GreenPeak Technologies, a leading fabless semiconductor company, announced that Comcast Cable Communications , one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers, has selected GreenPeaks controller chips in conjunction with ZigBee RF4CE  technology for use in television remote controls for its Xfinity TV service. The companies also are in the process of standardizing an MSO profile protocol optimized for service operators needs which will be open for all operators and CE companies to adopt.
GreenPeak has been working closely with Comcast to deliver an enhanced remote control experience that offers greater responsiveness and non-line-of-sight device operation. Because this new technology uses radio frequency, the set-top box no longer needs to be placed within a direct-line-of-sight of the remote control, giving consumers the option to place their set-top boxes in a range of locations within the home, including behind television sets or inside of cabinets. This new experience also greatly extends the battery life of the remote control to as much as 3 years.
The Comcast RF remote control uses GreenPeak ZigBee RF4CE communication controller chips and is a hybrid RF/IR solution that supports both legacy infrared (IR) equipment as well as new RF set-top box equipment, which supports RF4CE technology. Comcast has deployed RF remotes with the first of its Xcalibur products, the next-generation Xfinity TV service currently available in Augusta, GA, and plans to expand availability in 2012 and beyond. Comcast also plans to use the new RF remote control to support legacy TVs and set-top boxes based on IR protocols currently used by their customers.
"We are proud that Comcast has selected the GreenPeak RF4CE radio chips for integration in their innovative video platform," said Cees Links , CEO of GreenPeak. The excellent radio performance and range, as well as the ease of integration benefits Comcasts new hybrid remote control implementation, which provides superior RF4CE features while effortlessly supporting IR when needed. GreenPeak has offered new ways to solve difficult system design challenges for this new remote control approach. Our silicon and integration support can help reduce cost and complexity, while enabling more features and functionality."
"We are moving to support ZigBee RF4CE standards-based remote controls and set-tops because they improve the user experience for navigating all our services in the home while allowing us to make the transition to RF technology in a very cost effective way," said Ted Grauch, Vice President, Video Premise Equipment for Comcast. "Our new set-top boxes will use the advanced capabilities of RF communication from the remote control, while the integrated IR support in the remote controls will support existing set-top box and TV equipment in our customers homes today."
ZigBee RF4CE  is the specification created especially to control consumer electronics products and offers an immediate, low-cost, easy-to-implement solution for a variety of products including remote controls, input devices, like keyboards and mice, and 3D glasses. The ZigBee RF4CE specification is designed to control entertainment devices in the entire home.
"Factors such as increased storage of media content anywhere in the home and growing Internet connectivity in home entertainment devices are further driving the transition from IR to RF technologies," says Lisa Arrowsmith, Senior Connectivity Analyst at IMS Research. "For many emerging use-cases, the simple IR remote control is not sufficient. Low-power wireless technologies, such as ZigBee RF4CE, support advanced functions – from QWERTY keyboards to enabling media searching and social networking, to connecting 3DTVs to active-shutter 3DTV glasses."
RF4CE mentioned in the press release above refers to the ZigBee RF4CE industry standard.
ZigBee and ZigBee RF4CE are trademarks of the ZigBee Alliance.
For more information, please visit the GreenPeak booth at International CES – Las Vegas – 10-13 January 2012 – South Hall 1 – booth 21318 in the ZigBee Pavilion or make an appointment with our sales team .
For more information, please visit www.greenpeak.com