Zigbee Remote Control

Greener, longer-lasting, smarter remote controls.

Zigbee Remote Control provides a global standard for advanced, greener and easy-to-use RF remotes that removes line-of-sight restrictions while also delivering two-way communication, longer range of use and extended battery life.It was designed for a variety of consumer electronic devices including HDTV, home theater equipment, set-top boxes and other audio equipment. Zigbee Remote Control 2.0 is an expansion of the initial release, including new features that update the pairing process, standardize communication with sleeping devices, simplify IR support, improve communication with Zigbee Home Automation networks and enhance security, all while maintaining backwards compatibility with Zigbee Remote Control 1.x  devices.Since Zigbee Remote Control 2.0 replaces 30+ year old infrared technology, it frees consumers from pointing remotes at devices. It offers consumers more flexibility, allowing control of devices from nearby rooms and placement of those devices almost anywhere – including behind wood, interior walls or glass.A greener choice, Zigbee Remote Controls are more energy efficient and last longer than infrared.




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Use Scenarios

Zigbee Remote Control simplifies how consumers control and use CE devices of many types. Here are three scenarios demonstrating how Zigbee Remote Control delivers advanced control:

  • Home Theater Experience
    • Simply insert a DVD into player
    • TV automatically selects correct input for viewing DVD
    • Surround sound system automatically switches to DVD listening mode
    • Remote control automatically switches modes to control DVD
    • Set top box and other components not needed switch off
    • Lights dim to desired setting
    • Curtains/shades close
  • Media Center Control
    • Hardware typically in different room from entertainment center
    • Contains content like music, photos and movies that is streamed to or from entertainment center
    • Advanced remote control with LCD or DTV/STB GUI overlay capability allows for remote navigation of content
  • In-System Remote Control Programming
    • Remotes can ship without code and learn supported product features on initial power up
    • OEM can send firmware updates that add features or fixes bugs after product ships


Features IconFeatures

    • Manufacturers have more control on speed of data delivery, providing new user features
    • Commands issued work as expected
    • Ability to find misplaced remote control
    • New interactive capabilities
    • Navigate content on remotes LCD
    • Manufacturers have more choices in receiver placement
    • Products will be easier to control
    • Simplifies use by freeing consumers from pointing
    • Reduces product returns and support calls
    • Extends control to longer distances and through barriers (another room, furniture, etc.)
    • Manufacturers will no longer have to develop or license expensive universal IR command databases
    • Consumers will no longer need multiple remotes since all devices will understand the same commands
    • Open standard supports competitive marketplace of multiple interoperable platforms and lower cost solutions.
    • Easy to use
    • Fast product implementations
    • Flexible solution
    • Cost effective
    • Manufacturers can upgrade firmware to add new features after products have shipped
    • OEMs can reduce memory footprint in devices and reduce costs
    • Reduce product returns or service calls by fixing issues after a product ships
    • Consumers can enjoy product enhancements after product has been installed
    • Consumers can buy with confidence, knowing that future products can be supported
    • Manufacturers can avoid product returns due to interference from surrounding products
    • Consumers can place equipment almost anywhere
    • Much lower power consumption than IR
    • Reduces the number of batteries that will be used over the life span of the product, reducing environmental waste
    • Television
    • Projector
    • Player
    • Recorder
    • Video player/recorder (VCR, DVR, DVD, Blu-ray, portable)
    • Audio player/recorder (CD, portable)
    • Audio video recorder
    • Set top box
    • Home theater system
    • Media center/PC
    • Game console
    • Satellite radio receiver
    • IR extender
    • Monitor
    • Remote control
    • Global operation in the 2.4GHz frequency band according to IEEE 802.15.4
    • Frequency agile solution operating over three channels
    • Incorporates power saving mechanisms for all device classes
    • Discovery mechanism with full application confirmation
    • Pairing mechanism with full application confirmation
    • Multiple star topology with inter-personal area network (PAN) communication
    • Various transmission options including broadcast
    • Security key generation mechanism
    • Utilizes the industry standard AES-128 security scheme
    • Allows standard or vendor specific profiles to be added

Benefits Icon


    • No further innovation in IR remote controls
    • RF remotes deliver more reliable control and new features, including enhanced user interfaces and advanced display capabilities
    • RF control overcomes interference problems of large screen LCD and plasma televisions
    • Reduce service calls
    • Update products in five days
    • Manufacturers can focus on application development, reducing overall product development time
    • Consumers will not have to be retrained, giving OEMs peace of mind that consumers will understand new technology
    • Consumers will benefit from more automated and monitoring capabilities
    • No line-of-sight or field of vision limitations
    • Control devices behind walls or in cabinets
    • Control over extended ranges, different rooms
    • Transmit commands until received
    • Many times faster response than IR
    • Enables enhanced user interfaces
    • Touchpad or pointing capability
    • More reliable communications
    • Send program guides, playlists stock quotes, etc. to remote/components
    • Allows for communications between devices
    • Over-the-air firmware updates possible
    • Remote locator
    • Consumes less power than IR solutions
    • Interference avoidance capabilities
    • Allows for true interoperability between vendors products
    • Works in any country around the world

