iPhone / iPod becomes your remote control

The L5 Remote has been introduced, and at a cheap price, will replace (supposedly) all remote controls in your house.

This will cute down the remote control clutter that has taken over your coffee table. If you’re like me, you have at least three remote controls sitting there. I was smart enough to purchase my plasma TV and 5-disc DVD system as Panasonic, so my DVD remote fully works with my Television set; however I still have my DVR remote (which does not work for my DVD player), a rarely used Xbox360/TV remote, a remote control for my stereo, etc. While I am uncertain about the gaming console, I am certain this would replace the other remote controls that take up too much tablespace, with an item I typically have on me anyhow.

The device sells for around $50 and the application is a free purchase and is completely customizable — position the buttons you frequently use, and remove the ones you don’t use. No batteries or wallplug is needed, and unlike other applications such as the Logitech Touch Mouse, you do not need a Wi-Fi connection inside of your network.

I plan on getting one of these badboys to see how awesome it is, and will let you guys know. Does anyone have one already?

Author: Jason Zajdel

Learning as I go along. It's an awesome ride. =-)

4 thoughts on “iPhone / iPod becomes your remote control”

  1. Update & FYI: The new website (newkinetix.com) is now live, and orders are being taken for the Re. First shipments are this Monday. The app is free on the App Store.

  2. Jason,
    Good questions. IR (infrared) is a neat because *almost all* devices have an interface that uses IR to control them and it is possible to make one remote controller that will control them all. A downside to IR is that it is line of sight only. A few companies have tried to use RF (Radio Frequency) instead of IR to help with this problem (for example Comcast and DishNetwork offer DVRs with two room capability, the second room uses an RF remote to talk thru the walls to get to the DVR in the primary room). That said, if the infrared is reasonably powerful, it will bounce off walls to get to your A/V equipment, but it won’t go thru walls.

    People are rightly concerned about power consumption on their iPhones. It turns out that *very* little power is consumed by the accessory. However, since you are using the iPhone as a display device, its display is drawing power, so that will cause added load on the battery, just like playing a game would.

    I use it every day with my DishNetwork DVR, Samsung TV, and Sony BlueRay. I take it to my Dad’s apt and control his Comcast box and Philips TV. When I was in Vegas (at CES) I set up a ‘Room’ for the TV in the lounge of the hotel. If it were just a learning remote like L5, I’d have to borrow the bartender’s remote to set it up. I’ve programmed it to control my MacBook and an SLR camera. Game consoles are problematic. Some are OK, PS3 uses bluetooth, so it won’t work directly with anyone’s IR remote. But we have tested ours with a IR->Bluetooth converter and it works great. In fact, the converter is in our database, no learning needed.

    We looked hard at the Harmony before designing our user interface. It has some very good concepts that we wanted to use or expand upon.

    Our website is a bit stale right now, with the bulk of the updates going on a test site to go live early this next week. The app will also be available early this next week and then please download it and let us know what you think. We welcome feedback on our new forum page, or email me directly.

    You’ve got a nice site here.

  3. John, thank you for the follow-up information! (and also being my first registered user)

    I will definitely look up the alternate devices. I reside in a one-bedroom condo, and the TV in the bedroom is turned on maybe once every six months, so I tend to look for things that do not have the capability to operate several entertainment setups at once. I had seen the L5 while internet searching yesterday and thought it was an awesome idea, better than other products that I had seen in the past – mostly Wi-Fi related which as you stated does add lag as a factor.

    I’ll research your product on the website with a couple of key questions in mind:
    – Range of the device? Can it go through walls, or does it need to be pointed at my devices?
    – Power needs of the device? Will it run directly from my iPhone’s power supply, or does it require charging when not in use?
    Proprietary compatibility? Will it work with Comcast/cable boxes and Dish/DirectTV boxes alike? What about video game consoles?

    I have seen the Logitech remote controls that are truly fascinating, but also are very high priced. For $150+ I’d rather keep three remote controls on my coffee table.

  4. Jason,
    There’s getting to be a number of ways to control your A/V equipment with your iPhone or iPod touch. Redeye & PowerA are currently available. The Redeye is nice, but is $188, limited to a single room and uses wifi (introduces a bit of latency). The PowerA is integrated in a case, but is a learning-only remote and has the wimpiest IR diode of any remote I’ve ever seen (funny coming from a company with ‘power’ in its name). It has to be pointed directly at the device. The L5 is also just a learning-only remote, announced in January to come out in February, but they are running late. NewKinetix (newkinetix.com) announced in January at CES2010, with March delivery and is on target to deliver very soon. It costs a bit more, and is larger, but for that you get a full IR database built-in, making it truly portable! And it has the most sophisticated user interface with multiple Rooms, Activities, Macros, Learning, Layout Editing, and Favorite Lists, Network Logos, Setup Copy/Paste, etc. The app is free and available very soon. Watch the web site for updates – Coming soon.

    -> Full disclosure: I work for NewKinetix. Sorry for the long post, but wanted you to have the best data to make your purchasing decision.