The latest update to the RDK video software (RDK-V) is designed to improve efficiency of deploying video services and, critically, apps across IP and hybrid cable QAM/DVB set-top boxes. It is the latest effort from RDK to match Android TV’s app onboarding process.
RDK Management has released the newest open-source software bundle to its technology stack. Announced ahead of the 2023 RDK Summit in Amsterdam, RDK6 comes with improvements designed to further streamline the development and deployment of video functionality and apps across IP and hybrid QAM/DVB set-top boxes.
According to the group, which oversees the platform and its evolution, RDK6 will help improve the efficiency of app integration and manage core video functionality across chipsets (SoCs) and device manufacturers (OEMs).
In parallel with the availability of RDK6, RDK Management will also launch a new certification service for SoC manufacturers and OEMs in the RDK community, which now counts more than 600 memebrs. The certification test suite will support “RDK Certified” devices whereby companies receive RDK compliance validation across the RDK software stack. RDK6 will also be available as part of the RDK Video Accelerator program, a full IP STB specification for OEM and SoC partners to offer certified and ready-to-deploy RDK devices.
To date, RDK has been deployed on more than 100 million devices from service providers around the globe, standardising core functionality on top of which service providers can develop and deploy applications and services across various hardware platforms.
In addition to RDK-V for set-top boxes, community members have recently adopted RDK software components for use within their connected TVs.
European cable operator Liberty Global, a key RDK proponent and early adopter, highlighted more efficient onboarding of applications as a vital new component.
“RDK continues to be the underlying embedded software powering the customer devices offered as part of Liberty Global’s common Entertainment platform, Horizon, which is now in its fifth major iteration and is enjoyed by customers in all the markets in which Liberty Global operates,” said Gavin Sheldon, Managing Director, Technology Development at Liberty Global. “By using a common software platform, we have been able to focus more of our energy into addressing the specific needs of our customers for improved navigation, search and discovery, and adding more and more in demand content and applications, resulting in a step change in customer satisfaction in all of our markets. The next major evolution of RDK (RDK6), which Liberty Global is contributing to and will utilise, will enable easier and quicker onboarding of applications which is critical to the continued evolution of our platform.”
Specifically, RDK6 will include the latest version of Firebolt to standardise OTT app integration. Firebolt exposes common interfaces such as video playback, DRM, graphics, and video security enabling each app provider to integrate their app to the RDK in a consistent way. RDK6 also includes a WPE WebKit browser and works with a wide variety of DRMs and SoC video security integrations. RDK6 supports native and streaming video apps integrated through Firebolt that are built using Lightning or HTML5. Lightning is used to create lightweight yet high-performance apps and UIs, optimized for set-top boxes with memory constraints. Moreover, RDK6 also supports the use of Downloadable Application Containers (DACs) that allows native applications to run on RDK set-top boxes by creating an isolated environment for each application.
“RDK6 will provide pay TV operators with a hyper-efficient, versatile, low-memory utilization software stack to power their set-top boxes,” said Jason Briggs, President and General Manager of RDK.”
RDK6 will also provide common methods to manage core technical functions such as audio/video playback, conditional access and digital rights management (DRM), home networking interfaces, closed captioning, emergency alerts, voice remote pre-integrations, device telemetry, and more.
RDK6 will be available in Q4 2023 at no cost to companies seeking to access the software code, collaborate, and submit software contributions back to the RDK community.