In an effort to further strengthen its multi-screen hand, RGB Networks announced today that it bought privately held RipCode for an undisclosed sum.

RipCode specializes in offerings for mobile IP video, and RGB plans to incorporate that technology into its Video Multiprocessing Gateway (VMG), which was designed to deliver video to set-tops and PCs.

Jef Graham, CEO of RGB Networks, explained that while other competitors can put together a three-screen system, he believes RGB's approach is unique in two ways: It has the only product backed by a unified management system, and it can deliver everything in a single chassis.

Furthermore, RGB is confident its system will be far more scalable than its competitors' systems, he said.

Multi-Source - Multi-Function - Multi-Device

Cisco, Harmonic and Motorola are among the company's top competitors. Meanwhile, its partners include Ericsson and SeaChange International.

Graham explained that RGB could develop its own technology competitive with RipCode's, but the two companies realized their approaches could be integrated easily by porting RipCode's software onto an RGB blade (a process that will take three to four months to complete).

Furthermore, there was a time element. While in the U.S. the priority for service providers is to complement delivery to set-tops and PCs, the priority for most service providers is to add complementary services for mobile devices (Graham mentioned Rogers in Canada as an example).

The ability to do three screens as soon as possible was therefore a priority for RGB. The company noted its VMG is currently in field trials with cable and IPTV service providers around the world.

"As video service providers consolidate their headends and build converged delivery networks, they require highly reliable IP video solutions that scale efficiently across all subscriber devices," Graham said. "With the integration of RipCode's mobile delivery technology into our modular, high-density Video Multiprocessing Gateway, RGB can offer a unified content delivery solution for TV, PCs and mobile in a scalable, carrier-class platform. We are already seeing tremendous interest in our multi-function VMG, and this bold move quickly takes our capabilities to the next level, providing a unique solution that directly satisfies our customers' requirements for three-screen delivery."

RipCode's technology was designed to convert live and on-demand video content to formats required for the mobile environment, which will be used in conjunction with RGB's transcoding and ad insertion capabilities for TV and PCs.

"We examined several options before concluding that integrating RipCode's technology into our VMG would be the most effective way to complete a three-screen solution that would meet the challenges faced by cable, telco and mobile operators," said Yuval Fisher, RGB's CTO. "We have built the VMG specifically to enable video service providers to seamlessly implement three-screen delivery, serving as the heart of a new generation of IP-centric headends."

The two companies said that RipCode will continue to serve its existing customer base, and that nearly all of its employees will be retained. RipCode will continue to operate out of its Austin, Texas, office, while RGB is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

For more on multi-screen strategies, check out this recent CED feature.

For RGB, this is all preparation for an IPO it hopes to pull off next year.

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