RDK reveals next-gen software for cable set-top boxes

RDK Management today revealed RDK4 – the newest generation of its open source software platform that runs set-top boxes and other customer premise equipment for pay TV providers.

“RDK4 is the culmination of joint development between the RDK community and leading app companies,” said Steve Heeb, president of RDK, in a statement. “Our newest software release makes it even easier to develop, test, and deploy video apps across set-top boxes. And the new modular plug-in architecture makes it simpler to implement specific technical features or services, based on the individual needs of service providers.”

RDK4 has conjured up a naming storm for three of the key layers of its updated platform: Firebolt App Platform, Lightning App Language and Thunder modular approach.

The Firebolt application platform provides a common way of supporting Lightning, HTML5, and native streaming apps within RDK. RDK Management said Firebolt exposes common interfaces such as video playback, DRM, graphics, and video security and lets each app provider integrate their app to the RDK in a consistent way. RDK said the platform supports a variety of DRMs and SoC video security integrations and includes a WPE WebKit browser.

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Thunder serves as the architectural communication layer, or modular microservices layer, for managing app life cycles and facilitating communication between Firebolt and RDK core components. RDK core components are used by operators to help manage essential video functions, including video tuning, diagnostics, telemetry and operator-specific requirements including DVB and Wi-Fi management.

The Lightning app development language and open source SDK provides standardized APIs that enable operators to integrate new user interfaces, apps and app stores optimized for use with Firebolt and RDK’s WPE WebKit browser. Although RDK4 is designed for use with Lightning, it also supports the use of HTML5 Web apps and native streaming video apps integrated through Firebolt.

RDK4 is also available as part of the RDK Video Accelerator program, which provides development and deployment-ready set-top boxes from OEMs and chipset suppliers including CommScope, Humax, KAON, Skyworth, Broadcom and Amlogic. These set-top boxes come pre-integrated with the Metrological App Store and RDK4.  In addition, as part of the RDK Video Accelerator program, RDK4 is available on a portfolio of set-top boxes that are pre-loaded with the Metrological App Store and enable operators to develop new Lightning-based UXs and apps.

RDK4 is focused on video but it also provides software profiles for broadband gateways and IP-connected cameras. RDK now powers more than 60 million devices deployed by service providers around the world.