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Universal Remote Control’s Premium Zigbee Control System for MDUs

Universal Remote Control will unveil its first ZigBee products for the CEDIA community at CEDIA EXPO 2009: the MX-880Z and the MRZ-260.

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. Its companion piece, the MRZ-260, is a ZigBee RF-to-IR base station. When used in tandem, the MX-880Z and MRZ-260 eliminate RF collision, which is a troublesome issue in apartments, condominiums, hotels and other urban environments where multiple RF remotes are used in close proximity. The “no-pointing, no line-of-sight” convenience of RF can be negated by RF collisions, which are caused by simultaneous button presses on two or more RF remotes that are accessing the same base station.

The MX-880Z and MRZ-260 combine to solve the RF collision problem by using ZigBee RF technology. Traditional RF remotes compete for assignable RF frequencies; ZigBee instead allows the integrator to install as many MX-880Z remotes as required, each with its own unique ZigBee network ID. Each of the MRZ-260 base station’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.

URC is fully committed to ZigBee technology, recently joining 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.

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 PC-programmable MX-880Z can control up to 48 devices, with up to eight pages for each device. Integrators 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 integrator 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 MRZ-260 base station includes an integrated antenna, 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.