EKT was planning have quite a range of RDK products at the IBC. Why are you focusing on RDK whilst you have your own middleware and there is Android?
Good question! As EKT we have always utilised our own middleware LinuxTV. This is a super stable STB middleware that is available on several chipsets and which has multiple securities integrated. Quite a complete stack. But over time we have found that doing everything ourselves is a massive task where our customers do not necessarily see the value.
So, over the years we started to use a 3rd party browser. WE co-founded DTVKit.org where we have a fantastic DVB stack, and as such our team can focus on customisation and integration, making a difference for our customers.
RDK is a logical next step where we make use of a super stable middleware and where our team can make the difference with integrations and customisations. Additionally, due to the pre-integration of many apps, RDK makes it easier for us to offer premium apps, compared to our own Linux middleware.
Does that mean that you will drop your own middleware?
At this stage we have some very cost-effective platforms that run our LinuxTV. We will continue to support these platforms and see RDK for our premium 4K platforms where there is a greater demand for premium app integrations.
Furthermore, we support a lot of securities and middlewares out of the box with LinuxTV so there are plenty of reasons to deploy on that platform for various market conditions.
So, this is where it gets really interesting. AndroidTV (certified) is a great platform, if you are willing to share your future with Google. We have seen the power of Google in other industries and we believe that in the long run, they will not be the best partner, not for us and certainly not for our customers.
With RDK, a solution from the industry, for the industry, we have an open-source solution that is backed by some of the biggest operators in the world. And many more are following.
So, we believe that, if you want to “run you own race” and be in control of your destiny, RDK is the right choice. However, it does need to deliver on some key elements:
– Quality of service
– Integration with premium apps
– Integration with security partners
– Integration with middleware partners
– Choice of vendors (SoC and STB vendors)
The interesting thing is that RDK has made considerable steps in all these fields and can now be considered to be a true full alternative to the “traditional” STB middlewares and Android.
But isn’t RDK really a custom solution for Tier 1 operators like Comcast/Liberty?
A: This is historically the background of RDK but in the last few years they have implemented various elements to accommodate a more “off the shelf” product. With the Video Accelerator programme there is now a fast to market RDK solution that is pre-integrated with not only the full app store from Metrological, but also premium VOD apps we are all used to.
We believe, as EKT, that we can bring RDK to operators that may (still) have a smaller customer base and are still looking for a trusted platform, access to premium content / premium apps, want a platform that continues to develop and want to ensure that they own their customers.
We see RDK’s potential to become the default STB (and smart TV) middleware that drives innovation and monetisation with the operator as the primary beneficiary.
So, do you see a battle between Android and RDK?
Yes, we think there are considerable choices to be made by the operators today. There are other players like Roku, HarmonyOS and AWS to be considered. Yet with all of the options in the market, we see that only RDK is the platform that delivers on both the availability of technology and integrations whilst leaving the data management and monetisation completely to the operator.
As EKT we decided to make a choice and support the platform that supports our customers. We invite everyone to consider RDK as an option and hope that they will see the (long term) benefits as we do!