FAQ Icon

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the latest version of Zigbee Remote Control?
Zigbee Alliance has released Zigbee Remote Control 2.0, updating the previous 1.0 and 1.1 standards that were released in 2008 and 2011. The updated standard includes features that improve usability for both manufacturers and consumers and builds upon success of previous versions based on experience deploying millions of Zigbee-based remote controls around the world.Why was the standard being updated?
Since its release in 2008, there have been over 100 million RF4CE devices shipped by many manufacturers. During this time, vendors have worked together to enhance the specification to not only improve the user experience by adding new features, but also ease the integration and configuration for the manufacturers. While the standard was originally developed by the TV-makers (Samsung, Sony, Philips and Panasonic), this updated revision of the standard includes the specific requirements of the Multiple-System Operator (MSO), like cable operators and telecom companies.How is this simpler or better than the previous versions?
Updates have been made to simplify and improve both the users experience as well the as the manufacturing of devices. For the users, easier binding of devices and programming of IR codes means less time spent setting up the remote to work with their equipment. Features like “find my remote” allows users to quickly locate the misplaced remote vs digging under all the sofa cushions. For manufacturers, out of band binding allows them to easily setup devices that ship together, while 2-way communication for over the air downloading of IR codes allows them to simplify the BOM for the remote control.Is it backwards compatible with the previous version?
Yes. Zigbee Remote Control 2.0 devices will determine what features are supported during the binding/pairing process and will communicate based on those common features.How is Zigbee RF4CE different than Zigbee PRO and Zigbee Home Automation?
Zigbee RF4CE is a simple, non-meshing network layer protocol that allows the development of user interface products (like remote controls and other input devices) with very low latency, while not requiring line-of-sight (like infra-red based remote controls). Both Zigbee RF4CE and Zigbee PRO /Home Automation 1.2 use the same IEEE 802.15.4 radio.How does this fit in with Internet of Things (IoT) and the Smart Home?
The IoT and the Smart Home means that device in the home are connected to one another and can be accessed remotely via the Internet. This can be done via wire or wirelessly and there are already many technologies available for implementing this. Zigbee Remote Control is a wireless technology that is specifically designed for the for the requirements of human interface devices like remote controls and permit these devices to participate in the IOT. This can for applications like voice recognition application where a remote control has a microphone and the voice interpretation is done in the cloud.Can I access Zigbee Remote Control devices from the Internet?
Yes, Zigbee remote control devices control target devices (TVs, STBs, etc.), and when these targets are connected to and run applications over the Internet, then the remote controls can be accessed from the Internet as well.

Can it connect with other devices in the smart home? If so, what devices?
Zigbee Remote Control supports common Zigbee Home Automation commands allowing it to be used to control numerous smart home devices via your set-top box or other device which supports both Zigbee Remote Control and Zigbee Home Automation. Typical actions including turning off/on lights, opening blinds and even changing the temperature on the thermostat, all using your remote control from the comfort of your couch.

Who has adopted Zigbee Remote Control today?
Zigbee Remote Control has been adopted by many of the large Multiple-System Operator (MSOs) in the USA and the rest of the world. Specifically leading MSOs like Comcast (cable operator) and EchoStar (Dish, satellite operator) have significantly contributed in developing this standard.

What products can I buy with Zigbee RF4CE technology?
TVs, set-top boxes, remote controls. Most of these products are provided as part of a subscription with an MSO.

What are some typical use cases?
Zigbee Remote Control 2.0 is a low-cost, low complexity solution that can control single devices or entire networks. Typical uses include control of a single device such as a television or set-top box or control many different devices and different types of devices such as audio/video devices and smart home systems.

Zigbee RF4CE vs Bluetooth: I have been hearing about BTLE or BT Smart, how is this different?
Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart (also called Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE) is a short-range communication technology for mobile and wearable devices, such as a wireless headset or a heart rate monitor communicating to a smartphone. Zigbee Remote Control is specifically for human interface devices that require a very short latency, it is part of the larger Zigbee networking standard and fully integrated with Zigbee Home Automation networking protocol.

How do I “Find My Remote”?
One pushes (for example) a button on the controlled devices (eg. the TV or Set-Top Box) and the set-top box sends a signal to the remote control: “please make yourself be known”. Depending on how this then is implemented, the remote control will make a noise, blink a light, etc.

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Watch the Zigbee Remote Control 2.0 Webinar:

Download the webinar presentation:

Download the 2012 Zigbee RF4CE webinar presentation:

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    Click Here to Download the zigbee Remote Control 2.0 Standard

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The Zigbee Alliance is the foundation and future of the IoT. Established in 2002, our wide-ranging global membership collaborates to create and evolve universal open standards for the products transforming the way we live, work, and play. With our members’ deep and diverse expertise, robust certification programs, and a full suite of open IoT solutions, we are leading the movement toward a more intuitive, imaginative, and useful world.