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RF remote controls to see significant growth over next five years, says ABI Research

RF carrying digital television video and audio signals to TVs won’t be the only RF signals in use by the home television.

This year, 10 percent of all remote controls shipped with major home consumer electronics equipment, including TVs, will be RF-enabled, according to new research from ABI Research. Within five years, the research firm forecasts, more than 50 percent of all such equipment will be shipped with RF-enabled remotes.

“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,” says ABI Research practice director Peter Cooney.

“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.”

According to four ABI Research services, Bluetooth, ZigBeeWi-Fi, and First Screen Video Devices,the next five years will witness a major surge in RF technology adoption for remote controls as vendors strive to differentiate their products and pursue growth in the smart homes services market.

Other factors contributing to the anticipated upswing will be simplified implementations and falling prices.

To date, Bluetooth and ZigBee have been the most widely used technologies and are expected to see significant growth, according to ABI Research; however, Wi-Fi will become more competitive for this application as lower power solutions continue to be developed.

“The remote control market represents a massive growth opportunity for wireless connectivity technology vendors,” says Cooney. “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.”