RDK Readies Another International Rendezvous

This month’s IBC Conference in Amsterdam will be flush with video-technology goodness spanning 4K, cloud-based digital video recorders and multiscreen streaming, but it will also serve as an international showcase for a technology that is trying to play a starring role in cable’s next-generation of video products.

The Reference Design Kit, the preintegrated software stack for IP-capable set-tops and gateways managed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global, is expected to be well-represented on and off the floor at IBC, which kicks off Sept. 11.

At the show, vendors representing different elements of the RDK ecosystem will be demonstrating their latest wares. (See sidebar.)

Off the floor, MSO-backed RDK LLC is slated to host a private, closed-door meeting with suppliers and operators on Sept. 16, people familiar with the situation said.

That rendezvous will take place roughly three months after the introduction of a new version of the RDK that is compatible with cable systems in Europe and other parts of the globe by extending support for the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard. The DVB extensions announced in June followed February’s release of the 2.0 version of RDK.

The RDK, now licensed by more than 160 companies, initially focused on videocentric set-tops, gateways and client devices, but has been weaving its way into broadband services as operators try to forge all-service gateways that can be powered by a unified software stack.

The demonstrations and private meetings will also take place as RDK’s backers try to expand adoption and scope of the platform. Operators that have licensed RDK include Liberty Global, Kabel Deutschland, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Other MSOs on board as licensees, or at least said to be interested in the RDK, include Rogers Communications of Canada and Japan’s Jupiter Telecommunications.

RDK On Display

A sampling of RDK products and demos that will be on display at IBC:

Alticast: Will show its RDK-pointing HDMI Media Express, a thumb drive-sized device that enables operators to deliver multiscreen service at home and on the go.

Arris: Will offer its first live demo of a new RDK gateway called the DCX3820, a device with on-board support of 4K/Ultra HD video delivered at 60 frames per second and 10-bit color capabilities.

Cisco Systems: Will show off a video gateway running the 2.0 version of the RDK. It will also demo two RDK-based IP set-tops (including one that features wireless delivery of 4K video) connected to a unified RDK 2.0-based gateway running “Snowflake,” the interface that Cisco obtained in its 2012 acquisition of NDS.

DCC Labs: Will present a hybrid middleware client that aims to be agnostic in that it can support devices from IPTV, cable, satellite and terrestrial service providers.

Espial: Will demo a DVB-based, HTML5 TV-user interface for RDK environments.

Humax: Will feature a RDK 2.0/DVB-based stack running its HTML5 “Prism” user interface.

Pace: RDK-based hardware, including client boxes and media servers; its RDK-based “Elements” software; and its RDK systems integration offering.

S3 Group: Will show its RDK Code Management Facility, which is taking charge of the official RDK code base.

Tata Elxsi: Will demo “Prime,” an RDK suite that includes an OpenStack-based backend, user interface and applications store.

TeleIDEA: Will feature cloud-based HTML5 products for RDK-based gateways.

Universal Electronics: Will demo an RDK-compatible version of QuickSet, a platform that manages the programming of remote-control devices.