It never fails, you’re in your nice comfortable easy chair or on the couch and your remote is nowhere to be found. But it’s just as true that your trusty Android phone is right where it should be, in your pocket.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your phone as a remote? Well thanks to that IR port built into your phone and some clever development work, you can.
Concept and Functionality
Getting started is pretty simple, all you have to do is start the app, indicate what device you are pointing your phone at, and before you know if you’re controlling all of your precious A/V gear with your phone.
One thing we’d like to see here is an “all on/all off” button, since some people might have four or five devices they want to control.
There’s quite a bit of functionality in the app, much more than can be covered in this review. The basic functionality you expect is there as well as new functionality that you just don’t get with standard remotes. This is primarily due to its connection to the net which lets it draw on data collected from millions of users and, potentially, your Twitter account.
The connectivity of the app, along with the fact that its running on a powerful computer (i.e. your smartphone), is why these types of phone-based remotes can really leave standard remotes, even “all-in-one” remotes, in the dust.
You can opt for the familiar button layout of a traditional remote or, similar to the way Netflix is laid out, you can have rows of colorful thumbnails for TV shows in a variety of categories.
The “On Now” row shows the most popular shows that are, well, on now!
All you do is swipe left or right to find the show you want. Point your phone at your STB (Set Top Box) or TV, touch the image and you’ve just switched to that station.
Other categories are “Tonight on TV”, “Winter Premier”, “Popular on Twitter”, and “Not To Be Missed”. You can also get recommendations based on your viewing history.
The app also integrates seamlessly with Twitter, pulling in relevant hashtags and trending topics. You can see the tweets if you get to a show from “Favorites”.
We’d like to see this feature expanded so the relevant Twitter stream is always shown right under the name or thumbnail of the show you’re currently watching, regardless of how you got there.
Other cool features include being able to share Favorites, Guilty Pleasures, and recommendations with friends, browse TV shows by genre, tight integration with Google TV, and being able to search all of your content, including Netflix.
This platform obviously has tremendous potential. Using Peel will make watching TV a much more social and customized experience.
Since it knows some information about you and what you’re watching, it can easily suggest shows you’re likely to enjoy.
Of course it will also be able to provide very detailed viewing data to networks and advertisers, so be sure to read the privacy agreement and understand what you trading for all the convenience.
You can see a walkthrough of the app by clicking here.
Overall we strongly recommend downloading this app and checking it out. It’s a free app with lots of functionality to enjoy and, no doubt, much more coming down the pike.Phones that we know of that you can use with this app are
Peel Smart Remote requires Android 4.1+. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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What do YOU think? We’d love to hear your comments, try it and let us know!