Nordic Semiconductor officially launches world’s first complete Bluetooth® Smart remote control reference design for Connected TVs and set-top boxes to customers.

Mar 9, 2012

Nordic Semiconductor's nRFready µBlue™ Smart Remote reference design is set to take remote controls for Connected TV solutions to a new level by delivering advanced navigation features such as multi-touch and motion control, combined with a QWERTY keyboard, while offering up to one year of battery life and compatibility with any Bluetooth Smart Ready TV or set-top box (STB).

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Oslo, Norway  – Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces the release of the nRFready µBlue™ Smart Remote – the world’s first complete reference design for Bluetooth Smart (as Bluetooth low energy will now be marketed to consumers) advanced navigation remote controls. The reference design provides an ideal solution for Bluetooth Smart Ready (as Bluetooth low energy-compatible hub devices will now be marketed to consumers) Connected TVs and set-top boxes (STBs) by delivering advanced navigation features such as multi-touch, motion control, and a QWERTY keyboard, while offering up to one year of battery operating life.

Unlike other RF technologies relevant to remote controls – such as ZigBee Remote (RF4CE) and proprietary 2.4GHz RF –  Bluetooth low energy Smart enables connected TV manufacturers to use a single Wi-Fi / Bluetooth v4.0 combo IC for all connectivity instead of having to add a dedicated radio to handle the remote. This provides both significant cost and space savings plus better co-existence performance.

The nRFready µBlue Smart Remote is based on Nordic’s market leading µBlue nRF8001 Bluetooth low energy Connectivity IC combined with an ultra-low power flash LPC1100 series ARM® Cortex™-M0 microcontroller from NXP Semiconductors. It provides customers with a complete and proven combined hardware-software reference design that significantly cuts down development risk, time, and cost.

The reference design features a multi-touch enabled TouchPad™ from Synaptics, a miniaturized QWERTY keyboard, a six-axis motion sensing solution from Invensense, an ultra-low power accelerometer from ST Microelectronics, and an IR transmitter for legacy equipment support. Based on the new Human Interface Device (HID) over Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) specification recently adopted by the Bluetooth SIG, the remote control offers seamless interoperability with existing and future Bluetooth Smart Ready hubs including TVs, STBs, smartphones, PCs, and computer tablets. 

“There is now zero doubt that RF will play an instrumental part in remote controls moving forward as legacy IR technology simply cannot cope with the smartphone and computer-type functionality delivered by emerging Connected TVs and STBs while supporting the kind of ease-of-use consumers have come to expect,” comments Geir Langeland, Sales and Marketing Director at Nordic Semiconductor.

 Langeland continues: "We strongly believe that Bluetooth Smart is the ideal wireless technology for any kind of advanced remote control and we have built the nRFready µBlue™ Smart Remote to prove it. It delivers state-of-the-art battery lifetime, support for advanced navigation features, and most importantly interoperability with Wi-Fi / Bluetooth v4.0 combo ICs as standard.”
Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Director of Product Management at Nordic Semiconductor, concludes: “The combination of up to one year of battery lifetime and Wi-Fi / Bluetooth v4.0 combo IC support are really the key here. Zigbee Remote [RF4CE] and proprietary solutions require a separate radio IC to be integrated into the hub unit resulting in both an increased total Bill-of-Materials [BoM] and potential co-existence issues. And while existing Bluetooth BR/EDR-based solutions work with combo ICs, they cannot come close to the battery lifetimes achievable using Bluetooth Smart technology.”




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Written By: Michael Venezia
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