Archives For Remotes


After a mere two years, the TiVo Slide QWERTY remote is on the way out. I’ve been quite fond of this stubby little fellow, despite its high price ($90) at launch, and it’s arguably TiVo’s finest accessory prior to the Stream. Not that they’ve produced many non-DVR products over the years. My knee jerk reaction was that a Bluetooth QWERTY remote is gone for good, given the of saturation of smartphones and virtual keyboard-toting TiVo apps (iOS, Android). But TiVo’s always produced top notch remotes, so perhaps we’ll see a compelling replacement. Who knows, maybe they’ll even take a page from their upcoming Pique initiative and unveil something a bit more agnostic… and universal.

(Thanks Steve and brennok!)


Hot on the heels of the Roku pico projector announcement, the Roku Streaming Stick ($99) is now available for order and a revised RF Roku remote passed through the FCC today. This accessory looks quite similar to the Bluetooth gaming remote bundled with the Roku 2 XS streaming player, yet appears to feature two minor differences. Instead of dual status lights under the A/B buttons, Roku Streaming Stick marketing material indicates there may be a single LED. Eh, whatev? More interesting are the two new side rocker buttons. While it’s not entirely clear what these are, (programmable) volume control would be welcome. Especially if the remote is made available for purchase to existing Roku 2 owners.


It’s been some time since Logitech significantly refreshed their Harmony line of universal remote controls. But, after that Google TV debacle, the company indicated a desire to double down on their earlier and more successful product lines (and acquisitions). And, if this description and prototype illustrations by a Logitech intern are any indication, the next Harmony is more Android handset than old school clicker. As explained, the “Magic Touch” Harmony would utilize voice, gesture, and motion control — in addition to offering a rich second screen guide. Of course, we’d also expect inclusion of Logitech’s ultimate device database and activity-based control. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear if this is merely a fanciful rendering or a production device headed to store shelves. We shall see…  Continue Reading…


After trailing third party developers, Roku’s finally responded with a Android virtual remote of their own. Now available in the Market, the Roku app is both visually and functionally similar to its iPhone predecessor.

Turn your Android device into a control center for your Roku streaming player. Launch your Roku channels, navigate your Roku player, control media playback and find new channels to enjoy.

Roku indicates the app should work on all Android devices running 2.1 or higher, and of course the smartphone and Roku must be on the same wireless network. Not bad at all considering Roku set-top boxes start at a mere $50 and the new app is free. Yet, as nice an addition as this may be, with an imminent Apple TV refresh, we’re left wondering when Roku might announce additional top flight content partners… and deliver on their YouTube promise.

After only about two months in the App Store, Roku’s addressed my biggest complaint with their free virtual remote control. In addition to navigating one’s digital media streamer by swiping, Roku has now integrated a “standard” D pad option that responds to individual taps. While it does get the job done, the presentation seems a bit spartan – beyond what I assume are promotional Netflix, Pandora, and Crackle shortcuts that mirror the physical Roku LT remote. And speaking of physical remotes, not all contain the instant replay button – and this oversight should be a primary draw for Roku’s iPhone app. The updated app also includes faster Home screen loading and improved device discovery, having no difficulty locating my latest hardware. However, there’s still no sign of an official Android or iPad app. Should you have just such a need, check out Cassidy Napoli’s “Remoku” creation that enables Roku control via a web browser.

In the last year, a whole lot of iPhone-based universal remote controls have hit the scene. We’ve primarily focused on the higher end offerings, like Peel and RedEye shortly, as potential Harmony replacements or successors. Yet that may be overkill for certain situations or demographics. And I’ve just been turned onto MyTVRemote – whose intentions may not be as grandiose, but may still provide a compelling solution dependent on one’s needs.

While they’ve flown below my radar, RyzMedia has offered My TVRemote for some time…  and they’ve got news to share today. A more colorful and potentially more aesthetically pleasing IR blaster replaces the original. I’m told the range is a modest 14 feet, yet I envision using this as a second universal remote in the bedroom. What I like about this solution, over say an L5, is that the IR blaster sits atop the iPhone – meaning you don’t have to hold your phone upside down. Continue Reading…

ZNF regular Chucky seeks our assistance in choosing the right iOS IR remote solution for his situation…


I’ve always avoided Harmony universal remotes. I’ve never really liked the Harmony UI, in either the touchscreen or physical button incarnations. But now, with the variety of iOS based universal remotes available, I’m suddenly interested in getting myself a universal remote with a better UI.

In figuring out which remote to buy, I have specific needs, which may greatly vary from yours. I place a high degree of value on software that is easy to use on a daily basis, easy to customize, and easy to initially learn. I’m willing to “teach” the new remote my button codes by pointing old remotes at it. In short, I’m willing to spend 1 day setting up the new remote just the way I want in order to enjoy it the next 364 days of the year.

The hardware must be functional, with a minimum of hassles on a regular basis, but I’ll take good software over good hardware for this project.

Also, I rarely watch live TV, and prefer scheduling my DVR recordings from the massive real estate and fine control offered by desktop or laptop computers, so programming “discovery” is not high on my priorities.

Here are the devices I’m looking to control for my single room media center: Continue Reading…


Unlike the incomplete and stagnant Premiere, TiVo’s iPad app has seen regular updates since release. And the latest brings a handful of improvements:

What’s New in Version 1.2
-New channel search feature which allows you to search channels in the guide by channel number or station name (Ex: ESPN, etc)
-New fast channel indexes in the guide allow you to quickly jump to a group of channels by channel number
-New disk space meter in My Shows lets you see the percentage of disk space the DVR is using
-Fixes crashing/connection loss issues when waking the app from standby or resuming after multitasking
-Significant performance improvements

While TiVo’s couch-based DVR companion is amongst the most well rounded and visually rich, the interface can get a bit busy. The new channel search (bottom, center pic) is a prime example. Continue Reading…