Accelerating the accelerator – the first RDK Video Accelerator with an Amlogic SoC

For: Skyworth, the world’s largest Set Top Box (STB) manufacturer

The issue:

Skyworth, the world’s largest manufacturer of STBs, has an impressive track record in delivering Android TV and propriety middleware STBs. But when they looked to develop their first RDK product they needed an experienced partner to help.

They chose Consult Red. With Europe’s largest RDK R&D team and several product launches under our belt we had experience in depth. Skyworth wanted a flexible engagement model – they had considerable resources that they could bring to bear but needed a partner who could work with them and utilise their team where appropriate.

Our objective:

To help Skyworth develop the world’s first RDK Video Accelerator using the Amlogic S905X2 SoC. Shortly after this project started, this platform was selected by a major operator and consequently the scope of the work was expanded to support the development of this platform through to a full product.

What we did:

Using our knowledge of the RDK-M way of working, we set up the code configuration, build scripts and recipes enabling subsequent work to be easily up streamed and down streamed with the RDK Code Management Framework (CMF).

We worked with Skyworth and Amlogic to ingest their code and generate a baseline build that all parties could work from. We followed an agile approach where daily stand ups were used to co-ordinate work between the Skyworth and Consult Red teams. Collaboration tools, especially issue tracking were used to orchestrate and track work as it moved between stakeholders – in this way Consult Red and Skyworth were able to build an extended and effective team.

We undertook the initial integration of the RDK middleware with the Skyworth and Amlogic platform code, testing and resolving issues until baseline functionality was achieved. This involved liaising we the RDK technical authorities before upstreaming any changes to RDK. Understanding the whole ecosystem is vital to efficiently resolving issues as it ensures the right stakeholders receive the expected information enabling them to engage effectively.

The Skyworth Video Accelerator required some platform specific customisations including:

  • Integration of an alternative Bluetooth remote using the Bluez stack
  • Development of a rescue loader including flash partitioning and integration with the backend software update server
  • Integration of new WiFi drivers
  • Configuration of Widevine and Cobalt for a lean back YouTube demo

RDK is a toolkit of components that can be selected and configured to deliver the required features. This flexibility is a key attraction of RDK but it takes experience to efficiently navigate, configure and upstream new platforms.

Chris Briggs, CTO Skyworth

“We needed a strong partner that could take us from no experience with RDK through to Proof of Concept with RDK and ultimately to deployment of a Video Accelerator. We also wanted knowledge transfer – we have a very experienced team at Skyworth and Consult Red did a great job in collaborating with the team to ensure it was a truly joint development. I think as an extended team we’re a formidable option for operators looking to move fast with RDK.”

How we did it:

To successfully deliver RDK projects you must be able to work efficiently with multiple stakeholders in this case there were parties from Skyworth, Amlogic, RDK-M, and other technology providers.

Our experience, collaborative approach and strong communications helped ensure effective project delivery across all the stakeholders and facilitated knowledge transfer to Skyworth.

The outcome:

The world’s first RDK Video Accelerator on Amlogic allowing operators to rapidly deploy their services with ease and in complete control.

The creation of a strong and dynamic partnership that can deliver cost effective RDK products to operators who want to deploy Premium OTT applications fast.

Proof that with the right collaboration partners (Consult Red & Skyworth) – RDK can rapdily deliver at a low cost.

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