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TWC Reveals RDK Set-Top Plans

Alan Breznick
4/15/2014
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Playing catchup ball with its two RDK Management partners, Time Warner Cable has finally spilled some of the beans about its first IP set-top box to be equipped with Reference Design Kit (RDK) software.

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), which holds a stake in the RDK Management LLC venture with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), announced Tuesday that it's developing its first IP set-top with Humax Co. Ltd. The MSO said the Humax box will come integrated with the RDK platform, a pre-integrated software bundle for IP video set-tops and gateways that's designed to become the industry standard.

Besides the RDK software, the IP set-top under development will come outfitted with the new cloud-based navigation guide that TW Cable has been furiously building. Similar to those offered by Comcast, Cox Communications Inc. , and several other major MSOs, this HTML-5 guide is designed to give viewers a better search experience with enhanced features and more program information. In addition, the new guide should allow the MSO to offer the same or a similar search experience to viewers using tablets, smartphones, videogame consoles, and other video screens.

TWC said it expects to deploy its new IP set-top boxes in "select markets" by the end of the year. While it did not disclose those markets, good early bets might be New York and Los Angeles because those are the company's two biggest markets and both are already in the process of going all-digital.

With its deployment of RDK, TW Cable would thus join Comcast and Liberty Global in rolling out boxes with the IP video software to its subscribers. Comcast, the prime force behind the development of RDK, has already leveraged the software bundle in its X1 hybrid IP video gateways, which have been introduced in all of its markets. For its part, Liberty Global is rolling out RDK in its next-generation Horizon hybrid IP video gateways, which, like the Comcast's X1 gateways and TWC's planned IP boxes, will feature a cloud-based programming guide. (See Bye Bye OCAP, Hello RDK, Liberty Global Joins Team RDK , and All the Way With RDK?)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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DOShea
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DOShea,
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4/16/2014 | 9:24:41 PM
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