5 Reasons iPads Suck As Home Theater Remotes - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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5 Reasons iPads Suck As Home Theater Remotes
By Jason Knott
iPads are too big, get moved too easily and are not durable enough to be the main remote for home theater.

Eric Thies, president of CE Pro 100 integrator DSI Entertainment Systems, loves iPads, but just not as a home theater remote control.

He recently shared with his clients via DSI's blog five reasons why he hates the iPad as a remote.

Too big: The iPad is just the right size for a table, but it's too unwieldy to be a practical remote control. If you are a power user, maybe you need all of this screen real estate to cover every single DVR button. For me, unnecessary.



I need hard buttons: I hate having to look down at a screen to find a volume button or the down arrow. It is just too slow. I surf my DVR by braille. I know exactly where all of the common buttons are so I can quickly navigate through my 25 episodes of "Storage Wars". This appeals to my ADD personality.

It's never there! Too often the iPad gets absconded by my 8-year-old daughter. It seems that whenever I have an urgent need to watch "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," my iPad is hiding under a Barbie dream house or is shoved in the bottom of a sleeping bag ... with no battery life.

Click here to continue.
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post #2 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 09:14 AM
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Ironic that it seems every second article posted about "best, must-have gear" contains at least one iPad remote application for some custom integration gear.
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post #3 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 10:13 AM
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I was just doing experimention with the iRule interface...

For my latest Reviews and Stuff google -> Joe Rod Home Theater .Com
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post #4 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by joerod View Post

I was just doing experimention with the iRule interface...

How do you like it so far? I think I'm going Android for a tablet and sticking to iOS for a phone.
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post #5 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 10:37 AM
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#1 Reason why CEpro doesn't like ipads as remotes... You don't have to pay $4000 to custom installers for a crappy touch screen remote.
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post #6 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 10:49 AM
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The ipads as a remote is great but at the end of the day
for day to day use.. IMO nothing beats my One Harmony remote

that doesn't mean I don't love using the mymovie or onkyo remote apps
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post #7 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 11:32 AM
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Quote:


#1 Reason why CEpro doesn't like ipads as remotes... You don't have to pay $4000 to custom installers for a crappy touch screen remote.

#1 reason why the iPad makes other lists as a "must have"? Because of the marketing power of the iGottaHaveIt. The average Joe doesn't know whats what, but the second you tell him that his $500 iPad can rule over another part of his life, he is all over it. What integrator wants to look like they are still back in the early 2000's with something that isn't a hip iPad? None. But the points made in the article are true. It IS too big, it DOES need hard button, it DOES get taken elsewhere in the house to play Angry Birds, it IS too easy to multitask (ok, maybe that is an operator problem), it IS more fragile (mainly due to size - big but thin, not a design flaw)...

So while my first thought was the same, installers want to make more buck with their super pricey remotes, the CEPro article does have merit... for once. But even then, it is very subjective to what people want to do.

In a dedicated theater room, the hard buttons are more important, than in a living room space that lights may be on, etc. No need to cast a massive light to use a touchscreen vs. a hard button, but again it is preference.

Please note, my first paragraph above was just meant to show a different perspective while yet seeing the validity of other viewpoints. Some people are super-touchy about when someone else disagrees with them, so I wanted to put that out there that I was just saying that everyone has different needs. You will never see an iPad in my theater, but then again, I don't see the value of a remote that costs that much, even if it is more than a remote. Others have more money to throw around, so that is fine for them. I've got my Harmony One that controls everything, including multiple lights that get set to different lighting levels, as well as control over my color changing LED rope light. There is nothing that I need to do that it can't do. And I got it for $150, and it never has a need to leave the room. :-)
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post #8 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 12:20 PM
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A good, user customizable hybrid remote with ergonomic design with a combination of touch screen, programmable macro button functionality, and hard buttons for the most used functions is the way to go.

These tablets are good for whole-house integration touch screens for less than Crestron and other pricey, dedicated devices.

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post #9 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 01:52 PM
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REASON #6

The use of Ipads as remotes means users with even basic computer knowledge can reprogram them and add new components on their own. This cuts into the profit margins of the CE integrator like the OP that bank on the closed architecture of Crestron and others.

