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Tag Archives: Remotes

This Star Trek Phaser Doubles As A TV Remote

star-trek-phaser

It’s one thing to buy a novelty replica of a TV prop. It’s quite another to buy a Star Trek Phaser so faithful to the original that it was made by 3D scanning the last remaining prop from the TV series. It’s also fully licensed by CBS, and doubles as a programmable infrared remote with which you can control your TV, iPod docks and many other gadgets. And when it’s not changing channels, this Phaser plays a wide range of original sound effects from the series. It also vibrates and lights up each time it’s “fired”, and features a removable side door to reveal an illuminated dilithium crystal power cell. It’s made from a matte nickel plated die cast, and comes with a museum-quality metal stand, with hidden magnetic catch. The carrying case is made from rugged ABS plastic, printed with a blank name plate ready for you to make it your own. The only thing you might have trouble doing is vaporizing rocks and alien life forms with it, but at £119.95 (roughly $200), we’d say that’s good enough.

star-trek-phaser-2

[ Product Page ]

Exhibitors Ahoy: Buy The TV-B-Gone-B-Gone Now!

By David Ponce

Yeah, that’s two “B-Gone’s”… As in this little $19 device will jam any TV-B-Gones in the vicinity and allow your underpants to remain unbunched should pranksters abound. As in the TV-B-Gone will B Gone… Get it? And if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the skinny. There’s a product out there called a TV-B-Gone (don’t want to say that word ever again…). It’ll quickly cycle through most televisions’ IR codes while sending the command to turn it off. That means you can turn off almost any television you come across. Nifty little device, unless of course you use it for evil (or hilarity, depending on your viewpoint) like Gizmodo did a while back at CES. Oh the bricks that were pooped over that incident…

In any case, it “works with almost all IR controlled devices by corrupting IR data from the six commonly used transmission frequencies.” And yes, it also means that while your TV will be protected from being turned off, it’ll also not respond to your own remote… Kind of makes you wonder if you couldn’t just put some tape over the IR receiver…

[ IR Jammer Kit ] VIA [ BoingBoing ]

Logitech Harmony Link

Logitech Harmony Link (Images courtesy Logitech)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just last week, in my review of the Sony Tablet S, I was expressing my love of using a tablet as a universal remote, which is functionality it comes with standard. But that’s not the case with most other tablet and smartphones on the market. If you want to use them as a touchscreen remote, you either need a special case, or an external IR adapter. And Logitech, long known for their most excellent Harmony remotes, has gone that latter route with their new Harmony Link.

The actual hardware doesn’t look that different from similar alternatives already available, but has the advantage of coming from Logitech who’ve had quite a few years to build up their databases of home theater gear and AV equipment. If you’ve ever used a Harmony remote, and have experienced how easy they can be to use and setup, you’ll understand why the Harmony Link is certainly an option you should consider. Available for iOS and even Android devices, the hardware works in conjunction with a free accompanying app that provides similar functionality to the company’s remotes. Except when it comes to the iPad, which takes advantage of the large display to provide interactive program guides and personalized listings.

While some external remote adapters connect to the iPhone over Bluetooth, the Harmony Link connects to the wifi network in your home. So you’ll need to have your tablet or smartphone connected to wifi as well. It is a bit of an extra battery drain, but since all these devices are rechargeable, you won’t have to hunt for a fresh set of AA’s when the batteries die. Available come October for $99.99.

[ Logitech Harmony Link ]

VooMote Zapper

VooMote Zapper (Image courtesy Zero1)
By Andrew Liszewski

The original VooMoteOne from Zero1 expanded the functionality of the iPhone and iPod Touch by turning it into a universal remote. Unfortunately at the expense of having to use a fairly hefty sleeve case. So Zero1 put it on a strict diet, resulting in their new VooMote Zapper which is being officially revealed at IFA today.

The bulky sleeve has been reduced to a colorful paperclip sized dongle (with optional matching case) that attaches to the dock connector of any iOS device. All you need to do is then download the free VooMote app and setup the devices you wish to control. The minuscule dongle certainly makes the VooMote Zapper more appealing than its predecessor, but it’s the highly customizable app, letting you arrange the buttons however you want and even create multi-function macros, that will appeal to most home theater junkies. Unlike the original VooMoteOne the Zapper does require you to hold your iOS device upside down when using it as a remote, but I think that’s a reasonable tradeoff. Available sometime this Fall with pricing TBA.

