RAY: the smartest remote on Earth


#1

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#3

Not wishing to disparage a sponsor, but the problem with touch-screens as remote controls is that you need to look at them to interact with them, and without any tactile method for operation, they’re unfortunately inferior to analogue controls in the living/viewing room.


#4

I personally prefer remotes that you can operate without looking at them. The TiVo “half peanut shell” remote for instance is brilliant! You can access all the controls you need and differentiate the buttons by the way they feel. You can power through menus and pause/play, fast forward or reverse, or do almost all the things you want to do without having to look down at the remote to find the area you need to press.

Touchscreens on the other hand don’t allow for this kind of use case.


#5

It looks like a really cool device - putting the TV guide on the remote itself is very clever. Especially since the TV service providers have invested so much effort in pessimizing their on-screen guides!

And for those who are looking for something that costs $2.49 rather than $249.00 there’s always JP1. I got three of them for $5 at the Farmer’s Market junk tables.


#6

Yep. Years ago, I thought I was super clever using a Palm Pilot for a remote. For about three seconds.


#7

So you’re putting smart phone capabilities into a remote, eh?

Why not just put an IR transmitter into a smartphone?

They’ve tried that, you say?

No one ever used it, you say?

I’m sure there’s a good reason why this will be different.


#8

In all fairness a lot of the problems with phone remotes are that they require digging into it and you use it for other things, which means a lot of flipping around periodically. It’s entirely possible that having a more focused device might make it useful.

I’m not exactly holding out hope though. I like my Harmony.


#9

Yeah, I’ve been waffling on a remote between this and the Harmony Elite (watching the Harmony Elite as the price trickles lower), and the problem I’ve been having is getting past my need for physical buttons. I am sure the younger generation who have been growing up in a touchscreen world may feel different, but I am old and want my buttons…


#10

Logitech briefly had a product called the Revue (that they completely bungled, worse than the Squeezebox) based on Google TV. It had a squidlike array of IR blaster tentacles that you could position appropriately to control all your other stuff, and it ended up that you controlled it all with a lightweight, touchpad-integrated keyboard that would run for months off rechargeable nimh batteries. I was able to substitute one keyboard for six remotes.

But they actively exerted themselves to prevent owner hacking and ruined their own product.


#11

Too late. :frowning: I ditched my TV in 2007 because there’s only crap on it. This device might have delayed my breaking with traditional media for a while, had it been introduced a decade ago.


#12

My big gripe with the Elite and the modern crop of universal remotes is they have done away with IR on the remotes themselves instead relying on IR blasters which causes annoying delays/accuracy problems.

It’s going to be a sad day for me when my Harmony One finally bites the dust. It’s definitely looking worse for wear these days.


#13

Here’s the problem with physical buttons.

“TREBLE BOOST”.

people who buy elaborate remotes typically have a lot of devices. I have a multiregion DVD player, a bluray player, a streaming player-- I had a reciever until it died, and, of course, a display of some sort.

To access the advanced features of these devices, particularly recievers, the remotes contain many many buttons, which are device specific.

A universal remote which aims to truly replace these devices needs a way to reuse these single purpose buttons for something that makes sense in context instead of simply presenting a grid of hundred and hundreds of buttons (most reserved for future expansion) to the user, and a touch screen allows that flexibility.


#14

Once I invested in Logitech Harmony remotes, I never went back. We use the Harmony One. Rechargeable, a fairly elegant layout of not too many buttons at all, and a touch screen that’s mainly used for changing among activities since I HATE to look down to control anything while watching TV (Its very customizable, though, so if your needs are really esoteric pretty much any function can be accommodated there).

We don’t have a crazy setup, but do have a Receiver, Tivo, Roku, Blue Ray, WII and Xbox, Skype camera as well as the smart TV apps to control—and the harmony software remaps the physical buttons every time you switch between designated activities (Watching TV, Play Music, Watch a Blueray, etc.) Whatever defaults it comes up with are super easy to override too via a nice software interface.

We used I think the Harmony 670 before that. It was non-touch screen and very nice too, with a better peanut shape style. It’s been relegated to the bedroom TV.

Geez, I sound like a Harmony commercial.


#15

Yep, totally agree–not liking the new crop much. I’m thinking of getting a 2nd ONE off ebay or something to have for when we finally shatter this one on the tile floor.


#16

I was slightly disspointed when the 659 was discontinued, It was an inexpensive way to use up to 15 devices. The 6 or 7 device limit is painful.


#17

I am completely sure there is a market for this $250 device. After all, there is some kind of market for Nest thermostats that do things that most people don’t need. There’s enough spare cash laying around that there are people willing to buy pretty objects even if they claim to be smart but are actually quite stupid in concept. Why else would there be long lines around the block to be among the first to upgrade from the iPhone N to the iPhone N+1?


#18

There’s an app on our ipads that contols our media player. This thing strikes me as a useless waste of money, since a tablet or phone is always going to be handy.


#19

but does it control anything else? Your screen? The volume on your stereo?

Furthermore, many of those components, unless deigned and manufactured very recently. are still using something vastly more primitive than Bluetooth-- line of sight unidirectional IR.


#20

#21

Milk came out of my nose when I saw the price (figuratively).
I don’t know how anyone could justify the cost given a smart phone or tablet could probably do the same with a little maker-magic…