Good Android universal remote controls are not very easy to find because there are so many out there, ranging from the most expensive systems used by companies that install home theater systems for you to the cheapest ones which usually cost $40 or less and cannot do the same things that other systems can. On the other side of the token are Android universal remote controls that are overpriced and cost a thousand dollars or more even though the ones in the $200 have the same or better functionality as those ones.
Some Things to Look For
One thing to keep in mind about universal remote controls is that the good systems allow you to use multiple remotes for controlling your home theater system. Some are simply IR transmitters that you plug into your Android’s USB or headphone jack and they allow you to only use one Android at a time which is not a problem at first. But then you consider what happens when you, or the person with the remote, has to leave the living room to buy food, cook something for everybody to eat, or go outside to make a phone call. If you have an IR transmitter plugged into your phone then you are the only person who can control your TV so your family, friends, and guests cannot control it when you leave the room. This is because you are essentially leaving the room with the remote when you leave it with your Android device.
Other Things to Look For
It is also important for your device to be able to keep your phone charged. The app running on your phone might work best if your phone remote does not hibernate too much, unless you like to watch movies in the dark, in which case your Android should go into sleep mode. However, if you are switching between channels then you want it to not hibernate. But if your device does not charge your phone very well or not at all then it can run out of power very quickly. Luckily RedEye does recharge phones (you may need to get an adaptor depending on your plug) with its recharging stand so your phone stays fully powered even if you are using your remote a lot.
The other thing that is important is your URC’s range. Traditional URC’s that are not part of a smartphone are limited by line of site. The same is true for IR transmitters that you plug into your phone. On the other hand, good Android universal remote control systems send the IR signal through an unattached transmitter that is controlled by your remote through a WiFi network. This gives you the convenience of being able to turn off your TV when you leave the room or turn up the volume to listen to the game when you are cooking. Since the IR signal is sent by a stationary transmitter that you control wirelessly with your phone, it is never out of range of your IR receivers.
image via PR Log