When Bluetooth was announced in the late nineties, it was positioned as making Wi- Fi redundant. Unfortunately it was not successful in this. Bluetooth is for short range (say a room), whereas Wi-Fi is for medium range (say a home, or a floor floor in a company).
Similarly, there is the narrow view that remote controls are just controlling your TV or STB a maximum 10 feet away. Bluetooth can do that limited job. Remote controls can be used through a home – covering multiple floors and rooms. Next generation remote controls are no longer just a short point to point application – they are an integral component of the whole house network.
Fortunately, the companies with vision have decided for ZigBee RF4CE as standard technology for remote controls. This includes companies like Sony, Comcast, Samsung, NEC, LG, Philips, Toshiba, Texas Instruments, NXP, Atmel, Freescale, etc. – all RF4CE steering committee members.
ZigBee – the low power spin-off of Wi-Fi – has the same range as Wi-Fi, allowing longer distances up to 100 feet away from the TV or STB.
This means that these wireless controlled devices can now conveniently be located out of sight or even out of the room. The superior range and performance also allows for operators to offer additional multi-room services as security, lighting control and / or energy management, etc.
On top of that ZigBee RF4CE offers a range of built-in standardized applications to support remote controls (ZRC), keyboards and mice for Internet TV (ZID) and 3D glasses for 3D television (Z3S). These features all include the exciting capability of ultra long battery life as provided by ZigBee, making changing batteries rare or redundant, when the battery life can even exceed the life of the product.
Bluetooth is good for short-range solutions around the PC or around the smart phone, and not for solutions that involve multiple devices anywhere through the home. In contrast, ZigBee RF4CE is a LAN technology, designed to link devices, sensors and controllers through a home.
The future will show that in the same way Wi-Fi and Bluetooth coexist, ZigBee and Bluetooth will coexist, and creating contention is just wasting time.
ZigBee RF4CE versus Bluetooth – which is more suited for the next generation home entertainment and automation network? Bluetooth is trying to do something that it is not good at, networking. Bluetooth is good for short-range solutions around the PC or around the smart phone, and not for solutions that involve multiple devices located anywhere through the home. ZigBee RF4CE is a LAN technology, designed to link devices, sensors and controllers through a home.