Thinkflood RedEye remote for iOS
Gadget mastery over Wi-Fi and the web.
Review There are a number of apps and adaptors, such as the Gear4 Unity, which allow an iPhone to act as a universal remote control for your TV and other home entertainment kit. However, the RedEye from ThinkFlood is the most sophisticated remote control I’ve come across so far for this platform.
Remote possibilities: Thinkflood's RedEye
There are two versions of the RedEye available. I suspect that many people will be quite happy with the RedEye Mini, which is a simple infra-red transmitter that costs about £50. It plugs into the audio socket on the iPhone and allows you to beam commands directly to your TV and other devices. However, on test is the more advanced and thus more expensive RedEye Dock, which comes in at a hefty £204.
As the name implies, this model looks like a fairly conventional plastic dock that allows you to charge up an iPod or iPhone. However, the Dock unit also has an infra-red transmitter and Wi-Fi networking built into it.
This allows you to connect the RedEye Dock to an existing wireless network so that you can use your iPhone as a controller from any room in your home that has a Wi-Fi signal. So if the kids are playing Glee at full volume in the front room, you can exert your parental authority from a distance and turn the volume down from the kitchen.
Remote functions can be controlled from a web page too
You can also control the RedEye Dock from any computer on your network simply by entering its IP address into your web browser. And, if you’re au fait with the mysteries of VPN – virtual private networking – it’s even possible to control the RedEye Dock remotely over the Internet too.
My TV remote doesn't show a clickable tv guide that I can use to change channels.
Well, actually, it does, but only because I wrote a homebrew version of this about a year ago. I made a IR transmitter/receiver from an FTDI usb chip ( http://www.huitsing.nl/irftdi/ ) and pull xmltv data from radiotimes.co.uk. Cost about £12, plus a bunch of evenings.
This is really sad. Here we have a device designed with a multi-touch gesture based ui, capable of reasonably high performance graphics, and a million odd pixels of display. And all they can do is draw pictures of the same buttons you would get on a physical remote control. So you get none of the advantages of a physical button - no tactile feedback - and all the disadvantages. Stupid meaningless icons, contrived rectangular layout, all the same size (hint, you can actually made important functions take up more screen space relative to unimportant ones). It is 2011, and they are programming one of the most advanced consumer devices currently made, and all they can do is try to make it look like a cheap piece of crap unchanged in over 30 years?
It would be fine of the old device had a highly familiar, perfectly understood, and evolved UI, but of any device on the planet that you would want to avoid emulating, the morass of tiny buttons that is a cheap consumer device remote control would rate number one. They look they way they do because they are made as cheap as technology allows. £200 to emulate that UI motif is a mixture of lazy and stupid.
Imagine if ...
you could use the pinch gesture to increase/decrease volume (like the zoom in out)
left swipe channel down - right swipe channel up or (if in dvd mode) next/previous title or (if in radio mode) previous/next station
or use 2 or 3 finger swipes to initialise the epg and then swipe up/down or left/right to select channels -
that would cover 99% of what I use my remote for (other than power on/power off)
keep the buttons for the other stuff that hardly ever used
Serious home cinema buffs will look elsewhere...
Have to say I'd agree with the sentiments expressed around the UI, but for me that's not the major issue.
A serious home cinema buff will probably have their equipment tucked away in a cabinet (locked if you have sprogs around) or in some cases even in a different room to the actual viewing location.
In situations like these, the ability to have some sort of wireless "extender" that can slave from the main unit and broadcast your IR signals (typically with a collection of IR emitters to stick over the different bits of kit) is an absolute must.
This can do the wireless bit (over WiFi) but no discrete emitters for different bits of kit coupled with a lack of slave capabilities means that this gets a "meh".
Actually, the buttons can be different sizes (as can clearly be seen from the pictures) and the layouts are completely customisable. Also, the iOS app supports multi-touch gestures.