ZigBee RF4CE (Radio Frequency 4 Consumer Electronics) is the popular wireless communication protocol that enables interoperability between remote controls and a variety of TVs, set-top boxes, gateways and other home networking and entertainment systems from different manufacturers. ZigBee RF4CE standardises the communications protocol and establishes a pathway for Cable Operators and other MSO’s (Multiple Service Operators) to provide new Smart Home subscription services to the consumer. In the USA, most remote controls and set-top boxes have already adopted RF4CE as their primary communication protocol.
It will be just a matter of time until ZigBee RF4CE becomes the standard of choice worldwide in the Europe, Asia, the Americas and other parts of the world as well. The only question is: when?
In this white paper, I will discuss some of the technical aspects of RF4CE, why cable companies and operators are quickly adding RF4CE to their remote controls, and why RF4CE is a better choice for remote controls than Bluetooth.
Why has RF4CE become very successful in the US?
After several years of use by US cable companies and internet service providers, the advantages of ZigBee RF4CE are eminently clear.
Operators are quick to praise the reliability and the interactivity of RF in comparison with infrared (IR). “IR is the last technology around in the home dating from the previous century”.
Perhaps the biggest technical difference between RF and IR is the fact that RF enables two-way, non line-of-sight communication, where IR is only one-way (from the remote control to the set-top box or TV, but not in the other direction), and IR requires point-and-shoot. As the RF4CE remote does not have to be aimed at the device like IR, pointing the remote at the device is no longer required. This means that the set-top box or home gateway can be hidden behind the television or in a closed cabinet.
The RF reliability is important. Like its sister technology WiFi, RF4CE