And for people that can't program on their own, the Ipad has plenty of programming guns for hire at very reasonable rates that aren't bound by strict manufacture dictated pricing schedules and policies.

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post #10 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

REASON #6

The use of Ipads as remotes means users with even basic computer knowledge can reprogram them and add new components on their own. This cuts into the profit margins of the CE integrator like the OP that bank on the closed architecture of Crestron and others.

And for people that can't program on their own, the Ipad has plenty of programming guns for hire at very reasonable rates that aren't bound by strict manufacture dictated pricing schedules and policies.

That's a great reason that iPad and Android touch pads can be a godsend for consumers that don't mind going the DIY route.

However, ergonomics can be a bugaboo, so that's why I believe a touch screen/hard button hybrid remote device with the flexible user design and control of a standard touchpad app that's even more user friendly than the iRule would be a product that could catch on.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #11 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 02:46 PM
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Funny, the full service AV guy came out for an estimate on my HT room. First thing he said is there is an app for the ipad that can control everything...Control 4. What he neglected to tell me was how costly it was--to the tune of $4000! No thanks, sticking with Harmony.
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post #12 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 04:50 PM
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This assertion of this thread is right if u keep thinking the traditional roles of remotes: PUSHING BUTTONS.

But with a HD screen, an iPad used as a remote is a total waste, but it now can afford to use better interface metafors. A few basics: graphic presentation of your theater, drag&drop, gestures. If u think this way, then the iPad should be better, and more powerful than your hand-held remote, except an iPad won't be called a remote, but an HT controller.
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post #13 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

That's a great reason that iPad and Android touch pads can be a godsend for consumers that don't mind going the DIY route.

However, ergonomics can be a bugaboo, so that's why I believe a touch screen/hard button hybrid remote device with the flexible user design and control of a standard touchpad app that's even more user friendly than the iRule would be a product that could catch on.

The lack of a hard button volume control is a huge minus for the iPad, IMO. There are times when I want to adjust the volume NOW, and NOT have to wait for the screen to light up, then find the volume icon. I'll be sticking with my old Pronto for the foreseeable future.
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post #14 of 44 Old 12-23-2011, 06:17 PM
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I agree the lack of hard buttons is a turn off for me. The iPad touch screen does have that wow factor when friends come over. Once you're over it though you miss the hard buttons.

I hope someone comes out with a hard button add on for the iPad. Something similar to the Crestron iPanel. Or even a hard button attachment for iTouch like Savant has.

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post #15 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 12:28 AM
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isn't xbox planning to integrate it's kinect into a sort of home entertainment controller? i wonder if some day i'll be able to assign hand gestures to a macro. Actually, why can't I just tell my DVR to play the latest episode of house? It's 2012, for crying out loud.
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post #16 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 04:42 AM
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I think one can always mix and match, a small simple remote with hard buttons for frequent uses with an ipad for higher less frequently used functionality.

You also shouldn't need good lighting in the room to use it as it's backlighted, iirc.

Android tablets are a good option too.

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post #17 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosemerald View Post

I think one can always mix and match, a small simple remote with hard buttons for frequent uses with an ipad for higher less frequently used functionality.

I don't want to have to make remote choices that depend on what I want to do. I want to reach for THE remote. That's what the whole concept of "universal" means. It shouldn't be that hard to implement.
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post #18 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by speavler View Post

Actually, why can't I just tell my DVR to play the latest episode of house? It's 2012, for crying out loud.

- Speaking of 2012, where is my flying car?

The lack of hard buttons is a deal breaker. I can't stand looking down at a remote to figure out where the volume, FF and pause button is.
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post #19 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXscreen View Post

#1 Reason why CEpro doesn't like ipads as remotes... You don't have to pay $4000 to custom installers for a crappy touch screen remote.

EXACTLY! If the iPad is too big, use an iPod Touch. If the lack of hard buttons is your complaint, I guess that throws out Crestron's multi-thousand dollar no-hard button touch screens too.
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post #20 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by LaoChe View Post

If the lack of hard buttons is your complaint, I guess that throws out Crestron's multi-thousand dollar no-hard button touch screens too.

