Ahead of the 2023 RDK Summit in Amsterdam, RDK Management has announced RDK6 – the newest open-source software bundle designed to power video customer-premise equipment (CPE) for pay TV operators worldwide. RDK6 is designed to further streamline the development and deployment of video functionality and apps across IP and hybrid QAM/DVB set-top boxes and will be available in Q4 2023.
“RDK6 will provide pay TV operators with a hyper-efficient, versatile, low-memory utilisation software stack to power their set-top boxes,” said Jason Briggs, President and General Manager of RDK. “RDK6 will help improve the efficiency of app integration and manage core video functionality across chipsets (SoCs) and device manufacturers (OEMs). We are also launching a new RDK certification test suite that will help RDK community members ensure consistency and performance across devices. We look forward to bringing our newest, open-source video software solution to the industry.”
“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.”
To date, RDK has been deployed on more than 100 million devices from service providers around the globe. By standardising core functionality, service providers can develop and deploy applications and services across various hardware platforms and geographies. It enables operators to manage their devices; control their UI/UX and app experiences; and harmonise device telemetry and analytics to improve the customer experience and drive business results.
There are more than 600 technology companies within the RDK community that span leading SoC companies, CE manufacturers, software developers, system integrators, and service providers. Service providers with publicly announced RDK deployments include: Atlantic Broadband, BCN, Claro, Comcast, Cox, Deutsche Telekom, J:COM, KabelPlus, Liberty Global, Mediacom, Megacable, Melita, NOS, Nuuday, Orange, Rogers, SFR (part of Altice Europe), Shaw, Sky, Stofa, Telcom Argentina, Toya, Vectra, Vidéotron, Vodafone, VOO, VTR, WOW, Ziggo and others.
RDK6 will 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. It is designed to streamline operators’ ability to develop, test and deploy video services and apps across set-top boxes using leading SoC manufacturers.
Specifically, RDK6 will include the latest version of Firebolt to standardize 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. 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. Beneath RDK Firebolt is an architectural communication layer, or modular microservices layer, called Thunder, that facilitates communication between Firebolt and RDK core components. RDK6 will be available at no cost to companies seeking to access the software code, collaborate, and submit software contributions back to the RDK community.
Concurrent with the availability of RDK6, RDK Management will also launch a new certification service for SoC manufacturers and OEMs in the RDK community. The certification test suite will support “RDK Certified” devices whereby companies receive RDK compliance validation across the RDK software stack. This certification is designed to accelerate time-to-market for operators and ensure they benefit from the latest RDK release cycle. RDK6 will also be available as part of the RDK Video Accelerator programme, a full IP STB specification for OEM and SoC partners to offer certified and ready-to-deploy RDK devices.
In addition to RDK-V for set-top boxes, community members have recently adopted RDK software components for use within their connected TVs. RDK Management also offers full software profiles to power broadband devices (RDK-B) and cameras (RDK-C). A key benefit of implementing RDK across multiple devices is that operator requirements such as provisioning, data diagnostics, and telemetry are consistent across all RDK software profiles, enabling service providers to manage video, broadband, and cameras in a uniform way.
For those organisations that need additional technical support or want to promote their activity more actively within the community, RDK offers Preferred and Preferred Plus memberships and the RDK Technology Advisory Board (RTAB).