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Comcast’s Hess highlights RDK progress

Some 15 pay TV operators have lined up to use the RDK cable set-top framework, according to Mark Hess, SVP business and industry affairs, Comcast. Speaking at a lunch event organised by technology supplier Cisco at IBC yesterday, Hess said that RDK overall is “good” for the set-top industry.

Hess said that the RDK, the open source initiative to set a framework for next-generation set-top boxes, is currently  supported by 180 partners with 15 different pay TV operators supporting it. He said the platform is on the way to delivering scale and enabling operators to innovate much faster and escape the need for costly and time-consuming firmware updates and proprietary implementations.

Hess also said that RDK would boost the set-top box industry. “RDK does good things overall for the set-top industry,” he said, even if as it reduces costs for the operators. He said it allowed manufacturers to put more intelligence into gateway devices that could serve content to multiple low-cost boxes in the home.

“We will still need set-tops in a lot of places and use them to add value,w hicih is all about the user experience,” he said. “Those boxes might be smaller, but they will also still need a gateway to talk to.”

Hess said he saw RDK as part of wider trend towards open source solutions in areas where operators do not compete, creating a level playing field for them to innovate and differentiate their offerings through the user experience while enabling them to innovate at a speed that matches that of OTT players. He highlighted the role of OpenStack, the initiative designed to give operators a single way to manage applications across different data centres, as an example of this.