There’s no doubt that Comcast’s Reference Design Kit (RDK) initiative has picked up a lot of steam this year, and that should continue with next week’s RDK Developers Community Conference, which is hosted by Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

But according to a cable operator CTO, the conference is an important next step for the RDK. While a number of vendors have licensed the RDK, material buy-in has yet to occur.

“The jury is still out,” said the CTO. “Is this going to be another tru2way or a real impact? This year will tell.”

The conference is slated for next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Marriott Marquis hotel in New York.

Vendors that have signed up to innovate on the RDK platform include Motorola Mobility, Entropic, itaas, Evolution Digital, Cisco, Broadcom, Entropic and S3 Group. Cable operators that are part of the RDK include, in addition to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Liberty Global.

As you may recall, the RDK’s goal is to cut down the development cycle for new set-top boxes from two years to one year, or even under one year. The Comcast RDK was developed internally by Comcast 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 with HTML5 and IP capabilities.

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.

According to a press release today from Espial, the RDK Developers Community Conference is set to drive the adoption of RDK by providing a forum for professional training and networking opportunities for cable operators and development partners.

Comcast used the RDK to develop its Pace-made “Parker” boxes that are being used for its X1 service, which was formerly called Xcalibur. After a trial in Augusta, Ga., last year, Comcast has launched the cloud and IP-based X1 platform in Boston and other areas of its footprint. The RDK is also the basis for Comcast’s IP XI3 client device that will work in conjunction with the cable operator’s XG1 hybrid gateways.

Charter and Time Warner Cable are also working on RDK implementations of their own.