Elusive video startup Layer3 TV has given us another peek behind the proverbial curtain. The company, which plans to launch a next-generation television service in 2015, has signed a vendor agreement with SeaChange that includes use of the SeaChange Nucleus video gateway software, and a contract for integration and testing services to bring the Nucleus platform to Layer3's "chosen 4K IP set-top."
By selecting SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), Layer3 has also signaled that it will work with the Reference Design Kit (RDK) software stack. Nucleus is built on RDK, which should make it compatible with a number of hardware platforms also designed with RDK in mind. While the RDK stack was originally developed by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), it has since been adopted by a wide range of technology providers. Hardware vendors in the RDK ecosystem include Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Pace Micro Technology , among many others.
The SeaChange deal doesn't solve the entire mystery of Layer3 TV, but it does provide a few more pieces to the puzzle. Here's what we know so far: The new Layer3 service aims to integrate 4K IP-based television with social media features and IoT applications. It will take advantage of RDK and include multiscreen service delivery, but likely won't be compatible with legacy cable set-tops.
As for the company behind the service, Layer3 TV has raised at least $21 million and is headed up by veteran executives with long resumes at institutions such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Motorola. It's headquartered in Denver, with another major office in Boston. (See Cable Vets Launch IP Video Startup.)
One major detail we don't know yet is how Layer3 is managing the programming end of its TV service. Is the company negotiating its own content deals or somehow partnering with existing content aggregators? The answer will be critical to the startup's success.
SeaChange, meanwhile, says Layer3 isn't the first customer to choose its Nucleus software. The company noted in its press release that it has signed deals with "several service providers globally, including two of the world's largest."
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading