Samsung Electronics America has signed up to license the Reference Design Kit from RDK Management in order to accelerate the development of its next generation set-top boxes and gateways.

With Samsung on board, more than 100 silicon vendors, hardware OEMs, integrators, application developers, and service providers have licensed the RDK.

“As a leading provider of pay TV CPE worldwide, Samsung recognizes the value of a common platform,” said Stephen Goldstein, vice president and general manager, set-top boxes at Samsung Electronics America’s Enterprise Business Division. “The RDK allows Samsung to deliver devices to operators faster and with broader scale. Samsung has already begun deploying set-top boxes based on the RDK and we look forward to more RDK-based projects in the United States and abroad.”

The RDK was originally championed by Comcast before RDK Management was formed as a joint venture between Comcast and Time Warner Cable in August.  

Comcast used the RDK for the Pace and Samsung boxes that support its X1 platform and vendors are also using it to develop hardware, features and applications on Comcast’s X2 upgrade. In addition to Comcast, Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks, Liberty Global/Virgin Media and Cablevision are among Samsung’s customer list.

Time Warner Cable is trialing IP hybrid boxes and a cloud-based guide, but the RDK won’t come into play until early next year. Other cable operators that have expressed an interest in the RDK include Charter Communications, Rogers Communications, J:Com and Liberty Global.

“One of our goals with the RDK program is to accelerate development of an advanced software solution throughout the industry, which allows MVPD’s the opportunity to provide enhanced user experiences across a broad set of set-top box, gateway, and SoC platforms," said Steve Heeb, president and general manager of RDK Management, LLC. “Samsung’s support of the RDK helps expand it as global platform available to operators around the world.”

The Comcast RDK was developed internally using open-source components and by working with various vendors. The RDK is a community-based ecosystem 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/MPEG-2 environment of today, as well as in the IP environment of tomorrow.

The RDK includes CableLabs’ “Reference Implementation” for AP 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.