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Foxxum nets first pay-TV deal for new RDK-based OS

Foxxum said its new operating system for set-tops and smart TVs based on the Reference Design Kit (RDK) has secured its first foothold in the pay-TV sector – with India's BCN (Bhimavaram Community Network) Digital.

BCN Digital, a cable distribution company supporting more than 2,300 "sub operators" in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, will tap into Foxxum OS 4, a new operating system based on the RDK, an open source stack managed by a joint venture of Comcast, Charter Communications and Liberty Global.

Germany-based Foxxum introduced Foxxum OS 4 earlier this month with an aim to establish an independent operating system that can be baked into connected TVs destined for retail or distribution by service operators.

However, it appears that BCN Digital's implementation of OS 4, at least early on, will focus on the set-top box.

BCN Digital, which is expanding IPTV services to multiple regions of India, picked Foxxum's OS to help it take "full control of our very own set-top boxes," BCN Digital Chairman and CEO Srinivasa Raiu said in a statement. But Raiu did add that Foxxum also provides "a realistic partnership approach" for operating systems that can power both set-tops and connected TVs.

In addition to being the first pay-TV provider to launch Foxxum OS 4, the operator will also "benefit from our CTV OS partner model," noted Foxxum CEO Ronny Lutzi.

Foxxum has been asked when BCN Digital intends to deploy Foxxum OS 4 and to provide more clarity on BCN Digital's plans to use the operating system in connected TVs.

Update: A Foxxum official confirmed that the work with BCN Digital will start as a set-top box project and hopefully scale into connected TVs as well. As for timing on the initial focus on set-top boxes, the goal is to have products available in the market by the first quarter of 2023.

In a recent interview with Light Reading, Lutzi noted that the new operating system is expected to reach full market launch in the first quarter of 2023.

Video tech ecosystem in place

BCN Digital is already working with an array of partners on its IPTV and over-the-top services, including Tata Elxsi (systems integrator), Broadpeak (content delivery network provider), Irdeto (security) and Skyworth (RDK set-tops). China's Amlogic is the first chipmaker to announce support for Foxxum OS 4.

The BCN Digital deal enters the picture as Foxxum positions itself as an independent supplier of operating systems for connected TVs, and as a competitive alternative to the Android TV option for streaming devices distributed by pay-TV operators.

"We are simply independent, and therefore we are also no threat to an operator. We are not a CTV threat. I think that's one of our main assets," Lutzi told Light Reading. Foxxum, he added, intends to use Foxxum OS to break into the US market, and is in talks with strategic investors concerning the company's plans for the US.

Foxxum isn't the only company pursuing the independent path to connected TVs. Xperi has a similar strategy underway with a TiVo operating system that will be built into smart TVs from Vestel and initially distributed and sold in parts of Europe.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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