Espial lands RDK-related deal with large cable operator
Espial said this morning that it had landed a multi-year, multi-million dollar RDK-based contract with a unnamed tier 1 cable operator in North America.
Espial’s RDK-client solution for set-top boxes and HTML5-based G4 User Experience will be used by the cable operator to provision its services across TVs, tablets and smartphones.
To date, Comcast is the only cable operator that has actually deployed an RDK-based product. Comcast used the RDK for the Pace boxes that support its X1 platform and vendors are also using it to develop hardware, features and applications on Comcast’s X2 upgrade that will debut later this year. Other cable operators that have expressed an interest in the RDK include Charter Communications, Rogers Communications, J:Com and Liberty Global.
Time Warner Cable is trialing IP hybrid boxes and a cloud-based guide, but the RDK won’t come into play until the first half of next year.
"Espial's product portfolio is focused on helping operators launch new, innovative services as they transition to IP-based networks" said Jaison Dolvane, CEO, Espial. "This contract represents a significant financial win for Espial and reinforces Espial's product leadership. “Traditional telecom competition, along with new Internet entrants like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, are challenging incumbent cable service providers. This is accelerating cable's transition to IP as a platform to allow them to effectively compete and rapidly innovate.
“Espial's strong product focus in this market, our work with Comcast as an RDK licensee and our continually increasing HTML5 leadership positions us very well to capitalize on this lucrative market opportunity."
Since its public debut at The Cable Show last year, the Comcast RDK has been moving at a rapid pace among system integrators, app developers, original equipment manufactures (OEMs) and software vendors. To date more than 100 companies have licensed the RDK.
This past summer Comcast and Time Warner Cable teamed up to form RDK Management, which is now in charge of licensing, training, community support and code management for the Comcast Reference Design Kit.
The Comcast RDK  was developed internally using open-source components and by working with various vendors. The RDK is a community-based project that allows developers, vendors and cable operators to use a defined stack of software on one layer in order to provision set-top boxes and gateways.
The RDK allows all of the interested parties to develop once and then scale across multiple environments – in the CableCard/QAM/MEPG-2 world of today, as well as in the IP environment of tomorrow.
From a cable operator perspective, the RDK can cut down on the development cycle for set-top boxes and gateways from one or two years to six months.
The RDK includes CableLabs’ “Reference Implementation” for OCAP and tru2way, as well as the Java Virtual Machine (JVM.) Open-source components of the RDK include GStreamer, QT and WebKit, which are execution environments that can be tailored to each MSO. There are also optional plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash and Smooth HD.