You're right, it does.
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post #21 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 03:57 PM
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I think the Kindle Fire would be a great size for a remote.
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post #22 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 06:24 PM
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at least then it would be useful
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post #23 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 06:39 PM
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The Fire doesn't have hard wired volume either.
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post #24 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speavler View Post

isn't xbox planning to integrate it's kinect into a sort of home entertainment controller? i wonder if some day i'll be able to assign hand gestures to a macro. Actually, why can't I just tell my DVR to play the latest episode of house? It's 2012, for crying out loud.

You can do that with your voice on Xbox/kinect now after the update earlier this month. Tell the Xbox what to play and it will. You can also use your windows phone to control the xbox.
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post #25 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 11:26 PM
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As an A/V Design Engineer / Installer for the corporate world (not on commission btw) , I would have to say I agree with every point in this article. Yes everywhere you look someone else has a new solution for using the iPad as a remote, that's because it's cool and it sells, not because it's practical. Remember netbooks?
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post #26 of 44 Old 12-24-2011, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoChe View Post

EXACTLY! If the iPad is too big, use an iPod Touch. If the lack of hard buttons is your complaint, I guess that throws out Crestron's multi-thousand dollar no-hard button touch screens too.

I agree their touch panels cost a stupid amount of money, however most of them do include some hard buttons. Whether they're used or not (can typically be covered with blank bezel kits) is up to the integrator / end user.....

Personally I wouldn't use a touch panel, ipad, or ipod touch for a remote..... The Crestron stuff is simply too expensive and ipads / ipod / iphones are too impractical..... Logitech seems to have the right idea though and RTI has some nice I.R. products (albeit still too expensive for me) ...
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post #27 of 44 Old 12-25-2011, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JScherbain View Post

I agree their touch panels cost a stupid amount of money, however most of them do include some hard buttons. Whether they're used or not (can typically be covered with blank bezel kits) is up to the integrator / end user.....

Personally I wouldn't use a touch panel, ipad, or ipod touch for a remote..... The Crestron stuff is simply too expensive and ipads / ipod / iphones are too impractical..... Logitech seems to have the right idea though and RTI has some nice I.R. products (albeit still too expensive for me) ...

Look at http://www.extron.com/product/prodtype40.aspx for Crestron alternatives in professional applications. Much "nicer" company to deal with.

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post #28 of 44 Old 12-25-2011, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Look at http://www.extron.com/product/prodtype40.aspx for Crestron alternatives in professional applications. Much "nicer" company to deal with.

How do you find their control system products? I 've dealt with Extron quite a bit, but have only used their distribution / cable cubby products. They are indeed a nice company to deal with.....

To clarify, what I mean was that for me personally in my home I wouldn't use those products, but then again I wouldn't have a control system for security, lights, or thermostat either ....They do however have their place in corporate / education installs...
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post #29 of 44 Old 12-26-2011, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

This assertion of this thread is right if u keep thinking the traditional roles of remotes: PUSHING BUTTONS.

But with a HD screen, an iPad used as a remote is a total waste, but it now can afford to use better interface metafors. A few basics: graphic presentation of your theater, drag&drop, gestures. If u think this way, then the iPad should be better, and more powerful than your hand-held remote, except an iPad won't be called a remote, but an HT controller.


The salient point of the article (for me) is the kinesthetic feedback one gets from a hard button remote. This is a legitimate point. I don't want to look at the my remote every time I need to change the channel, mute, adjust the volume, or utilize the DVR functions. It ultimately gets down to personal taste, but ergonomically speaking, hard button remotes do have some advantages over a touch screen. As with mobile phones, some people prefer real keys to a touch keyboard. Others prefer touch.

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post #30 of 44 Old 12-26-2011, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius View Post

The salient point of the article (for me) is the kinesthetic feedback one gets from a hard button remote. This is a legitimate point. I don't want to look at the my remote every time I need to change the channel, mute, adjust the volume, or utilize the DVR functions. It ultimately gets down to personal taste, but ergonomically speaking, hard button remotes do have some advantages over a touch screen. Just like mobile phones, some people prefer real keys to a touch keyboard.

Agreed. I wonder how difficult it would be to make a home theater remote based on an existing tablet? I'd want seven buttons added: Two for volume, one for mute, two for channel/chapter skip, and two that can be programmed. A seven inch screen size would be plenty.
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