Comcast’s RDK Champion Heads to Harris Broadcast

Comcast lost a big leader in its next-gen X1 platform effort with the departure of Steve Reynolds, who has left to take the technology helm of a Colorado-based supplier of video hardware, software and transmission gear.

Reynolds, an executive who has played an important role in the development of the Reference Design Kit (RDK) for IP-connected set tops, has left the operator to become the chief technology officer of Englewood, Colo.- based Harris Broadcast, Multichannel News has learned.

According to multiple industry sources, Reynolds’s last day with Comcast was Nov. 15. His exact start date at Harris Broadcast was not immediately known, but official word of his new post is expected to come as early as today (Nov. 18).

Harris Broadcast declined to comment. At press time, Comcast had yet to comment on Reynolds’s status with the MSO and whether it has identified an interim or permanent replacement for him. Sources said Harris Broadcast’s revised strategic direction and Reynolds’s desire to be based in the Denver area fulltime factored into his decision.

The departure of Reynolds will leave Comcast with an important void to fill with respect to its ongoing video technology and services strategy. Reynolds, who joined Comcast in 2007, was the operator’s senior vice president, premises technology, responsible for technology strategies and roadmaps for the operator’s customer-premises equipment, including set tops and gateways.

Reynolds, known by industry insiders for his entrepreneurial spirit and his pioneering work on the pay TV industry’s early navigation systems and applications for digital set-top boxes, spent part of his career at Comcast on assignment at Canoe, the cross- MSO advanced advertising venture. He previously served in high-ranking executive roles at video software and app firms OpenTV (now part of Nagra) and Intellocity (a video app startup bought by ACTV in 2001; OpenTV bought ACTV in 2002), as well as at Gemstar-TV Guide International (now part of Rovi).

In recent years at Comcast, Reynolds helped to spool up the RDK, a pre-integrated software stack for IP-only and hybrid QAM/IP set tops and gateways comprising open- and shared-source components. Comcast’s next-generation video service, X1, is the first commercial product to be based on the RDK.

Reynolds leaves Comcast as the RDK starts the next leg of its journey and Harris Broadcast undergoes a transformation of its own.

The RDK, following its start as a project limited to Comcast, is starting to gather momentum among other cable operators, including Time Warner Cable, Rogers Communications and Liberty Global. Earlier this year, Comcast and TWC formed RDK Management LLC, a joint venture that is managing the platform.

Harris Broadcast, the long-time provider of video and communications technology and services to broadcasters, satellite companies and MSOs, is undergoing significant changes as well. In July, the company appointed Charlie Vogt as CEO.

Vogt, the former CEO of Genband, is in the process of building his new leadership team and redefining the company’s mission and strategy.

Harris Broadcast makes networking gear, including routers and test and measurement equipment; video playout products, including video servers and asset management systems; and TV and radio transmission products. Reynolds is expected to play a big role as the company reshapes its product strategy for the cable industry.