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RDK Community Gathers In Europe

A batch of cable operators, vendors and other companies currently involved in or interested in the Reference Design Kit (RDK) assembled in Amsterdam Tuesday for a day-long, invitation-only event dedicated to the pre-integrated software platform for set-tops and gateways, multiple industry sources said.

The RDK event was run separate from the IBC Conference, but the timing of it apparently took advantage of the fact that several cable suppliers and operators involved with the RDK or are talking a close look at it were in town for IBC.

According to people with knowledge of the RDK European rendezvous, engineers and executives from more than 20 cable operators were expected to be on hand to discuss the RDK and its evolution. Liberty Global, sources said, played a leadership role in organizing the RDK event.

Liberty Global, which operates systems across Europe, is one of several cable operators that is said to be taking a hard look at the RDK, a platform that aims to accelerate the development cycle for set-tops,  gateways and to ease the development of advanced applications.

The RDK event in Europe took place as the companies backing it look to scale up the effort and set plans in motion to make it work with cable systems from around the world.

Key to that global-focused effort is RDK 2.0, a new version under development that will free itself of U.S.-only requirements and add hooks to make it compatible with Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), a standard that is popular with cable operators in Europe.

Last month, Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced the formation of RDK Development LLC, a joint venture tasked with managing it. Just last week, the J.V. announced the appointment of Steve Heeb, the vice president of licensing and strategic development at Comcast, as president and general management of RDK Management. Two vendors – itaas and S3 Group – have been tabbed to provide “critical” support services to RDK Management.