Archives For Remotes

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Thanks to WSJ Live, via AOL ON, it looks like an upcoming TiVo Roamio Slide Remote has just been outed. The new IR/RF remote currently shipping with Roamio is getting something of mixed reviews, due to the exclusion of a learning function, as provided by prior TiVo remotes, and reduced range compared to the discontinued TiVo Slide. Perhaps this accessory will improve upon both of those… while obviously returning the much-desired physical QWERTY keyboard! No telling if backlit keys will also make a repeat appearance, or if there’s even much value in such a feature. Stay tuned? (sourced via the IDF)

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RC03 and RC04 RF remote control models are mechanically and electrically identical except that RC03 contains audio codec IC (U11) and several additional passive components needed for its proper operation, as well as it’s equipped with a 3.5mm audio jack for headset connection.

The clever remote control audio out capabilities introduced with the Roku 3 will be making their way to the Roku Streaming Stick according to today’s FCC filing. Despite new MHL-compatible partners, we can’t imagine Streaming Stick sales have been significant… as it’s often cheaper and always conceptually simpler to bring “Smart TV” capabilities to a HDTV via a set-top. And we suspect Roku would be better served by integrating their platform directly into the television, as Vudu once attempted, should they find any takers. (Thanks Brad!)

Logitech announced that it plans to retain ownership of its Harmony remote product line. The company has determined that retaining ownership is in the best interest of its shareholders. #

Logitech's Xbox 180?

x1voice

Following in the footsteps of DirecTV, Comcast is the latest provider to bring voice navigation to the television:

The X1 Remote app first launched in mid-2012, giving X1 customers the ability to control the TV, navigate Xfinity On Demand choices, search for programs and tune to TV shows and movies directly from their iPhones. In addition to uniting the TV screen with customers’ mobile devices, the latest version adds the ability to issue voice commands for guide navigation and content discovery. For example, users can say “When is the next Phillies game?” or “Show me all action movies on HBO.”

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Prior to the division’s potential sale, Logitech’s last Harmony remote control models have started arriving at Best Buy. The Harmony Ultimate and (soon) the Harmony Smart Control join the Touch and 650 on a revamped retail display. Both new models ship with a the “Harmony Hub” – which appears to represent the evolution of the Harmony Link, bringing smartphone integration and RF capabilities. At $350, the Ultimate is too rich for my blood. And having spent time with the Touch, it’s hard to justify at even $250. However, the Smart Control at $130 appears quite interesting. It ships with a screenless Harmony remote and that aforementioned Hub. Knowing my smartphone blows away the Ultimate/Touch’s display in presentation and responsiveness, this seems like a fairly clever hybrid solution. One I intend on checking out…

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According to Variety, DirecTV has been working on a Nuance-powered iPhone app update to bring speech recognition to HR24 and newer set-top boxes. My initial reaction was that it’s nothing more than a clever, but not very practical, application of Siri-like skills. Yet, upon reflection, being able to change channel via station name, rather than researching a corresponding number I probably don’t know, seems quite compelling. Natural language interactivity might even come in handy when attempting to determine when a given show airs. However, I don’t imagine voice control would be the most precise or efficient way to schedule and manage DVR recordings and I’m not particularly interested in finding “a Tom Cruise movie this weekend.”

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Logitech continues to struggle with their identity and revenue, given another quarter of “disappointing sales“. To right this ship, the company intends to double down on mobile accessories while sustaining their PC peripheral biz. Simultaneously, they plan to unload their Harmony remote and Logitech Alert security camera divisions. Logitech may no longer be interested in those businesses, yet management obviously feels there’s still some intrinsic value.

We’ve covered Harmony from pretty much Day 1 of this site. But our ties stretch even further – to the early 2000s. Prior to Logitech’s acquisition, Harmony hailed from Canada when their cutting edge thematic universal remote powered my projector and Lutron dimmers, along with an ever rotating array of set-top boxes and HTPCs. And it really was one remote to rule them all. However, in recent years, Logitech has let the Harmony line languish as they diverted resources towards that Google TV debacle. Fortunately, they regained interest and recently pushed out the Harmony Link mobile companion and Harmony Touch (which would have been a more compelling remote in 2009). I assume they have additional product in the pipeline, which we’re anxiously awaiting, but Harmony will clearly need a new champion going forward. From CEO Bracken Darrell: Continue Reading…