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InfoComm 2009: URC’s New ZigBee Control System Eliminates RF Collisions

MX-880ZThe MX-880z remote and the MRZ-260 base station comprise a complete system designed to eliminate RF collisions caused by simultaneous button presses in installations with many users in range of each other.

Orlando, FL – InfoComm 09 – Booth 3506 – June 17-19, 2009 – Universal Remote Control®, Inc. (URC), the pioneer in control technology, today introduced its first ZigBee products. The MX-880z is a wand-style ZigBee RF (radio frequency) and IR (infrared) hard-button remote control with a two-inch color LCD screen, while its companion piece, the MRZ-260, is a ZigBee RF-to-IR base station. To further reinforce its commitment to ZigBee technology, URC also announced today that it has joined the ZigBee Alliance, an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard.

MRZ-260URC, which has provided tens of millions of remote controls to consumers, residential custom installers and subscription cable customers, as well as consumer electronics manufacturers through its substantial OEM business, is officially entering the commercial market at InfoComm 09. Its solution-focused approach will address various installation scenarios in relatively inexpensive and more easily programmable ways than current solutions do. When used in tandem, the MX-880z and MRZ-260 epitomize this problem-solving philosophy by eliminating RF collision, which is a troublesome issue in hotels, apartments, condominiums and other urban environments where multiple RF remotes are used in close proximity.

The use of RF technology in remote controls enables the user to control A/V and automation components without needing to point or even have a line of sight of the component. Instead, the RF signal is captured by an RF base station, which then relays the command to the component in question via its native IR method, no matter where the component is located. However, when two traditional RF remotes access the same base station simultaneously, they effectively cancel each other out due to the resulting collision of RF signals. The MX-880z and MRZ-260 combine to solve this problem by using ZigBee RF technology. ZigBee allows the integrator to install as many remotes as required, each with its own unique ZigBee network ID instead of competing for assignable RF frequencies. Each of the MRZ-260’s four independent IR outputs is capable of simultaneously operating components controlled by four separate MX-880z remote controls. Effectively, it’s like having four base stations in one chassis.

The PC-programmable MX-880z can control up to 48 devices, with up to eight pages for each device. Commercial pros can be both creative and efficient with the MX-880z. For example, they can create status menus in macros, nest a macro inside another macro to create a complex routine, use variables to track power status, users or rooms, or create options that change in all macros based on one button press by the user. The remote’s color LCD screen is populated with colorful backgrounds and icons automatically, so the installer can focus on text label customization instead of arranging icons. A set of preprinted room labels is included with each MX-880z; installers can affix the proper label in the coined area at the base of the control to identify which remote is customized for each room. Powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery, the MX-880z’s built-in motion sensor detects movement and automatically activates the remote’s backlighting feature.

The MX-880z is one of many URC remote controls that is programmed using URC’s Complete Control Program (CCP), which facilitates configuration and set-up by allowing the installer to work entirely within a single, universal programming platform.

The MRZ-260z is an addressable ZigBee RF base station with an integrated antenna. It includes four independently-routed IR outputs (two adjustable and two fixed), a built-in front panel IR blaster, a mounting bracket and a power supply.

The MSRP of the MX-880z is $539.95. The MSRP of the MRZ-260 is $189.95. Both are available now from authorized URC dealers.

The MX-880 and MRZ-260 will be shown with URC’s other new products for the commercial market at Booth 3506 in the Orange County Convention Center during InfoComm 09.

For more information on Universal Remote Control, please visit www.universalremote.com.

About Universal Remote Control
Universal Remote Control, Inc. (URC), is The Pioneer in Control Technology. Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Harrison, N.Y., URC has sold more than 50 million remote controls in the last 10 years alone. A world leader in high-quality remote control design, engineering, manufacture and distribution, URC is widely regarded as a category innovator by consumers, retailers, custom installers, subscription broadcast providers and OEM partners. URC has built its reputation by delivering exceptional levels of quality, training, reliability and support to its customers. Visit URC at www.UniversalRemote.com. Installers can keep up to date with the latest URC news, training and support, as well as communicate directly with the company and their peers, at www.URCControlRoom.com.

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