Samsung Joins The RDK Club

Samsung Electronics America said it has inked a license for the Reference Design Kit, the pre-integrated software bundle for hybrid QAM/IP and IP-only set-tops and gateways being managed by RDK Management LLC, the Comcast/Time Warner Cable venture formed in August.

“As a leading provider of Pay TV CPE worldwide, Samsung recognizes the value of a common platform,” said Stephen Goldstein, Vice President and General Manager, STB at Samsung Electronics America’s Enterprise Business Division.

“The RDK allows Samsung to deliver devices to operators faster and with broader scale. Samsung has already begun deploying set-top boxes based on the RDK and we look forward to more RDK-based projects in the United States and abroad,” Stephen Goldstein, VP and GM, STB, at Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division, said in a statement.

A Samsung spokesman confirmed that Comcast is the first operator that is receiving the vendor’s initial batch of RDK-based boxes. Comcast is using RDK-based devices to run X1, a next-gen video platform that features an IP-fed cloud-based guide. Comcast is also gearing up the launch of X2, an upgrade that will tack on more personal features, extend the UI to set-tops as well as mobile devices, and pave the way for a cloud DVR. Samsung is expected to provide more detail about its RDK strategy Wednesday at the TV of Tomorrow Show in New York.

Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global, which both have RDK plans on their box roadmaps, are among Samsung’s base of cable operator customers. Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks, Com Hem and Virgin Media, the U.K.-based operator purchased by Liberty Global earlier this year, also source set-tops and gateways from Samsung.

“One of our goals with the RDK program is to accelerate development of an advanced software solution throughout the industry, which allows MVPDs the opportunity to provide enhanced user experiences across a broad set of STB, gateway, and SoC platforms," said Steve Heeb, president and General Manager of RDK Management  LLC, in a statement. “Samsung’s support of the RDK helps expand it as global platform available to operators around the world.”

Samsung joins a growing list of set-top suppliers that have also inked RDK licenses. Arris, Pace, Cisco Systems and Humax have all announced support for the RDK. Evolution Digital, LG Electronics, Ubee Interactive, and Inovo Broadband,  a startup made up of former Cisco and Scientific-Atlanta execs, are among other consumer premises equipment suppliers that have also secured RDK licenses, according to industry sources.

More than 100 companies and organizations, including chipmakers, systems integrators and video software firms, have licensed the RDK.