Why you need a “smart remote”

I love technology and I do my best to make sure my clients get the most out of it. However maybe it’s just an age thing but I want my technology easy to use.

Good custom installers used to say to have a look at the coffee table; a remote for your TV, home cinema receiver, DVD (BD!), VCR (I’m showing my age again!), Sky box, Apple TV, etc; and see how we can make it all better with a “smart remote”. Sometimes it worked great and sometimes less well. Sometimes when you went back to the house for a service call the coffee table looked just as bad and the client had gone back to using the original remotes.

Now our smart phones and tablets are starting to look like our coffee tables – an app for the TV, home cinema receiver, BD, Sky box, music, lighting, heating, CCTV… I really haven’t the time to switch in and out of apps and heaven help some of our less geeky clients!

That’s why you need a “smart remote”

One of the biggest problems has always been infra-red control, it’s the custom installers nightmare – discrete HEX codes, IR bugs, point the remote in the right direction, wait for the long start-up macro to finish (sorry Mr Client you have to keep pointing the remote at the little black window until everything is working!) and make it work every time.

So how do we get round this? You use a control system to do the work. Take for example, ELAN g! or ProControl from RTI. They are designed to use a controller to fire IP, IR and RS232 commands in the right order with all the right delays to get everything to work every time. Device drivers are pre-defined, interfaces and the user experience are more or less taken care of (just a few tweaks if needed) and you can control a single room or whole house easily.


You now just press the Watch Sky button and hey presto, as if by magic, it all happens in the back ground – the TV turns on and goes to HDMI1, HDMI matrix selects the correct input and output, home cinema receiver fires up and goes to the SAT input and Sky is on. It doesn’t matter what room you are in or that the remote was pointing into the couch.

Add to that the ability to add control from a cool iPhone, iPad or Android app and it gets really easy. You now have just one app for every system in your home, accessible from anywhere on the planet (with Internet!)


So you don’t need a “smart remote” but you do need a “smart remote with brains” to make it really easy and your clients will come back for more.

Have a look at the ELAN g! videos for more info here.


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