Light Reading
As Comcast's Reference Design Kit (RDK) finds support, it could create a new, open environment for developing IP set-tops and gateways

Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
8/30/2012
50%
50%

Cable technology vendors and a few major operators are starting to get behind the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Reference Design Kit (RDK), a software bundle for a new breed of IP-only and hybrid QAM/IP set-tops and video gateways.

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), one of Comcast's primary suppliers, just announced that it's obtained a license for the RDK. Comcast is also getting support for fellow MSOs while it builds out partnerships among chip and equipment vendors. (See Motorola Still Tight With Comcast .)

It seems like a good time to review Comcast's progress and examine what the RDK is made of. This interview, from The Cable Show in May, provides a starting point. A uniform approach
Comcast set to work on the RDK about two years ago, and it's got the potential to become a big deal. With broad adoption, the RDK could provide the cable industry with a much more uniform video platform as operators embark on IP video migrations. It could also open the historically closed environment for set-top makers and app developers.

One key goal well underway is getting the RDK baked into systems-on-chip (SoCs) before box makers start building products around them, as it should translate into much faster product development cycles. At The Cable Show in May, Comcast Senior VP of Customer Premises Equipment Steve Reynolds said the typical cycle (building the box, developing software and getting it all up and running) was 24 months when the MSO launched the RDK project. The hope is that the RDK will cut that cycle to a year or even less, he said.

(A video of the RDK panel at the show is available here.)

It's anticipated that some RDK devices will use ARM, a low-power chip architecture already popular in Blu-ray players, smartphones and tablets. The idea there is to provide commonality so apps developed for mobile devices can be ported easily to the world of IP-connected set-tops and gateways.

The RDK leans on a Web-like cloud infrastructure, meaning that Comcast and its partners can create and change apps more rapidly. The old infrastructure's software environment is highly fragmented, requiring Comcast to spend gobs of time testing and retesting new software, followed by the further time-sucking task of downloading new files to boxes every time a change or upgrade is made.

It's painful. Reynolds likened the RDK's common stack model and its ability to accelerate application development to those of Android.

Next page: What's in the RDK?

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 3 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
AESerm
50%
50%
AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:22:29 PM
re: Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction


Can't see Liberty getting involved, at least in public way, too soon as it finally appears to be showtime for the Horizon box (first announced in 2009). Also their TV Everywhere play Orion should be getting some air time over next few weeks. 

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:22:27 PM
re: Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction


Yes, there's a long way between kicking the tires and deployment, but at least they are giving it a look. Makes me wonder if there's enough flexibility in the RDK to hook into their gateway ecosystem for IP clients. JB

CableGearHead
50%
50%
CableGearHead,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:22:26 PM
re: Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction


Pace and Cisco are both Licensees (Both long before Motorola). 

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:22:25 PM
re: Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction


Thanks, and another board poster mentioned Technicolor, too, which would also not be surprising given their CPE history with Comcast with eMTAs the new Skype TV box.  And they did show off a pretty sweet looking gateway at CES that could fit the bill. Any sense on whether Technicolor has signed on the dotted line as well? JB


 

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed