In the present work, we report the deposition of high resistivity c-axis oriented ZnO films by RF magnetron sputtering. The deposition parameters such as RF power, target-to-substrate spacing, substrate temperature, and sputtering gas composition affect the crystallographic properties of ZnO films, which were evaluated using XRD analysis. The self-heating of the substrate in plasma during film deposition was investigated and we report that highly "c-axis oriented" ZnO thin films can be prepared on different substrates without any external heating under optimized deposition parameters. The post-deposition annealing of the film at 900 °C for 1 h in air ambient increases the intensity of (002) peak corresponding to c-axis orientation in addition with the decrease in full width at half maxima (FWHM). Bond formation of ZnO was confirmed by FTIR analysis. Grains distribution and surface roughness have been analyzed using SEM and AFM. The DC resistivity of the films prepared under different deposition conditions was measured using MIS/MIM structures and was found to be in the range of 1011-1012 Ω cm at low electric field of 104 V/cm. The ZnO film of 1 μm thickness has transmittance of over 85% in the visible region. Applications of these films in MEMS devices are discussed. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.