Comcast snares set-top app specialist Metrological

Comcast pulls more engineering and software development expertise in-house for its X1 and Xfinity Flex video and smart home platforms.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

September 16, 2019

3 Min Read
Comcast snares set-top app specialist Metrological

Comcast confirmed it recently acquired Metrological, a company that specializes in developing and integrating individual OTT applications and app stores for set-top boxes and other video distribution platforms.

The companies are already close as Comcast has been working with Metrological to weave Netflix and other OTT-delivered third-party apps into its X1 video platform. More recently, Comcast has been teaming with Metrological on Xfinity Flex, a newer video streaming and smart home offering from the MSO that is targeted to broadband-only customers and consumers who have cut the video cord.

Figure 1: Metrological has already been helping Comcast integrate a multitude of third-party OTT apps on its X1 and Xfinity Flex platforms. Metrological has already been helping Comcast integrate a multitude of third-party OTT apps on its X1 and Xfinity Flex platforms.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced, but Comcast told Light Reading via email that all Metrological employees will report to Steve Heeb, Comcast's VP and GM of licensing and strategic development. Heeb is also president and GM of RDK Management LLC, the joint venture of Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter Communications that manages the Reference Design Kit (RDK) open source software platform for set-top boxes and broadband gateways.

The Metrological acquisition, first reported by nScreenMedia over the weekend, represents another step in Comcast's strategy to establish control of the development, design and roadmap of its various products.

Among some prime examples, Comcast's X1 platform, which is also being syndicated to other MSOs such as Rogers Communications and Cox Communications, was developed largely in-house. The MSO has also used RDK as the baseline for its "xFi" WiFi and smart home management platform. Further, Comcast has secured more control of other elements of its technologies and underlying systems via M&A moves, including the acquisition of IoT company Stringify in 2017 and PowerCloud Systems in 2014.

By taking Metrological in-house, Comcast will establish more control of a platform it's been using to tightly integrate and aggregate various OTT apps for X1 and Flex, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and CuriosityStream, among others. In addition to helping Comcast and other operators stitch in third-party apps, Metrological has developed its own app store for set-top box platforms.

The acquisition of Metrological should also help Comcast shore up its app integration capabilities and compete more fiercely with Google, which has been gaining ground around the world with its Android TV Operator Tier offering. Amazon, meanwhile, is also trying to elbow its way into the service provider market with Fire TV.

Though Comcast was Metrological's marquee cable operator customer, the vendor also works with several other service providers around the globe, including Liberty Global, Turkcell, Vodafone Germany, KPN, NOS, Tele Columbus and Ooredoo.

Headquartered in The Netherlands, Metrological was founded in 2005.

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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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