Hillcrest Joins Comcast RDK Brigade

Maker of Motion-Based Remote Control Tech Signs License for MSO’s Set-Top Software Kit
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Hillcrest Labs said it’s the first vendor with motion control technology to license Comcast’s Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated bundle of software designed to accelerate the development and deployment of hybrid QAM/IP and IP-only set-tops and gateways.

Hillcrest’s patented Freespace MotionEngine is software that enables motion-sensitive remote control features in a range of set-tops, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and streaming media devices.  Hillcrest licensees include Logitech, LG Electronics, Roku, Sony Computer Entertainment and Universal Electronics, a firm that makes remote control devices for several major MSOs.

Comcast’s new X1 service, which features a cloud-based user interface, is the first product from the MSO based on the RDK. Comcast MSO has not announced if it intends to mesh Hillcrest’s technology with X1, but the license would clear a hurdle from that path.

The license does clear Hillcrest to provide software development, integration and testing services to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), chipmakers, software vendors, and pay TV operators that are planning to take advantage of the RDK. Hillcrest is one of dozens of vendors to secure an RDK license.

“One of our goals with the RDK program is to accelerate development of an advanced software solution throughout the industry, and provide enhanced user experiences across a broad set of STB, gateway, and system-on-a-chip (SoC) platforms," said Steve Reynolds, Comcast’s senior vice president, CPE and Home Network, in a statement. "Motion control technology can be a compelling way for operators, developers and device manufacturers to create and deliver richer, more compelling multiscreen TV experiences. With Hillcrest's support, we look forward to strengthening our commitment to providing integrated solutions that help move the industry forward in the next wave of consumer TV interactivity.”

“We are proud to embrace this cooperative effort to help operators, developers and device vendors innovate at a fast pace, with more intuitive and interactive user experiences,” added Hillcrest chairman, founder and CEO Dan Simpkins, in a statement.

Hillcrest phased out its original “Loop” remote control in favor of a smaller and lighter “Scoop” pointer/reference design (pictured), which the vendor will demo next month at The Cable Show in Washington , D.C.  Most of Hillcrest’s licensees develop their own motion-powered remote control devices, but WarpiaTV uses the Scoop design for its video streaming platform.

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