few weeks and a lot of us are more accustomed to using these than the older V6 and tivo boxes.

  3. Litlephil says:

    I think the move to Horizon 4 could be seen as a good thing as the V6 box is in fact based on the rest of Liberty Globals boxes it was just the software, as I believe the exclusive contract virgin had with TiVo was still in operation therefore it was wise to adapt it to the v6. Bit if the contract is now is at an end it is only obvious LG would integrate there own software, meaning cost savings and bring all LB platforms under one roof. TiVo has done Virgin good and Bk it was UK’s top box but now change is good to compete with the others. And the clue was always in the box not designed way but unlike its predecessor the new box was named simply V6 not TiVo. So bring it on and hope for the best it may be a good thing as there are many things in the V6 theta are still to be activated… sky, BT and TalkTalk will be watching close. LG have already stated the plan to invest heavily into Virgin Media… I believe good days to come

  4. Roger_Gooner says:

    I’m expecting a stripped down version of the V6 to be provided as there would be no need for a hard drive. Also, the so-called SCART socket is useless and is there a need for a USB output. There should also be a new remote with voice control.

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