The cable industry's Reference Design Kit (RDK) software stack for IP video set-tops and gateways is enjoying a significant rise in popularity after three years in the market.
Leading up to next week's INTX Internet & Television Expo (formerly known as The Cable Show) in Chicago, RDK Management LLC announced that its community of licensees has grown 60% over the past 12 months and now includes more than 220 companies. There are a total of 25 pay-TV operators that directly license the RDK stack globally, and more than 5 million devices have been deployed with RDK around the world.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) was the initial big driver behind the RDK platform. But Comcast quickly drew in Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) to form the RDK Management joint venture in 2013. Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) then signed on early last year as a third strategic partner. (See Liberty Global Joins Team RDK .)
RDK community members include not only pay-TV operators, but also many chipset and hardware manufacturers, app developers and system integrators. Virtually all of the major cable industry vendors have joined the RDK effort, not only licensing the software, but also contributing code to the community. RDK is designed to standardize certain common video components, but also to leave significant room for customized applications like program guides that ride on top of the RDK layer.
Most recently, RDK Management teamed up with Metrological to introduce an RDK App Emulator, which allows developers to create and test RDK applications using only a laptop.
In addition to RDK for IP video set-tops and gateways, now being called RDK-V, the RDK Management Group has also formalized efforts to create an RDK stack for broadband devices dubbed RDK-B. Comcast CTO Tony Werner first batted the term RDK-B around publicly at The Cable Show last year. Following that event, both Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) confirmed their participation in RDK-B development. Comcast was expected to begin trialing Arris broadband gateways with the embedded RDK-B software stack at the end of last year. (See Comcast Plans RDK-for-Broadband Gateway Trials in Q4.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading