Consumer electronics consortium to forge future of remote control technology

Thursday, June 12th, 2008
Samsung logo

EINDHOVEN — Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI), Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation and Panasonic (NYSE:MC) today announced they have joined forces to develop a standardized specification for radio frequency-based remote controls for audio visual consumer electronics devices. Working with Freescale Semiconductors, OKI and Texas Instruments, the seven companies have formed the RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) Consortium to create a new protocol that will enable the development of radio frequency remote controls that deliver richer communication, increased reliability and more flexible use.

Most existing remote controls use infrared technology to communicate commands to controlled devices. While no radio frequency remote control standard currently exists for audio visual consumer electronic devices, increased demand for advanced functionality that cannot be supported by existing infrared technology has led to the formation of the RF4CE Consortium. Radio frequency remote controls enable non line-of-sight operation and the technology also provides more advanced features based on bi-directional communications such as display feedback for an enhanced entertainment experience.

The new radio frequency remote control standard will be based on IEEE 802.15.4. MAC/PHY radio technology in the 2.4GHz unlicensed frequency band, which enables worldwide operation, low power consumption and instantaneous response time. The RF4CE Consortium aims to develop a radio frequency platform that allows omni-directional and reliable two-way wireless communication, frequency agility to co-exist with other 2.4GHz wireless technologies, simple security set-up and configuration.

“The initial applications of the radio frequency remote control standard in new devices will be similar to the current infrared technology, however this platform will open up the possibilities for much richer remote control functionality in the future,” said Bas Driesen, Chairperson, RF4CE Consortium. “Unifying the resources of Philips, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic together with Freescale Semiconductors, OKI and Texas Instruments is a big undertaking. The formation of the RF4CE Consortium is testimony to how important radio frequency technology is for the consumer electronics industry.”

The RF4CE specification is due to be launched in the second half of 2008 and will be accessible to all interested parties.