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back to article Thinkflood RedEye remote for iOS

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. Thinkflood RedEye Remote possibilities …

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Unimpressive

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.

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Price

Seems pretty expensive compared to even some of the most sophisticated universal remotes

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@Francis

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.

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No physical buttons

The biggest issue with this (as someone who has used many universal remotes such as Philips Pronto and Logitech Harmony) is that it lacks physical buttons. You wouldn't believe how irritating it is when you want to change the volume or fast forward something on a film, and you have to look down from the TV to see what to press. Pressing play after the adverts on the DVR is also a nightmare.

A manufacturer (I forget which) has a handheld dock for iOS devices which adds some hard buttons. But I think we are a long way from fondle devices taking over things like Logitech Harmony.

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@Francis

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.

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AOD
FAIL

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".

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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

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Jobs Halo

HAHA

"various commands available for your particular TV are bizarrely presented as a long alphabetical list on your iPhone screen"

This is what happens when you let beardy engineer types design User Interfaces.

To a Beardy, putting all the controls in an alphabetical list MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

To everyone else it means FAIL

Control freakishness and arrogance aside, you have to admit that Saint Jobs would never let a product like that out the door. That is why apple are so successful and Thinkflood are not so much.

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