The Boxee Box RF Remote: What Makes it So Powerful?
When I first got my Boxee Box, I would point the remote at the box just like any old infrared (IR) remote. Most of your remotes are IR, and they require a clear line-of-sight betweenthe little IR bulb in the remote and the receiver on the TV/VCR/DVD, etc. IR is like sign language – you have to be able to see each other for it to work.
But then I started to notice something. I could be completely behind the TV (in the kitchen) and out of the room and still use the Boxee Box Remote. I was advancing songs on Pandora, turning down the volume and pausing movies.
Something was definitely different.
The answer? RF!
Radio frequency technology is built into the Boxee Box remote. Unlike any other remote in your house, the Boxee Box remote is a high-bandwidth, bi-directional wireless remote…basically it can do way more than channel up and channel down (that keyboard’s not there just to look good), and it’s more responsive than an IR remote.
Traditional IR remotes pale in comparison. You really wouldn’t want to use IR with a system as sophisticated as Boxee. The key is search. Boxee acts like a sophisticated media search engine, and those kinds of interactions require a lot more information to be passed between the box and remote (more than a typical ‘change the channel’ call from an IR remote).
Response times and data rates become much more crucial.
Here are some additional “nerd alert” specs:
The remote contains a special Nordic nRF24LE1 2.4GHz system-on-chip (SoC) ULP transceiver and microcontroller. This communicates with and a Nordic nRF24LU1+ 2.4GHz single chip USB 2.0-compliant dongle transceiver in the Boxee Box. Those little chips enable fast media browsing and immunity from 2.4GHz radio interference (like wireless phones and similar electronics). That’s why you can roam all over your house and still control your Boxee Box.
So, stop pointing your Boxee Box remote at your TV (like I did) and behold the fact that it can work any which way. For kicks you might even test its limits. Supposedly you can reach the box from 50 feet away! Past walls and even outside your house. Give it a try and tell us your longest distance in the comments below.