Status Report: RDK


BTR_Feature_Art_RDK_2-17-14 More than 300 representatives from operators and vendors converged on Denver last week for the first User Conference hosted by RDK Management LLC, a joint venture founded by Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) to administer the Reference Design Kit (RDK).

"The goal of the conference was to provide an update to community members about the current state of RDK and its roadmap, to share RDK experiences between operators and tech suppliers, and provide deep dives into the code contribution and management process as well as support services provided to community members," said Jason Briggs, senior director of licensing and strategic development at RDK Management.

RDK is an integrated software bundle that operators can use as a software stack in set-top devices. The intent is to facilitate the delivery of content anywhere and to any device, and to make customer purchased devices equal to legacy platforms in the cable system.

Operators presenting at the conference discussed the benefits RDK stands to provide in terms of service velocity and standardization. Whereas, in the past, a fractured system of STBs, sub-components and software has slowed down the introduction of new services, RDK establishes a baseline of commonality that will lead to faster innovation. "While the RDK doesn't solve every issue, it's a critical first step," Briggs said. "We're seeing operators prove that in deployments and trials, and that's exciting for every company involved in the value chain."

Operator-related news from the conference was the announcement that Kabel Deutschland, the largest cable operator in Germany, has joined the RDK community. "(This) is further proof of the global significance of the RDK," Briggs said.

Briggs couldn't comment on the products and solutions showcased at the event, citing the fact that the User Conference was private and for licensees only. He did say that the displays demonstrated vendors are exploring new ways to bring value-added services or products to operators. "(RDK) presents new business opportunities for (suppliers) as well."

Some of the participants made their own announcements regarding their involvement in the Users Conference:

Espial (TSX:ESP) demonstrated a high performance HTML5 TV user experience on RDK IP and hybrid STBs. The STB client is designed for maximum flexibility and to facilitate the introduction of new applications. The company recently announced it was chosen by a tier-1 cable operator as the RDK integrator to deliver an RDK-based STB including Espial's application framework and out-of-the-box HTML5 user experience.

S3 Group, which in September was given the role of code management for the RDK, presented on the processes and procedures involved with contributing to the generic RDK code base and on how to get access to the latest code release. The company also was on hand to meet with operators and discuss the practicalities of getting started with RDK, to help them understand vendor options and to review testing procedures.

Entropic (NASDAQ:ENTR) and Opera Software announced their RDK collaboration using OpenEmbedded core technology and the Linux development environment. This partnership will leverage Opera's advanced web-browsing capabilities using its Blink engine and the Opera Devices SDK and Entropic's open RDK system-on-a-chip platform.

Alticast demonstrated its new software for HDMI sticks for TV Everywhere services. Leveraging the RDK and Alticast's HTML5 application framework with an HDMI stick, the solution can be used for multiscreen IP video delivery, either from the cloud or as a client to a home-based gateway.

Monta Monaco Hernon is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at

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