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Freescale supports ZigBee Alliance’s move to integrate RF4CE technology


Freescale continues to drive adoption of RF technology to improve consumer home entertainment experience

AUSTIN, Texas . – Freescale Semiconductor today announced its support of the agreement by the ZigBee® Alliance and the RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) Consortium to join forces in delivering a standardized specification for radio frequency-based remote controls used in the home entertainment market.

The ZigBee RF4CE solution is available today to select ZigBee members. The ZigBee RF4CE creates an immediate, low-cost, easy-to-implement solution for control of products such as HDTV, home theatre solutions, set-top boxes and many other home entertainment devices.

“This merger will help drive the next generation of RF control technologies into wider and more pervasive use,” said Henri Richard, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Freescale Semiconductor. “As key members of the ZigBee Alliance, we have been active in driving the acceptance of ZigBee as the low-power wireless standard, and believe that the Alliance will help propel RF4CE as the media control standard to improve overall usability of home entertainment products for millions of consumers around the world.”

As an early creator and adopter of RF control for consumer electronics, Freescale announced its initiative to offer its own SynkroRF entertainment control network technology as an open specification to leading consumer electronics manufacturers last year. SynkroRF control technology is the basis of RF4CE protocol and Freescale continues to lead the charge in the adoption of an open RF entertainment control specification based on IEEE® 802.15.4.

RF4CE founding members – Panasonic, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation – started the consortium in June 2008 and have been working together with Freescale to address increased demand for advanced functionality not currently available through infrared or other proprietary wireless technologies.

The ultimate goal of the RF entertainment control network is more than just replacing an IR remote control. RF technology is expected to enable advanced control capabilities, such as two-way communication between entertainment devices. With a single RF remote device, consumers would be able to control every aspect of the connected home. It is engineered to allow control over appliances and equipment from anywhere in the home without regard to walls or floors.

ZigBee RF4CE: More flexibility and control
ZigBee RF4CE is based on IEEE 802.15.4 MAC/PHY radio technology in the 2.4GHz unlicensed frequency band and enables worldwide operation, low power consumption and instantaneous response time. It allows omni-directional and reliable two-way wireless communication, frequency agility for enhanced co-existence with other 2.4GHz wireless technologies, simple security set-up and configuration.

“We are projecting that 802.15.4 growth rates will exceed those of 802.11 by 2012,” said Brian O’Rourke, principal analyst with In-Stat. “The technology is positioned for significant growth and this merger positions ZigBee solidly in the home.”

During the next quarter, the Alliance plans to develop a test program consistent with existing policies for specifications and public application profiles. Once complete, products using ZigBee RF4CE can be submitted to an authorized test house for certification. Freescale expects its ZigBee RF4CE protocol to be in key OEM products that will be in retail later this year.


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