Liberty Global plans device to take on Apple, Google

Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) isn't going to sit around and wait for things to happen. Confronted with looming competition from the likes of Apple TV (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google TV (Nasdaq: GOOG), the international cable giant is planning its own home gateway device, called Horizon, and looking into ways it can take advantage of the groundbreaking work Google is doing in merging the Web and traditional TV.

Liberty's new device won't be another set-top but will instead be a highly functional remote control with a keyboard that will work with emerging services like Google TV and a new user guide Liberty is developing to let subscribers cross between linear programming and the Internet, Liberty's chief strategy officer Shane O'Neill said at a conference in Ireland.

"With this, cable subscribers will be able to access Internet content as well as Web TV. They will also access content across household--you can be watching in the living room any content you have on PCs and other digital devices," said O'Neill, who is also chairman of UPC in Ireland.

The device is building on consumer preferences that Google is revealing, said O'Neill, who dismissed Google TV as a threat. "There is a strong likelihood the cable industry will embed Google TV in their own set-top boxes," he said. There is also a strong likelihood that UPC subscribers in Ireland will be among the first to taste the fruits of Google's labors when Horizon is introduced there in the middle of 2012.

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