The Ultimate Remote Arrives

Mari Silbey —  May 22, 2008 — 17 Comments

Looking for an alternative to the Harmony? It now exists. As I was leaving the floor at the Cable Show, I got the lowdown on the new Ultimate Remote from tvCompass. In a quick demo I was particularly impressed with the TV Guide EPG rendering – not an easy thing to get right on such a small screen. Even more important, however: the remote is WiFi-enabled, meaning plenty of extras like messaging and content applications. It’s launching with ESPN and associated sports content, but the partnership opportunities are really limitless. Operators are apparently looking at the tvCompass product, too. You can pre-order the ESPN version on Amazon. Hefty price tag at $299.99, but I bet there’ll be quite a few willing to shell it out.

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17 responses to The Ultimate Remote Arrives

  1. You should have snuck one out in your purse! It does look cool, but I can buy three Netflix boxes for the same money… ;) Maybe TiVo will build something similar for my iPhone. (Yeah, right.)

  2. $299.99 for a remote control?!?!? I’d rather take that amount and fill up my car with gas. :P

  3. it looks like it has a cheesy feel to it. it may be just be the pictures, but i dunno its just not super attractive for $300

  4. Didn’t Harmony offer EPG syncing of some sort way back when (maybe they still do?) – never appealed to me. The TV is a better display for that info. WiFi is cool though, many possibilities here – including setup without USB tether. $150 is probably the most I’d pay for a remote, and even that’s pushing it. (Had two 880s at one point, plus a 550 and older models.)

  5. Too bad most of the buttons are too flat to find them without looking down at the remote. As for the EPG, I’d rather just look at the TV.

    But I would pay just about anything for a 2-way remote that could integrate 2-way functionality with it’s macros.

  6. Michael Portuesi May 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    What is the build quality like? I love the Harmony UI and configurability, but Fit/Finish and durability are problems for them.

    I have a 520 whose keypad basically self-destructed and has dead keys. And I have an 880 with a “skip forward” button that constantly falls out.

    I’d love to see an alternative that performs as well and is also built better.

  7. Looks cool from what I have read, but the price is high. Then again it’s WiFi and the new Harmony doesn’t offer that. I guess they are going hard after the ESPN crowd, although the ESPN phone fell flat on it’s face a couple of yrs ago. I will admit it does interest me next time I need to replace a Haromony. But, my question…..can I get Slingplayer on it?!?! Now that, would be cool watch one game and have the other on the remote, I often do that with my phone currently.

  8. EPG on the remote?. If I’m looking at the EPG on the remote, then I’m not watching the TV. Which means either I’m missing something, or whatever is on TV is not that important–in which case I would just use the EPG on the TV!

  9. BTW has anyone used a Harmony one?? How are those things? Any good reviews you guys know of? Thanks

  10. Michael,

    I had a 880 button fall out. It may have even been the same key. I superglued it and it never happened again.

    My iphone was a pretty damn good remote for itunes and excellent for checking out espn.com

  11. It looks like it has a lot of potential. I’d say “bad design, too many buttons” if it were anything OTHER than a universal remote, but having more buttons (as well as the screen, of course) can actually help reduce the memory challenge of “which button does that seldom-used function on that less-frequently used equipment?”

    But for now, I’ll stick with the under $25 Sony RM-VL600 learning remote. I’ve found it does everything I require, but the main reason I chose it? Simply because it has a “dot” key for tuning local digital broadcast subchannels, whether over-the-air, or on cable TV in “clear QAM” (e.g. 17.2, 17.3).

  12. Looks cool. If I start saving now, and they drop the price a little, I’ll be able to afford one for my husband for Father’s Day 2009! I’ve been looking at the Harmony remotes, but never really sure about these unless I can see it in action first. Thanks, Bob, for the link for the under $25 Sony…I’ll be checking it out for THIS year’s Father’s Day gift. :-)

  13. I can’t imagine the trance under which I would need to be placed, that would induce me to spend $300 for a remote control.

  14. looks handy to see if there is anything worth watching before you power up the system.

  15. $300 is a lot for any remote, for that price I could probably buy the TR-50 and have money left over for a regular universal remote and get a lot more new features – like recording to a hard drive.
    This is a quite a lot of money for me to pay for a universal remote, and I do not even know if I can use it to eject a tape or DVD.

  16. It is cool, and the unbranded version is even cooler. The manufacturer is really trying. I saw this one at ces 2008 However the screen is too small to see when trying to read listings. and you better have small fingers . might as well put the info you want to view in your favorites on your cellphone, cause it doesn’t rely on wifi for its signal. A properly configured macro doesn’t need two way communication, and i like to use regular batterys . Harmony’s blow.Buttons fall off and what a nightmare to program..Whew

  17. Oops! They forgot to tell you, not only $300.00, but there is a monthly subscription fee!!!!! Ok, this is mainly for TV. I already pay for cable. I pay for my cell phone, I pay for cable modem, why the heck should I also pay for my remote! I can access the internet, surf, get cable tv schedules, get ESPN content with what I’m already paying for!!!!!

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