Feature Article

September 25, 2013

Coming Surge in RF Technology for Remote Controls

ABI Research predicts that there will be a major surge in RF technology adoption for remote controls. In 2013, they report that 10 percent of remote controls shipped with consumer equipment will be Wi-Fi enabled. 

According to Peter Cooney, the practice director for ABI Research, there is massive opportunity for growth in the remote control market. In a recent statement from ABI Research, Cooney noted that, from 2013 to 2018, there will be over 3.2 billion remotes shipped with televisions, DVD players, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and set-top boxes. 

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At this time, the primary technology utilized by remote controls is infrared light. Some of the most notable differences between an IR remote and an RF remote are the need to hold the remote steady and the need to point the remote in the direction of the components that the user wants to control. RF remotes also promise more automation, greater speed, greater reliability, and more portability. 

For neatniks who miss the days before closed-front entertainment centers were taken off the market, RF remotes offer the additional benefit to users of being able to hide the hardware that they had to point at in the past (no more bulky boxes, players, and other devices cluttering up your house). Now, the key is making the technology affordable.

Cooney explained that the technology has been considered prohibitive in the past, saying, “RF technology has been considered for use in remote controls for many years but its adoption has been limited by a lack of perceived need among device vendors and prohibitive increases in associated costs when compared to IR solutions.” According to Cooney, this is changing: “Over the last five years there has been an upswing in technology development and a rise in the need to make home consumer devices smart that has led to resurgence in using RF.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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