RTI’s New ‘Pro Control’ Division: Lower-Cost Remote Controls for Broader Markets
Pro Control products are about half the price of RTI's universal remote controls; feature new capabilities like swipe and five-way toggle.
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The Pro Control PRO-24.z universal remote enables two-way ZigBee RF control at lower price points than other ZigBee remotes from RTI.
January 11, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

The new Pro Control division of Remote Technologies Inc. (RTI) offers universal remote controls for homes “that maybe don’t warrant a $500 touchscreen controller,” says VP marketing Pete Baker.

That’s about the starting price of RTI’s other remotes, sold exclusively through professional installers.

Introduced at CES 2010, first products in the Pro Control lineup include two universal remote controls and two base stations. The entry-level remote is the PRO-24.i with IR control only. The step-up remote is the PRO-24.z, enabling two-way RF communications using the ZigBee protocol.

Both remotes have a 2.4-inch color touchscreen display, but the 24.i is a standard TFT, while the 24.z gives you a slick OLED. The OLED is nice not just for its superior image quality, but because it consumes far less battery power than traditional LCDs.

Both products also feature a new swipe function that lets you flip through the display as if it were an iPhone – up, down, left and right (a capability implemented on RTI’s new ST-7 controller).

New to the RTI family of remotes is a toggle button that the company calls a five-way programmable joystick (available only on the 24.z).

In theory, each station (up, down, left, right, enter) on the controller can be programmed to perform up to three different tasks (tap, double-tap, press-and-hold) depending on the activity.

For example, in a TV program guide, press-and-hold might be used as a page-down command. Motorized shades could be raised and lowered similarly.

However, RTI has not yet determined which features it would enable with the Pro Control remotes, according to Baker. It may be that some of the toggle functionality will be reserved for RTI-branded products.

Base Stations and Control Options

Both Pro Control remotes offer IR control, so they can operate A/V and other control systems on their own.

For better functionality and RF capabilities, however, Pro Control offers two base stations for the 24.z: the ProLink.4 and step-up ProLink.z with ZigBee.

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Both stations are IP-programmable, and feature IR routing ports with adjustable IR output strength. Both have 12v sensing inputs and both store macros in the unit itself for reliable transmission.

The ProLink.4 hub operates in the 433MHz band and provides only one-way control, presenting no feedback to the remote.

The step-up ProLink.z operates on the 2.4 GHz band and enables two-way communications via ZigBee. Two-way control is enabled via serial or IP communications, thanks to two RS-232 ports and one Ethernet jack on the hub.

The 24.z remote control has dual-RF radios, so it can work with either base station; therefore, integrators need to carry only one SKU for the remote, and they can easily upgrade their clients to a ProLink.z at a later time.

RTI is working on an iPhone interface for the units.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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