RDK-powered devices surpass 60M, up 20%

Open source platform for set-tops and gateways and other connected devices is seeing competition in the service provider field from Android TV and, increasingly, Amazon's Fire TV.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 19, 2020

3 Min Read
RDK-powered devices surpass 60M, up 20%

The Reference Design Kit (RDK), an open source software platform for set-tops, gateways and other connected devices, has been deployed on more than 60 million devices worldwide, a 20% increase on the 50 million reported roughly a year ago.

That's the latest device tally from RDK Management, a joint venture of Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter Communications, based on deployments by various cable operators and other service providers in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Figure 1: RDK Management says more than 430 companies are now part of its open source community. Among them, Humax recently introduced a new lineup of RDK-based devices, including this IP set-top box. RDK Management says more than 430 companies are now part of its open source community. Among them, Humax recently introduced a new lineup of RDK-based devices, including this IP set-top box.

RDK started out as a cable-focused platform for video set-top boxes (now referred to as RDK-V), but has evolved to cover broadband gateways (RDK-B) and multiple access network types, including hybrid fiber/coax (HFC), GPON and DSL.

RDK is also being adapted to support a wider range of IoT devices. A software profile for IP-connected cameras is expected "soon," with Sercomm having stepped up to offer RDK software on connected cameras, the organization said.

RDK Management said more than 430 tech companies are now part of its open source community (compared with about 400 about a year ago), a group that includes device suppliers, chipmakers, systems integrators and service providers. The organization doesn't break out that community by category but notes that "dozens" of service providers in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia are either evaluating, testing, trialing or deploying RDK.

In addition to Comcast and Liberty Global, announced service using RDK include Cox Communications, J:COM (Japan), Megacable (Mexico); Melita (Malta); MEO and NOS (Portugal); Rogers, Videotron and Shaw Communications (Canada); SFR (France, part of Altice Europe); Tele Columbus and Vodafone (Germany); Ziggo (the Netherlands); and VTR (Chile). Charter inherited its spot on the RDK JV via its 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable, but has yet to adopt RDK in a big way.

Heated competition
Though RDK Management has found success with major service providers around the world, it's facing stiffening competition from other platforms, including Google (Android TV Operator Tier) and Amazon, with a new version of Fire TV that's optimized for service providers. Roku is also pursuing the service provider sector with its Roku Powered offering.

Of that group, Android TV appears to be making the most significant impact in the service provider market. Rethink Technology predicts that Android TV will also be a big player in Asia-Pacific, but sees Huawei's HarmonyOS as a rising rival in China, according to Multichannel News.

RDK, meanwhile, covers elements such as video tuning management, conditional access and digital rights management, stream managing and diagnostics, as well as the RDK App Framework to help partners build and manage their own apps. RDK also provides access to a pre-integrated app store – the Metrological App Store (Comcast acquired Metrological last year) – and an integrated set-top box system (the RDK Video Accelerator) supported by suppliers such as CommScope, Humax, Kaon and Technicolor.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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