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Intel Licenses Comcast's Set-Top Software Design Kit

Intel officially announced Wednesday that it has licensed Comcast’s Reference Design Kit (RDK) bundle of software that provides a common framework for developing set-top boxes, although the chip company has been working with the RDK for months.

In fact, the first deployed RDK silicon solution in the industry is in the XG1 multituner gateway (manufactured by Pace) that Comcast is using with its X1 service, which the operator began rolling out this summer. The XG1 uses Intel’s Puma DOCSIS chip set and the Intel Atom CE4200 Media Processor.

Intel said the RDK allows it to work with not only Comcast but also other cable operators to develop and deploy new set-top box solutions worldwide.

“We are excited to be working with Comcast and the RDK ecosystem to evolve television with premium entertainment experiences on all screens in the home,” said Alan Crouch, general manager of Intel’s service provider division. “With the RDK, TV will become more personal, social and immersive while keeping the TV viewing experience simple and fun. The ultimate winners are consumers who have more entertainment choices with powerful services that are easy to use.”

Other vendors supporting Comcast’s RDK include Arris Group, Cisco Systems, Motorola Mobility, Pace, Technicolor, Evolution Digital, Itaas and Broadcom. Other MSOs evaluating the RDK include Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications.

Comcast describes the RDK as a "pre-integrated software bundle" for powering tru2way, IP or hybrid set-top boxes and video gateway devices. It is intended to speed up the development and deployment of next-generation video services such as cloud-based functionality and enhanced guides.

“Our goal is to make the RDK available to companies such as Intel in order to accelerate development of an advanced software solution throughout the industry and across geographies,” Steve Reynolds, senior vice president of customer premises equipment and home network for Comcast, said in a statement. “Support from Intel and others is helping to pave the way for broader industry adoption and deployment of this platform that enables developers, operators and device vendors to create rich, multiscreen TV home entertainment experiences and bring them to consumers faster.”

Separately, last week networking silicon vendor Zenverge announced it collaborated with Intel and content-security provider Digital Keystone to develop a hybrid gateway reference platform. The gateway can stream high-quality broadcast TV content to smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, game consoles and other IP-connected devices in addition to functioning as a high-speed data and voice gateway.