Looking for "Ultimate" IOS-based remote program - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 09-19-2017, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking for "Ultimate" IOS-based remote program

I am sort of new here but I am starting a topic which is probably a new twist on an old story. I have looked at other threads but they don't seem to have answers to all my questions or requirements so will start one and try to be concise but giving requirements short and sweet:

- I am looking of the "holy grail" of all-in-one remotes. It will be primarily for my home theatre system and surrounding auxiliary sound systems in my house, so that should be its focus, it should be able to integrate with practically all kinds of devices, some which already have developed controller programming and APIs, so the solution I a looking for should be flexible enough to allow me to program controls for practically anything that accepts a control signal over IR, Bluetooth, or via IP and therefore first and foremost be able to support the various security schemes in use today so that I can custom make controls for devices it doesn't explicitly support yet. (Like my QNAP NAS which actually comes with its own remote.)

- Everything should be controllable by an IOS app as I am using an old iPAD to to be my remote. The Harmony Elite looks tantalizing, and I will probably buy it and check it out in case it is what I want, the fact that it is pushing the sale of a separate remote controller (which I am sure they have made necessary for some reason) means they probably "don't quite get it yet". More on what "it" is in a second.

- While many of my newest components are IP controlled now, there are still a few that are IR controlled so an IP -> IR device will be needed at some level. Presumably, I may have Bluetooth-controlled devices that I will want securely controlled when I am not nearby so whatever device is providing the IR signal (as in a repeater with emitters that I can stick on the receivers of my older components) might as well provide Bluetooth repeating as well so I can control them remotely. Many systems have a "hub" device for this sort of thing and I want this thing to do as much of the legwork that it an offload to it taking the presume off of my IOS remote if things need to happen in the background.

- Since I want to leverage the most out of an IOS app, I want more that just an app with some buttons that looks sort of like a remote control. It should be an controller "environment". For instance, if I am controlling TiVo, the controller should have as much feedback as it can get from the device, such as allowing you to see the channel guide on the controller app, or even the list of saved shows as you scroll through them. This is obviously limited to the sophistication of the device.

- It should support sophisticated media hardware/software along with all of the full features of feedback that comes with that app. For instance, it should support Kodi on any device that it is set up on and also provide that feedback such as the media listing and even the media description like it does on the TV. PLEX is another example (and a platform that I rely on heavily) so it should not only just have buttons to get around navigating on the screen, but it should have an on-device listing guide just like the remote control that PLEX offers with the IOS PLEX app, which is beautiful.

- While it should have a huge library of predefined "remotes" for my equipment already so I don't have to program it myself unless it is some very rare piece of hardware. However, I want to be able to make my own "activity" menus which would only office functions that are appropriate situation and don't overwhelm the user. When you select a specific function, it might then bring up a menu, such as when you select a menu to change the audio mode on my receiver, but then it hides itself when you are done and just shows your the current mode in a display. Mute should work similarly, and should have the volume indicator on the remote turn red to indicate muting is on, for example. In other words, there should be a host of prebuilt interface "behaviors" that you can make use of to make your own remote. (It is this point and the previous one that is the "it" that I am talking about. The IOS app should make use of the platform to create a fully interactive controller with feedback that is not only powerful, it makes it super easy to use because it is obvious!)

- It should be able to be controlled with Alexa commands. That is, you should be able to create your own command trees in your remote that translate to verbal command sets in Alexa as you would with the controlling of any device. The controller should come it's a basic Alexa "kit" which makes it easy to translate the key activity functions your custome remote does into verbal commands.

- I am getting into using Hue lights and I assume I will get into other IoT stuff too, and I presume something like SmartThings will be in my future. I controller like this needs top work with theses smart home systems and possibly be the central command center for all of my stuff. Sure, these systems have their own sophisticated control software, but this IOS remote software should be able to automate it as it would anything. Also, for things like remote cameras, it should be able to show the same high quality video onto the IOS controll app when you are in that mode.

- You should be able to change the modes of things like lighting blinds, or other non A/V related things without disrupting your A/V controlling experience by having that come up in a pop up menu and then just go away.

- FInally, the remote needs to be able to know what its state is, such as detecting if the TV so on or off, what mode my receiver is in, and so forth, so that when I want to do something it knows all of the state-specific actions it needs to take. For instance, if am going to change from watching a Blu-Ray disk to watching TiVO, it should know that the TV is already on (by checking) and not attempt to turn it off (or off and on)

That's about it. Yes, there are a lot of remote apps that many of these things but not ALL. Simple Control was as close as it gets, but their app was riddled with bugs and very odd design decisions, and since there was literally one support tech, this really crippled them from being able to properly support such an ambitious endeavor and they ultimately have failed at this so far. (In other words, if you were thinking about buying it, think again. Aside from the Harmony Solution there is Peel for IOS which I haven't tried but it claims to have "guides" which is promising. This is a big thing for me and while all the other apps have the buttons to control whatever as long as you have a networked device that handles sending IR signals. I want more than this though- I want something with guides, program descriptions, and maybe... just maybe... picture in picture!

If you got this far, thanks for reading it all the way through. If you have any ideas of a good platform that I could start with, shoot!

Thanks in advance!
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