TWC Picks Humax To Build Its First RDK Box

Time Warner Cable's dance with the Reference Design Kit continued Tuesday with word that it’s developing its first RDK-based box with Humax, and expects to introduce the IP-based device sometime later this year.

In addition to supporting the RDK, a pre-integrated software stack for IP-capable boxes being managed by Comcast, TWC and Liberty Global, the new device (its dimentions are 5"x5"x1.5") will feature TWC’s next-gen cloud-based navigator, which is based on HTML5.

TWC, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, said adoption of the RDK will play a key role in its IP video migration strategy.

“We’re very excited as this is the first implementation of the RDK for Time Warner Cable and steers us towards the future of an all IP service,” Matthew Zelesko,  senior vice president of TWC’s Converged Technology Group, said in a statement. “The RDK continues to evolve thanks to the collaboration and joint efforts of the RDK community. We look forward to the continued development of the RDK and will work together to enhance it as a strategic platform for next generation set-top boxes and devices.”

Last fall, Zelesko told Multichannel News (subscription required) that the RDK would factor into TWC’s next-gen IP-based gateways and video client devices, with an aim toward a common software stack and platform that could be applied in devices that support not just video, but voice and data as well.

“I think the RDK will be that [unifying] platform,” Zelesko said at the time.

TWC and Comcast formed RDK Management LLC last August. Liberty Global announced that it had joined the J.V. last month.

The RDK currently has more than 125 licensees made up of CE manufactures, chipmakers, software developers, system integrators, and pay-TV providers. Of that group, at least 15 service operators have inked licenses, including Comcast, TWC, Liberty Global, Rogers Communications, J:COM, and Kabel Deutschland. Comcast is using the RDK to power the boxes that run its IP-capable X1 platform.

The development deal with TWC should be a boon for Humax, which now views U.S. cable as a growth opportunity as operators start up their IP video transitions. Sources said Humax, along with Samsung, has been selected by Cablevision Systems to develop the MSO’s next-gen “Future Services Portal” set-top, and has been linked to the Xi3, an IP-only, RDK-based client device that Comcast is developing for its X1 platform. 

Cisco Systems, Arris and Samsung are among TWC's known set-top suppliers. Among that group, Arris recently filed documents at the FCC revealing a new six-tuner HD-DVR that TWC plans to deploy in New York and Los Angeles, according to FierceCable. In January, TWC said its was offering its new UI on about 3 million boxes in New York, L.A. and other parts of its footprint, with plans to expand that to at least 6 million boxes this year.