While there is growing adoption of the ZigBee RF4CE remote control standard, few real products are available to replace the ubiquitous infrared (IR) remote controls. Still, consumer electronic giants such as Panasonic, Philips, Samsung Electronics, and Sony all support the standard, which uses the unlicensed 2.4-GHz band.
It will take time to replace all those IR remotes with radio remotes, though, as consumers gradually replace their TV sets and other consumer gear. Even then, many supporting products like DVD players will still use IR, so consumers will continue to need multiple remotes with IR support.
Boasting full support for IR technology, Freescale Semiconductor’s MC1323x ZigBee RF4CE chips (see the figure) are optimized for consumer applications, with high integration and minimal power consumption. These devices feature an 8-bit HCS08 microcontroller, a fully compliant IEEE 802.15.4 radio transceiver, flash memory, RAM, and high-performance peripherals specifically selected and optimized for today’s consumer electronic devices.
Customers can directly support and use legacy IR functions and devices in addition to RF control and monitoring. The family initially consists of three devices that vary by memory sizes up to 128k flash and 8k RAM as well as by the addition of a USB 2.0 peripheral. Due to their unique combination of monitoring and control features, the MC1323x devices also are well-suited for general market applications such as remote controls, TVs, set-top boxes, portable blood pressure monitors, weight scales, and appliances.
Freescale’s ZigBee RF4CE systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) are based on IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology. Its benefits in remote control applications include higher speed, reliability, and interference avoidance. The technology also enables greater flexibility for devices to operate from longer distances. It removes the line-of-sight and field-of-vision barriers in today’s IR applications.
The company also offers software, reference designs, and development kits for several different hardware platforms to use in evaluating the MC1323x SoC, allowing developers to select hardware and software platforms that best meet their needs. The MC13233C is currently available for customer sampling.