If you’ve been looking to use your Android as a single, universal remote control for all your audio and video devices, you’ve probably been frustrated by what’s been available. Even as more and more manufacturers—including major A/V brands like Pioneer, Yamaha, Denon, … have been releasing apps to control their equipment, things haven’t gotten simpler. Instead, they’ve become riddled with switching apps and oftentimes lack of full functionality found in the real remote.
The major home automation companies like RTI, Crestron, Savant, and Control4 (among others) transitioned their mature and robust remote control systems to the iPad and iPhone years ago. Unfortunately, you need to pay a custom installer to program any of those systems—and it can run you into the thousands of dollars/euros just for custom programming.
If you’ve been an enthusiast and wanted to do things yourself then Logitech’s Harmony line of remotes have been the staple, go-to. However, if you’ve wanted to use your smart phone or tablet to control your audio or video equipment, Logitech’s offerings have been sub-par at best. So in today’s day and age, isn’t there something out there that works and works well?
The answer is yes, and it’s called “MyURemote”. MyURemote is by far the best remote control app on Google Play: it promises to succeed where so many have failed: be a true, activity-based universal remote control system that is powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use. How well does MyURemote fair? Well, let’s take a look below.
MyURemote turns your IOS, windows and Android device into a universal all-purpose remote control with a customisable and intuitive interface.
What makes MyURemote highly recommended?
- Intuitive Interface with Live Feedback.
- Integrated IR blaster support!
- Tablet (portrait – landscape) and SmartPhone interface.
- Display for Volume, Power, Source and ID3/RDS feedback.
- Direct TCP/IP – network control (smart devices).
- Both home-automation and audio/video control in one app.
- Easy and quick setup with an online configuration panel.
- Create your own macros and scenarios.
- Add your favorite channel buttons and icons.
- Highly customisable, and flexible.
- No line of sight requirements.
- Integrate network camera’s within the same interface.
- Integrate complete 3rd party web-based applications.
- Free technical superb (cloud based) support via email.
- Advanced users can build their own web based interface without any restrictions.
- All in one price!
Purchasing and Configuration Options
MyURemote is available for any Android, IOS Apple and Windows based devices. That means you can run it on any Android tablet or smartphone. But also iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch users have luck. Even run MyURemote on your windows PC (freeware). The MyURemote software can be downloaded directly from the Apple App Store or from the Google Play Store.
MyURemote controls TCP/IP devices directly over network. In the majority of cases, the MyURemote app won’t meet your needs and you’ll need to upgrade to a configuration with an external gateway to control your older IR devices (not needed if you download and install MyURemote on your android Phone or Tablet with a built-in IR blaster). Here is how MyURemote can communicate with your devices:
- Use your android, IOS or windows device to send commands over a WiFi network to your smart Receiver with Live Feedback and/or
- Use your android as a traditional infrared (IR) remote by pointing with the internal IR Blaster and/or
- Use your android, IOS or windows over a WiFi network and have another device convert the signal to infrared (IR) or Serial (RS232).
Determining Device Compatibility
If you have any doubts or questions whether or not your device(s) are supported, MyURemote maintains a fairly expansive list of supported devices here: http://www.myuremote.com/website/compatible-devices/ From this list, you can check and see if your device can be directly controlled over IP, over IR, or via serial. You can also see if the live feedback options is available to you for IP or serial connections.
If you don’t see a device listed, you can always train MyURemote to learn all the IR commands of the device by following the very simple steps MyURemote has here: http://www.myuremote.com/website/how-to-add-ir-commands-to-the-myuremote-device-database/
Users who don’t have a IR learn device can use the Global Caché database with thousands of IR commands: http://irdb.globalcache.com/Home/Database
For testing purposes, I purchased MyURemote on Google Play and purchased one of the iTach ethernet to IR adapters, which transmits MyURemote’s commands on my home network to three external infrared adapters and blasters.
I connected my Pioneer receiver and RaspBMC media server to my network and determined its IP addresses. (Will be configured as IP controlled devices with live feedback.)
Since my other devices can only be controlled via IR, I used the iTach adapter to its full extent.
The iTach ethernet to IR adapter is a small device that converts the MyURemote’s WiFi to IR. I chose the ethernet version, however there is also a WiFi version that will simply connect to your WiFi network making placement easy and flexible.
The iTach comes with all the IR adapters you will need, including a blaster, which will send a ‘blast’ of IR signals. You can only use the IR blaster on the third port of the iTach, and you must explicitly tell the iTach via its web interface that you are using a blaster on the third port.
I configured the first IR port to control my Samsung TV, the second IR port to control my Panasonic Bluray player, and used the third port with the “IR Blaster” adapter to control my remaining devices in my cabinet, which included my AppleTV and Cable box.
You configure the iTach adapter via your web browser. It’s very easy. If you are connecting the IR Blaster, you must explicitly set the blaster in Connector 3 (port 3) or it will not work.
One important note is that the IR Blaster is only supported on the third port of the iTach. Because the blaster requires a bit more power and can toast one of the regular IR adapters, you need to explicitly configure the third port to support the blaster.
Tech Note: If you’ve never used an IR extender or blaster before, it’s initially intimidating but very easy. The IR extender is a cable that plugs into the back of the iTach and then at the other end has a small “eye” with double-stick tape. You simply affix the eye portion onto the IR receiver of your device. This then sends the IR signal directly to that device. Most devices will indicate where the IR receiver is with a small “IR” label. If you don’t see such a label, you can easily find the IR port by shining a flashlight onto the face of the component you want to control. If you ever get stuck, MyURemote support is there to walk you through the process.
