Wireless Applications

Zigbee Alliance Announces First RF4CE-Certified Units

June 3, 2009

The specification is for RF remote controls and enables the devices to operate over greater distances, effectively removing the line-of-sight and field-of-vision barriers in today's IR remotes.

San Ramon, CA -- The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies, creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial, and consumer applications, announced the availability of ZigBee Golden Unit platforms that implement the ZigBee RF4CE specification. ZigBee RF4CE was designed to replace infrared (IR) remote controls with radio frequency (RF) and thereby offer non-line-of-sight operation, longer range, and battery life for consumer electronic (CE) devices, such as HDTV, home theater equipment, set-top boxes, and other audio equipment.

Freescale Semiconductor and Texas Instruments are the first members to have successfully implemented the new ZigBee RF4CE specification and pass independent testing conducted by NTS Corp., TRaC Telecoms, and Radio and TUV Rheinland to achieve Golden Unit status. This milestone enables original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to create ZigBee RF4CE–certified products that allow for advanced interoperable communications between components and remote controls while providing interoperability between OEMs. Other platform suppliers are now able to seek ZigBee RF4CE platform certification and further broaden the already strong ZigBee supply chain.

"Having the Golden Units so soon after approval of the ZigBee RF4CE specification shows that its adoption within the alliance is a success story," says Eddy Odijk, Vice President of Standardization at Royal Philips Electronics. "This milestone enables innovative remote controls for HDTVs, home theater equipment, set-top boxes, and other CE products that the industry has been waiting for."

To maintain the highest quality, the ZigBee Alliance requires Golden Units for all new specifications. This process ensures all platforms demonstrate full interoperability for future ZigBee RF4CE products. Golden Units also prove all technical aspects of the specification can be implemented and perform as intended using multiple independent implementations.

"We believe the key to delivering a successful wireless standard lies in the creation of a technology that advances the entire consumer electronics industry," said Bob Heile, Chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "With ZigBee RF4CE Golden Unit availability, the ZigBee Alliance provides a standard wireless platform, enabling CE manufacturers to create innovative products and features for the consumer that will be secure, low cost, and easy to deploy."

Announced in March 2009, ZigBee RF4CE is a standardized specification for RF remote controls that will enable faster, more reliable and greater flexibility for devices to operate from larger distances, effectively removing the line-of-sight and field-of-vision barriers in today's IR remotes. The ZigBee RF4CE specification is designed for a wide range of products, including home entertainment devices, lighting control, security monitoring, keyless entry systems, and many more.

ZigBee RF4CE: More flexibility and control
The ZigBee RF4CE specification is based on IEEE 802.15.4. MAC/PHY radio technology in the 2.4 GHz unlicensed frequency band and enables worldwide operation, low power consumption, and instantaneous response time. It allows omni-directional and reliable two-way wireless communication, channel agility for enhanced co-existence with other 2.4GHz wireless technologies, and simple, secure set-up and configuration. During the next quarter, the alliance will develop a test program consistent with existing policies for specifications and public application profiles. Once complete, products using a public application profile based on the ZigBee RF4CE specification can be submitted to an authorized test house for certification.

About ZigBee
ZigBee is the global wireless language connecting dramatically different devices to work together and enhance everyday life. The ZigBee Alliance is a non-profit association of more than 300 member companies, driving development of ZigBee wireless technology. The alliance promotes worldwide adoption of ZigBee as the leading wirelessly networked, sensing and control standard for use in consumer electronic, energy, home, commercial, and industrial areas.

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