The RDK Gets a Place of its Own

Aug. 21, 2013
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) have formed a new venture to manage Reference Design Kit (RDK) software licensing and support. The company, RDK Management LLC, is in the process of hiring a president and a core group of employees to manag...
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) have formed a new venture to manage Reference Design Kit (RDK) software licensing and support. The company, RDK ManagementLLC, is in the process of hiring a president and a core group of employees to manage day-to-day operations.The RDK software stack was originally developed and licensed by Comcast to help solve the conundrum of delivering any content, anywhere, to any device. The intention was to have a common framework for set-top boxes and gateway devices with the idea that company-owned and customer-purchased equipment could work side by side. In addition, the goal was to be able to make some of the "richness" of the Internet translate to the TV, according to the website www.RDKcentral.com.And of course, speed is always a factor. Traditionally, the timeline for a new set-top from chip to consumer was as much as three years. The RDK is said to cut about a year off of this by "pre-incorporating software" at the chip level.Interested operators, vendors and software developers must become licensed to join the RDK community, but the shared-source components have been royalty free. So what is the impetus to form this new venture?"The two companies are doing this because the RDK is a community effort, and we felt it deserved an independent entity focused on supporting the evolution of the RDK and all its members," said Jenni Moyer, senior director of corporate communications for Comcast.And why was TWC a good fit?"Time Warner Cable has been a great technology partner on RDK and other initiatives, such as the OCAP LLC. Creating the new RDK JV with Time Warner Cable also helps provide the scale that's important to OEMs and other technology vendors," Moyer said.RDK Management will take over the licensing and ownership of the RDK code and specifications, intellectual property rights, and current RDK licenses. (More than 100 companies have registered since the process began in early 2012.) In addition, there will be an expanded support program to provide more in-depth technical help as the RDK solution is more widely deployed.Comcast, of course, was the first operator to utilize the RDK, which is part of its Xfinity platform. Time Warner Cable has reportedly said it will incorporate the reference design into its next generation plans.Monta Monaco Hernon is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].

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