Bluetooth and ZigBee to spur RF remote control market to 217 million by 2016

RF remote controls are taking off, with a market set to exceed 217
million devices in 2016. The market will be driven by standards including
Bluetooth and ZigBee (RF4CE), plus proprietary solutions.

The technologies required to deploy RF remote controls on a wide basis
are well-developed, but under-deployed. The main technologies in play are RF4CE
(now part of ZigBee) and Bluetooth.

“RF4CE is seeing traction in the set-top box market, as service
providers have begun trialing, and in some cases deploying, these remote
controls. Bluetooth was assumed in the past to not have a strong fit in the
remote control market, but we are seeing a good amount of activity in the CE
space, especially televisions, for Bluetooth remote controls,” said Jason
Blackwell, practice director, digital home, ABI Research.

RF remote controls target a range of markets including televisions,
Blu-ray disc players, set-top boxes, and digital media adapters, among others.
The video game console market is leading the charge in RF adoption with all
three current-generation platforms employing wireless controllers.

Televisions are in the early stages of RF remote adoption with
Panasonic, Samsung, and Vizio using Bluetooth for high-end models. The result
is a slew of advanced features including applications, search, and Internet

The adoption of Bluetooth may be driven by recent announcements from TV
manufacturers that have chosen Bluetooth as the RF technology to support a new
3D glasses standard. As Bluetooth is embedded in more televisions, it is likely
that manufacturers will leverage the chipset investment with incremental

“Profit margins in televisions are extremely low. If manufacturers are
going to invest in a technology like RF, they must maximize the benefit and use
it to its full potential,” said group director Jeff Orr.  

Service providers, in contrast, are leaning toward RF4CE-based solutions
as Comcast, DISH Network, France Telecom, and others have upcoming set-top
boxes supporting the standard.

By Team
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