Universal Remote Control

Are you ready for a big change? Are you ready for the remote controlled home?

There is a new generation of remote controls about to invade your home.

Instead of using decades old “point and shoot” infrared beams to provide a connection between the remote and the device being controlled, the new generation 433 mhz remote control of remote controls are using RF or radio frequency. Actually to be more precise, they will be using what is known as ZigBee RF4CE.. Similar to Wi-Fi, it provides many of the same wireless networking capabilities with much less power requirements.

The RF4CE organization (Radio Frequency For Consumer Electronics) was formed by four of the top consumer electronics manufacturers in the world – Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony. In 2009, the RF4CE group was adopted by the ZigBee Alliance and the new ZigBee RF4CE was inaugurated.

The ZigBee Alliance has fine-tuned the ZigBee RF4CE standard to transform it into more of a total home media experience. In addition to controlling all the home’s media equipments such as TVs, stereos, DVRs, DVD players, etc., this now includes a SMART automated home theater experience.

When you insert a DVD disk into the player, the player then talks to the entire home via wireless connections. The TV automatically switches to the DVD input mode, the remote switches to DVD control mode, the room lights would dim and the curtains would close. You are ready to watch your favorite DVD.

In addition to being smart, the new ZigBee RF4CE remote control can function as the “home mobile dashboard” – connecting home entertainment, automation, security, HVAC, power use control and management, health monitoring, etc.

By using the ultra low power 802.15.4 wireless technology, a wide range of low data rate devices and sensors can either directly or indirectly talk to and be managed by the remote control. The cable companies and service providers would like to see their set top boxes – managed by the remote control – become the centerpiece of the new smart home with all the homes systems flowing through it. The Home Mobile Dashboard then monitors and controls all the systems via the set top box. Another advantage of using the set top box as the central base station is its internet connection to the cloud which enables the home owner to remotely access and control the home’s systems via any mobile device including cell phones.

The new ZigBee RF4CE remote control also delivers a variety of exciting new functions and capabilities. As it is using an ultra low power wireless network, its power draw is almost negligible which makes the device essentially maintenance free.

By using ZigBee RF4CE it is possible to build remote controls that never need to have their batteries changed or recharged.

Aside from the obvious great reduction in batteries and their load of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, this means that manufacturers are finally freed from the need to include battery compartments with battery lids.

Most people, especially those with kids, have had the experience of broken battery lids which means wrapping the remote with rubber bands or duct tape. Even more exciting for the manufacturers, without the need to accommodate batteries and battery compartments, is the ability to design remote controls in exciting new form factors and shapes.