Hillcrest Labs and TI RF4CENothing is more frsutrating than when your IR remote "misses" a piece of gear -- your whole carefully synchronized setup goes out of whack, especially if you've got macros programmed on that remote. Hillcrest Labs is hoping to save you some headaches by joining up with Texas Instruments to produce RF remotes that comply with the RF4CE standard that came out last summer. They'll be showing some of these new wares off at CES, and we expect RF technology is pretty much essential for use with Hillcrest's Freespace motion control where the whole point of the device is to wave it about with reckless disregard for a chicklet-sized IR sensor. Press release past the break.
January 5, 2009 – Rockville, Md.– Hillcrest Labs and Texas Instruments (TI) today unveiled some of the first remote controls to utilize the new "Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics" (RF4CE) standard. By combining Hillcrest's Freespace® technology and Texas Instruments' RemoTI™ network protocol, the companies have demonstrated how consumer electronic companies can create pointer-based remote controls for various A/V devices such as televisions or DVD players. Together, these technologies eliminate the line-of-site limitations of infrared (IR) devices and dramatically reduce the number of buttons needed on a remote control.

Hillcrest and TI will showcase the RF4CE-based remotes at the International CES, January 8-11, 2009, in Las Vegas, NV in the Hillcrest Labs suite at the Renaissance Hotel. Unlike most remote controls today that use infrared technology to communicate commands, radio frequency (RF) remote controls do not require a direct line-of-sight operation. RF Remotes also support more advanced features, such as in-air pointing, for enhanced entertainment experiences based on bi-directional communication capabilities. The RF4CE standard is backed by the RF4CE consortium whose members include Panasonic, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation, Freescale Semiconductors, OKI, and Texas Instruments.

"Hillcrest Labs is a pioneer in user interface software and motion-control technologies," said Brian Blum, Low-Power RF product marketing at Texas Instruments. "We are pleased to have worked together with them to incorporate our RemoTI network protocol into solutions for prospective customers interested in next-generation remote controls."

"With RF4CE, consumers can expect remote control interoperability, richer features and far more robust ways to control their in-home entertainment experiences. They are also now free to place their CE devices out-of-sight in their homes," said Chad Lucien, Vice President of Freespace Products and Corporate Strategy at Hillcrest Labs. "We are excited to work with a technology leader like TI to bring to market innovative solutions with Freespace in-air pointing and motion-control technology."

Hillcrest's Freespace technology enables CE manufacturers and service providers to embed pointing and motion control into a wide range of hand-held devices, including TV remote controls, game controllers, and PC accessories. The company's iconic device is the Loop™ Pointer – that uses just two buttons and a scroll wheel to control on-screen applications. Consumers can experience Freespace today in the highly-acclaimed Logitech® MX Air™ Rechargeable Cordless Air Mouse for PCs and KODAK Theatre HD Player. Freespace is also licensed by Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), a global leader in the design and manufacture of remote controls.