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Samsung, Espial Team Up on RDK

Mari Silbey

Samsung and Espial are putting their collective RDK licenses together. The two companies have announced a joint solution that combines Samsung Corp. 's set-top and gateway products with Espial's RDK software.

The Espial Group Inc. STB Client is a software stack built on top of the software bundle known as the Reference Design Kit (RDK), which was originally developed by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). The STB Client includes an application framework supporting traditional program guides, an HTML5 browser, DVR functions, and video-on-demand. Espial has also bundled in its own HTML5 program guide, which, when paired with the Samsung hardware, gives operators a complete user experience solution for pay-TV services.

The joint offering from Samsung and Espial is evidence that after long years of domination by the old duo of Motorola and Scientific Atlanta, the set-top hardware and software markets have started to open up. (See Beyond RDK: A New TV Turf War.)

Samsung doesn't yet rival the bigger North American cable set-top players -- which include Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Pace Micro Technology -- but it has made progress in customer deployments. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), the joint venture organization overseeing administration of the RDK software.

Espial, meanwhile, says it has deployed its RDK-compliant software stack with an unidentified Tier 1 operator in North America. A company spokesperson said that the joint offering with Samsung isn't aimed at any particular size of cable operator, but specified that because it is RDK-based it would most likely "be of interest to the larger-tier operators around the world."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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