RF-enabled remote controls to contribute 50% share by 2018

RF-enabled remote controls are gaining good share of the remote controls market, and more than 50 percent of remote controls shipped in 2018 will be RF enabled, says a new report from ABI Research.

In 2013, 10 percent of the remote controls shipped with major home consumer equipment will be RF-enabled, the report said.

Over 3.2 billion remote controls will be shipped from 2013 to 2018 with flat panel TVs, set-top boxes, DVD/Blu-ray devices and games consoles alone, the research says.

There will be a major surge in RF technology adoption for remote controls over the next five years as vendors look to differentiate their products, and/or drive growth in smart home services.

While at the same time RF solutions continue to fall in price, implementations become more simplified and lower powers are achieved.

RF enabled remote controls

According to Peter Cooney, practice director, ABI Research, RF technology adoption has been limited by lack of perceived need among device vendors and prohibitive increases in associated costs when compared to IR solutions.

“However, 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,” Cooney added.

Equipment vendors have been quick to understand the benefits of using a standardized RF technology in remote control design.

There are three main interoperable standards that are seeing adoption: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee RF4CE.  Each technology is seeing use in certain sections of the market with vendors choosing to implement a particular technology due to its individual strengths, be it ultra-low power, high bandwidth, or another important feature.

Bluetooth and ZigBee have been the most widely used technologies to date and are expected to see significant growth, with increasing competition from Wi-Fi as lower power solutions continue to be developed, the report said.

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