Android Universal Remote Control

I was part of a conversation a while ago about how nice it would be to have an Android app that made it work as a universal remote control.  The major stumbling block, and the reason why there aren’t boundless remote control apps already, is that most (all?) android devices lack an IR transmitter.  I thought of two ways to work around this limitation:

  1. Attach an IR transmitter to a device on your local LAN and then send the remote control codes via TCP.  The downside here is that there are actually some people (and I know this can be hard to believe) that do not have a LAN in their home much less a PC near their entertainment center.
  2. Attach an IR transmitter to the 3.5mm audio output jack.  I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to get the transmitter to work correctly by responding to an analog audio signal but it seemed possible.

The Global Cache iTach family of products would work for option #1.  In particular the WF2IR looks attractive.  The prices I’ve seen are over $100 and so I probably won’t be buying one any time soon.  To create a popular remote control app the hardware required for it must be cheap and easy to come by.

Thinkflood took the approach in option #2 with their RedEye products.  The RedEye mini plugs into the 3.5mm hack and it just a little IR transmitter.  At $50 I’m much more inclined to use a RedEye mini.   I hope they create an Android application.

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10 Responses to Android Universal Remote Control

  1. Rusty Keller says:

    Hi Greg. There are pros and cons for each method. If you’re really interested in the differences, we have a very short whitepaper on website that addresses why you might use one or the other:

    http://www.globalcache.com/files/docs/GC_wp-ircontrol.pdf

  2. ifyhoco says:

    Greg, I don’t know if you got to try the red eye, but there cheap DIY options too. There is some information on these sites:
    http://zokama.com/?q=androlirc_-_the_lirc_port_for_android
    http://jumpjack.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/worlds-cheapest-remote-control-replicator-just-1

  3. Robin says:

    Hi Greg,

    Why note a completely separate networkable/Bluetooth connectable device with IR output?

    This would let you control devices in other rooms with your pc over the network or using your android via Bluetooth.

    With the right peripherals and AV hook-ups you could build a hub that sent the images/music/video to your android where ever you are in the house and be able to control the devises (sorry little bit off topic but why not go the whole hog).

    Robin

  4. Luckily there is alternative even to redeye, it is called Irdroid, it is open source, compatible with LIRC and uses a cheaper IR module. The app will be published at the end of April 2011 according to http://www.irdroid.com

  5. Tina Young says:

    The Touchsquid TV remote control android tablet has a built in IR infrared transmitter. Makes for a tidy solution.
    See http://www.touchsquid.com

  6. Peter says:

    The Touchsquid Remote App for Android is now on the Android market. For now it uses the Global Cache iTach line of external blasters. It has a huge database of IR codes which will handle 99% of IR home theater systems. It runs on a phone (OK) or tablet(great).

    There is a free demo version to allow verification of hardware compatibility and explore features. A code capture app will follow.

    This is the same app used on the Touchsquid remote tablet which has a built in IR blaster.

  7. Hi Greg, my app “reYmote” which integrates with the Global Caché iTach *2IR is also available. And there is a lot more coming soon as it is constantly evolving with a lot of user feedback and help.

    And the really good news is that the lite version is not overly restricted and lets you do 10 different configured actions, enough for the light usage. 🙂

    You can get it here:
    https://market.android.com/search?q=reYmote&c=apps

    And you can watch out for news here:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/-reYmote-Android-Universal-Remote/146141148818607

  8. SilentBob says:

    Why an audio jack? Why not USB?

    • greg says:

      Back when this was originally posted you could not attach USB peripherals to any phone on the market. The only output available on the devices was the analog audio output.

  9. Guido says:

    we are looking for similar devices (1000pcs/month)
    Best Regards , Guido (CEO http://www.telecontrol.de)

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