LG, Toshiba Join Zigbee Steering Committee - InformationWeek

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7/14/2010
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LG, Toshiba Join Zigbee Steering Committee

The group's RF4CE wireless standard is aimed at bringing advanced features to remote controls and other consumer electronics.

LG Electronics and Toshiba have joined the Zigbee RF4CE Steering Committee, a group pushing to bring the Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics standard to the consumer electronics industry, the Zigbee Alliance said Tuesday. Zigbee RF4CE is a radio frequency standard specification that gives devices the ability to operate from greater distances faster, more reliably, and with greater flexibility.

"We view Zigbee RF4CE as an industry-changing solution that dramatically improves upon the old infrared, remote control user experience that is very limited in coverage, direction, and data reliability," said Ho Jun Nam, principle research engineer at LG Electronics, in a statement. "As new functionalities are being added to TV sets every day, we believe that Zigbee RF4CE will enable us to design low-power interface devices that offer bi-directional communications, with agile response times, and flexible human interface design to accommodate these new functionalities."

Zigbee RF4CE was first announced in March 2009 to get rid of line-of-site and field-of-vision barriers of current infrared remotes. The specification operates in the 2.4-GHz unlicensed frequency band, and can be run worldwide with low power consumption and rapid response time. Zigbee RF4CE offers two-way communication, creating the ability for a new set of capabilities and consumer electronic products like home entertainment devices, the committee said.

Consumers always want electronics devices that will take their user experience to another level through new, innovative features, said Shigenori Tokumitsu, technology executive of visual products at Toshiba. "Today, Toshiba uses Zigbee RF4CE-based remotes for selected televisions in certain markets," Tokumitsu said in a statement. "We believe Zigbee RF4CE is a critical building block upon which we can develop new, reliable, and interactive solutions that will continue to excite consumers in the future."

The first Zigbee RF4CE-based consumer electronics product, the Zigbee Remote Control, was made available in December 2009. More consumer-oriented applications are being developed, the committee said. In May, the Zigbee Alliance certified 13 mobile telecom products.

Consumer electronics products that work better and have unique features for a new user experience are made possible with Zigbee RF4CE, said Bob Helle, chairman of the Zigbee Alliance, in a statement.

The Zigbee Alliance is a global group of companies building wireless solutions that support energy management in a wide variety of electronics applications. The other steering committee members are Philips, Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Samsung, and Sony.

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