Highlights from RDK Tech Summit 2024

Originally published at: Highlights and key takeaways from RDK Tech Summit 2024

What is RDK?

RDK stands for Reference Design Kit. It’s an open source software bundle for video, broadband and IoT devices. It’s commonly used in consumer devices which include video streaming apps, for example, set top boxes and is a popular development platform for service providers in the cable, satellite and OTT industries.

What is the RDK Tech Summit?

The RDK Tech Summit is a live gathering for RDK members worldwide to discuss technical advancements, new releases and innovations. It consists of presentation sessions grouped into themes, with regular networking breaks for discussions. This year’s summit was in Amsterdam, hosted by Liberty Global and Infosys.

Highlights from RDK Tech Summit 2024

Sessions were themed on the topics of:

  • Connectivity: Next-Gen Networking
  • Entertainment: Cloud Strategies and Firebolt
  • Device Operations: Operational Monitoring & Test Automation
  • Sustainability

Highlights included:

  • The keynotes focused on collaboration, finding common challenges and working to solve them together. Liberty Global gave insight into how they build for, and support, a vast range of devices, across many years of manufacture. They highlighted the need for collaboration where there’s commonality and thinking about what’s common compared to differentiating your service.
  • There was a deep dive on Automatics which is a test automation platform for RDK. This can handle the automation of running tests across many different test cases. During networking discussions, this was a hot topic and we learnt that Automatics is in use by a major telco.
  • The Lightning team highlighted Lightning 3.0 with enhancements focused on performance, quality and a better developer experience. They also noted that Lightning was designed for lower power devices from the beginning, so it can achieve better performance than other recently popular development frameworks.
  • Comcast introduced a layered build system for RDK, allowing component layers to be built independently, including application, middleware and vendor layers. This can speed up development & build times compared to a single monolithic build.
  • Details about Firebolt 2.0 were shared together with Firebolt certifications and Firebolt Connect which is an automated test harness for apps running on RDK.

Separately in the demonstration area Irdeto were showing their App Watch solution running on RDK. This aggregates apps and provides app launching functionality on RDK.

Bitmovin’s RDK support

Bitmovin’s Playback supports the widest range of devices on the market today. This includes set top boxes. Bitmovin provides a common Player SDK which can be used across these platforms, enabling adaptive bitrate playback. 

A key challenge highlighted by many presenters & attendees was supporting the wide range of devices which consumers use today, some of which date back 5-7 years or more. It’s also not economically viable to scale engineering teams linearly with the growing number of devices that streaming services need to support. Leveraging a common video player across each device can increase the number of platforms which engineering teams can support, allowing them to focus on differentiating features ahead of common, core functionality. A vision which Bitmovin supports among the RDK community.

The data from Bitmovin’s annual Video Developer Report also illustrates the challenge of supporting multiple generations and a constant stream of new playback devices. When asked about the challenges video developers are facing, “Playback on all devices” is a mainstay near the top of the list, coming in at #3 in our most recent survey. 17% of respondents said they are currently supporting playback on RDK-powered set top boxes and another 9% said they planned to begin supporting them in the coming year. 

Bitmovin are a member of the RDK Open-Source Community and regularly attend RDK events including Tech Summits & Global Summits.

If you’d like to learn more about RDK and how Bitmovin can help, you can let us know in the comments, ask questions in the Bitmovin Community or contact us here.

Related Links

RDK website

RDK Tech Summit 2024 website

Bitmovin Player SDK – RDK support

Bitmovin Player SDK – set top box support