TiVo’s RFID Remote Control Patent

Wow, this sure came out of left field. TiVo has applied for a patent allowing customization of remotes and PVRs based on personalized preferences provided via RFID. They describe a variety of scenarios and hardware such as providing customized hotel television viewing and adopting the technology within mobile multimedia devices. No telling when or if this will ever make it to market.

US Patent Application says: A multimedia mobile personalization system provides a remote control that detects a user’s electronic tag, e.g. an RFID tag. The remote control notifies a multimedia device of the user’s identity. The multimedia devices tailors it operations to the user’s preferences stored locally. Multimedia content such as broadcast or recorded television programs, music play lists, and the like could be sorted, displayed, or restricted, depending on the user identifier.

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Harmony 360 For Xbox

Logitech has revealed a Harmony remote customized for the upcoming Xbox 360. The remote carries forward the new form introduced with the Harmony 520, but has added a row of Xbox-specific function keys mapped to X, Y, A, B. The display has also been tweaked with new green backlighting that appears to make text more … Read more

Logitech Harmony 520 In The Flesh

Harmony 520Logitech has begun shipping the new Harmony 520 to select Walmarts, which resulted in numerous phone calls and a distant quest to two stores. Why Walmart you ask? Logitech is aiming squarely down market with this $99 model – and I’ve concluded the cost corresponds directly to the number of buttons.

The main differences between the 520 and the 6xx line are obviously the the new physical design, dropping the hard coded activity buttons along with many others, and the introduction of new software – for under a hundred bucks.

As with other models, Harmony remotes are configured online using a web-based wizard with your custom settings being downloaded via USB into the remote. The 520 is the first in the Harmony line using updated configuration and connectivity software. Logitech promises this will eventually be available to all Harmony devices – in fact it is currently willing to configure my old 659, though I haven’t tried. Keeping with the Harmony way, you program your remote using activities. For example a Watch DVD activity might turn on your TV, switch the input source, turn on the DVD player, and dim your Lutron lights. Soft buttons listed in the LCD allow for an unlimited amount of function keys.

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PSP As Whole Home Remote

If you happen to own SkipJam’s iMedia Center, you can harness the power of the your PSP as a whole-home remote control. SkipJam’s software utilizes the browser provided with 2.0 firmware and an Internet connection to provide a customized remote control interface. Sounds neat, but it’s nothing more than a low-resolution web page generated by … Read more