[ Zero1 ]

Motorola R331 Rechargeable Remote With Find Function

Motorola R331 Rechargeable Remote (Image courtesy Motorola)
By Andrew Liszewski

With Motorola’s R331 rechargeable remote you’ll never have to search for replacement batteries, or even the remote itself, ever again. It comes with a dock for charging its internal battery, so every once in a while you just need to remember to use it to keep the remote working. And if your remote has gone MIA in the living room or wherever you use it, the dock has an audible find function making it easy to locate as long as it hasn’t left your home. The R331 is designed to be a replacement for the standard remote included with Motorola’s VIP Set-top box.

[ Motorola R331 Rechargeable Remote ] VIA [ Fareastgizmos ]

Unlike Weebles, Bang & Olufsen’s Beo6 Remote Will Probably Fall Down When Wobbled

Bang & Olufsen's Beo6 Remote (Image courtesy Bang & Olufsen)
By Andrew Liszewski

Disappointingly, while I’m convinced that Bang & Olufsen’s Beo6 remote was inspired by those fat-bottomoed Weebles children’s toys that always remain standing, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t share the same tip-proof qualities. In fact I’m not even sure what the company was thinking when they created this remote which features a touchscreen LCD display perched atop an aluminum ball with its own complement of hardware buttons, including a scrolling volume wheel. It’s of course designed to play nice with Bang & Olufsen’s own AV gear including wifi support, the ability create custom macros and everything else you’d expect from a high-end remote. And as for pricing, it’s not flaunted on their website but you can assume it’s expensive enough to keep Bang & Olufsen fans feeling elite.

[ Bang & Olufsen Beo6 Remote ] VIA [ hypebeast ]

Old Universal Remotes Never Die, They Just Fade Away – Say Goodbye To Philips’ Pronto Line

Philips Pronto (Image courtesy Philips)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well this is kind of sad, but not completely surprising either. At one point the Philips Pronto line was the king of the heap when it came to universal remotes, even going as far as to allow users to create their own custom buttons on some of the higher-end models. But ‘higher-end’ I think was the biggest issue since some of those models had price tags of over $1,000. For home theater enthusiasts it might have been worth it, but that’s a small, niche market. And while there were cheaper models in the Pronto line, there’s been some tough competition recently from both Logitech and even add-ons that turn the iPhone into a robust universal remote.

Apparently back in December of 2009 Philips relocated some of its remote control operations from Belgium to Asia, and at the same time had started to “investigate alternative strategic options for the Pronto business” since they felt the line no longer fit the company’s strategy. And after not being able to find a buyer for the line, Philips has finally confirmed that it will be unfortunately discontinued. I guess Christmas has come early this year for Logitech.

[ CE Pro – Philips Shuts Down Pronto Business Unit ] VIA [ HotHardware ]

Pop-up Microlite Illuminates Old-Timey Remotes

Pop-up Microlite (Image courtesy Microlite Tech)
By Andrew Liszewski

In this week’s episode of ‘I Can’t Believe They Invented It!’ we bring you the Pop-up Microlite which is really nothing more than an adhesive LED light designed to illuminate the keys on an old-timey TV remote that doesn’t have built-in backlighting. Now you might be shaking your head wondering who would want such a thing, but the company behind the product, Microlite Tech, has done their research and apparently there’s quite a market for the device. Taken from their press release:

There are an estimated 500 million remote controls in the U.S. with an estimated 450 million of those having no backlighting capabilities. However, surveys show that as many as 90% of people enjoy watching television or movies in the dark.

90%!! I had no idea, and quite frankly, I’m shocked! But there’s no need to be too alarmed because the problem is already solved. Now thankfully when I watch TV in the dark I actually have the TV on, so the glow is more than bright enough for me to see the buttons on my remote. But those of you who keep their brightness set at 1 will be happy to know the Microlite will be available from Amazon some time in October for a mere $9.99.

[ Pop-up Microlite ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

VooMote ONE – Yet Another Universal Remote Solution For The iPhone & iPod Touch

VooMote ONE (Image courtesy zero1.tv)
By Andrew Liszewski

The last couple of iPhone remote solutions we brought you have managed to either reduce the size of the extra hardware to an easy to deal with dongle, or removed the need for anything to be attached to the iPhone altogether thanks to Bluetooth. Sadly that’s not the case with the VooMote ONE from a German company called zero1.tv.

To say the sled-type dock that adds IR functionality to the iPhone or iPod Touch has a lot of ‘junk in the trunk’ is an understatement. On the plus side it allows the device to be used in the proper upright orientation (not upside down) it’s able to learn IR codes for devices not included in its database and you’re still able to place and receive calls, but the added bulk down where the sled attaches to the dock connector is a bit much. It’s supposed to ship in December, and even though no pricing info has been announced, something tells me it’s not going to be cheaper than the My TV Remote’s $9.99 price tag.

[ VooMote ONE ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]