So, with my components all connected with the iTach, I was all set to give MyURemote a full run for its money.
MyURemote is very, very powerful yet you are immediately presented with a simple and easy-to-understand interface. MyURemote works along the following four concepts or levels. MyURemote’s interface is designed across these levels. Once you understand these, the rest is easy.
- Controllers: First, MyURemote wants to know what hardware gateways devices you use to connect your IR or Serial dvices with your network. Know that a built-in IR blaster will be add automatically as IR controller.
- Devices: Then, MyURemote wants to know what devices you want to control (for example, TV, receiver, BluRay player, AppleTV and how they are connected with your network (directly or via a controller/gateway).
- Zones (Rooms): MyURemote wants to know what devices are in a particular room . First assign which device you use as amplifier (this can be any device with Volume control included).This is very logical, because we normally control devices in a particular room, connected with a central device like your receiver, TV, …. So MyURemote wants to know what room you’ll be in and what device you’re controlling.
- Remote GUI: Based on the selected input MyURemote build a custom remote control with all the buttons necessary for you to navigate that active device. What’s incredibly cool is that this custom remote will integrate commands across any number of remotes. So, for example, if you use your Samsung TV as the display, your Panasonic Bluray for the movie source, and your Pioneer receiver as the audio, it will build a central remote that has the relevant buttons to control all three devices instantly!
- Macro’s: a macro is simply a smart way of combining the remote control commands from all different devices together so that when you want to “Watch a Movie” MyURemote will know to turn on your TV, turn on your receiver, and turn on your BluRay player automatically without you having to fumble through different remotes or screens or issue multiple commands.
- 3rd Party Applications: MyURemote makes it possible to integrate complete webbased interfaces of third party applications like XBMC, YouTube, Grooveshark, ….
The XBMC webbased interface is a good example of the integration of a 3rd party application that MyURemote operates along.
Adding My Controllers: First, MyURemote wants to know what hardware gateway device(s) you use to connect your IR or Serial devices with your network. Know that a built-in IR blaster will be add automatically as IR controller. You only need to add a controller for IR or Serial communication. Goto Settings – My Controllers – Add new controller – Find your Controller.
Once MyuRemote has found a controller it will show its IP address. Click the SAVE button and your controller is installed.
In under a minute, I had my iTach controller quickly setup and ready-to-go. I was now ready to start adding devices:
Tech Note: if your android device has an internal IR blaster, MyURemote will then create automatically a controller which you can use to connect your IR devices with.
Adding My Devices: Next, you setup the devices that MyURemote will be controlling. To add a device in a particular room, you simply goto Settings, click – My Devices – Add device – Select Brand – Select Device Type. Once you selected your device from the dropdownlist MyURemote wants to know how this device is connected with your network. In this case, I was adding my Pioneer receiver so I selected “Pioneer” from the brand listing and then “Amplifier – Receiver | All models IP control” from the device listing. I only had to enter the IP address as my Pioneer receiver supports IP control with Live feedback.
Enter the IP address of IP controlled devices.
If the device is controlled via IR, you’ll first select Global Caché iTach from the screen and then the IR port on the iTach that the device is connected to. As you see from the screenshot below, the process is visual and intuitive. The MyURemote database has an extensive listing of models. In my case, all my devices were present..
Select the controller you use for that device and the IR port or Serial Port.
Setting up Your Rooms in MyURemote: The first thing you need to do is define the rooms you want to setup. Setting up a room is simple: you give the room a name and choose an image to represent that room.
Label your room, assign its Icon and select the Amplifier.
Create a Graphic Remote interface for your room: Next, you setup the devices in that room that MyURemote will be controlling. It’s important to note that the order in which you add devices is important. You should always start with your Amplifier first, followed by your Television and then all the source devices.
Tech Note: Starting with your Amplifier and Television first are very important because these two devices normally support the video and audio for all the source devices. If you don’t add these first, you will then have to go back and add them manually for each activity.
To add a device in a particular room, you simply select the device from the listing and select the assigned amp’s input.
A macro consists of a sequence of instructions. Each instruction contains 4 parts separated by a comma and ending with a semi column.
condition(optional), device, command, wait;
This seems a bit complicated but you can use the command line builder which makes this very easy to use:
The command line builder makes it easy to create a sequence of commands related to one Macro, Input or Power button. This Macro exists of 3 commands: Turn amplifier ON, device 4 ON (= cable tuner) and turn Television ON
Note that you can assign macro functions on a Input or Power button by labeling the macro ‘Input1’ or ‘Input2’ or ‘Power1’ or …
Conclusion and Bottom Line
For years, I’ve been looking for an Android-based remote that could take the place of my multiple Logitech Harmony remotes. Until MyURemote, all the contenders I’ve previously tried or considered have fallen short. In fact, all other solutions in comparison look like pretenders, not contenders.
MyURemote is the first Android remote control that will not only fully replace your previous universal remote solution but make it so easy that you’ll never look back. MyURemote is reasonably priced, powerful, has support for a wide variety of devices and even supports home automation systems. Best of all, the ability to update settings across multiple iPhones and iPads, android and windows instantly seals the deal. If you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars with proprietary solutions that require custom installation, then MyURemote is the best game in town.