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LG, Toshiba Lend Support To ZigBee RF Remotes

7/14/2010 04:32:16 PM Eastern

San Ramon, Calif. - The
development of RF remotes that compete with IR remotes on price got a boost
with the announcement that LG and Toshiba have joined the ZigBee RF4CE steering
committee, whose member include such CE heavyweights as Freescale, Philips,
Samsung, Sony and Texas Instruments.

The ZigBee Alliance's
ZigBee
RF4CE specification
features a remote control
profile
suitable for use in low-cost remotes
shipped with TVs, disc players, set-top boxes and audio equipment, although the
spec will be expanded eventually to include products such as garage door
openers and keyless-entry systems. Unlike IR remotes, RF4CE remotes would deliver
non-line-of-sight operation, two-way communication and open-field 300-foot
range while offering extended battery life, the group said. Consumers could
control a device without pointing the remote, control different brands of
equipment from the same remote, and remotely operate equipment tucked inside
closed cabinets or located in nearby rooms.

The
technology would also enable RF4CE-equipped products from different suppliers
to work together. Inserting a disc into a Blu-ray player, for example, would
automatically trigger a TV to switch to the proper input, switch an A/V
receiver to surround mode, switch off a cable box and other unneeded
components, dim the room lights, and close the curtains. The remote would automatically
switch modes to control the Blu-ray player.

In the case
of products that stream content to different rooms, the RF4CE remote could use
a GUI on a compatible TV screen to control the streaming products from another
room.

The
alliance expects said shipments of Zigbee RF4CE-based products in the U.S.
might begin in the latter half of 2010.

Toshiba
already offers ZigBee RF4CE-based remotes with select TV in select markets, the
company said.

Development of the
ZigBee Remote Control standard started in early 2009 and was completed later
that year. The standard is the first based on the RF4CE technology.

The non-profit
ZigBee
Alliance
has signed up more than 370
members.

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