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OT - Tablets as remotes

 
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6946
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:01 am    Post subject: OT - Tablets as remotes Reply with quote

I just bought one of those new cheap $149 Walmart-Hisense Sero Pro 7 Android tablets. The first thing I noticed in the apps section was a "TV remote app" that apparently controls TV's over IP. That's not something I can do at this point. I have a vague idea how that works.

This morning in the WSJ they were talking about a tablet that had IR out, and a remote app that would control your TV. After reading that I started thinking about Zibri's post the other day where he was doing something along those lines with the iphone or ipad's microphone, and working WAV files.

Is there something like this for the Android? Something already done, with hardware that has been tested?

Just thought I'd get more educated.

Anybody care to enlighten me on remote control via IP or using a tablet to send IR commands?
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Vyrolan



Joined: 24 Aug 2012
Posts: 167
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Tablets as remotes Reply with quote

vickyg2003 wrote:
This morning in the WSJ they were talking about a tablet that had IR out, and a remote app that would control your TV.

Having to point your tablet and then tap the write part of the screen sounds like most unwieldy control scheme ever. =p

vickyg2003 wrote:
Anybody care to enlighten me on remote control via IP or using a tablet to send IR commands?

IMHO, the best by far way to do this is with iRule. Some people don't like the whole touchscreen remote thing, but if you do then iRule is truly amazing. There's cost of a bit of hardware and the ~$100 license for iRule (which covers all your devices). There's also a decent learning curve to getting it setup, but once you get the hang of it it's not too bad.

You can control almost anything with it...direct control of anything with IP-based control (lots of receivers, bluray players, DirecTV boxes, etc) and then with simple cheap hardware pieces you can add IR or RS232 or just about anything. I have one of the IR pieces connected into my IR distribution system (which hits all of our A/V gear and our home automation controller), so any phone/tablet can switch inputs, channels, volume, etc and also turn on/off the lights/fans/etc in any room. You get totally custom layout to truly design the remote as you see fit which is really nice. You can get super caught up in it and just keep going further and further...iRule supports feedback so devices you control with IP or RS232 can actually send data back...so I can see a little volume slider showing me the current volume...or I can see which channel I'm on as well as basic guide info for the current program....or I can see a grid of channel icons of my favorite channels that also includes the current program on those channels (essentially looking at the current shows for your favorite channels all on the tablet instead of browsing the guide on the tv)....etc.etc.etc.etc. It's an amazing system with a lot of depth...the hardest part is getting started (which can be a big pain).

http://www.iruleathome.com/
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mdavej
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Joined: 08 Oct 2003
Posts: 3572

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI, HERE are the devices you need to go from IP to IR or serial.

You may even run across a bluetooth/IR device/app called the Griffin Beacon. Although it is more affordable than iRule/GlobalCache, avoid this at all costs. While the concept is great, it is very poorly executed. The software is very buggy and the learning capability, upon which you have to rely a lot due to the small command database, is very bad.
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Barf
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 780

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at Openremote, an open source home automation solution with support for, e.g. tablets (Android and iOS) and web-browsers.

I registered for a trial of iRule, but gave it up pretty quickly. My problem was/is the very closed nature of the product. Not only as closed source, but it appears to be impossible, or at least not intended, to enter your own IR signals, computed by, e.g. IrMaster or Makehex, or from the files in this forum or remotecentral. I solve problems with debuggers or sniffers or such, not by phoning hotlines. Personally, at this stage of my life, the cost of an iRule license is not an issue -- freedom of the software is!
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bobshults



Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samsung Galaxy Tab II (7-inch and 10-inch) Android tablets come with a built in ir blaster and a free app called Peel Smart remote. I have both the 7 and 10 inch models. The Peel remote app is adequate but not nearly a powerful as JP1 remotes. There is a much more powerful app called ToushSquid available for these tablets from the Google Play app store. The basic version is $19 while the pro version is $49. I tried out the free trial version and found it very flexible and powerful with a large device data base of ir codes. My only complaint is that I like remotes with real buttons not the virtual buttons of a touch screen. If you're OK with virtual buttons then you would probably find that TouchSquid is a well-designed and powerful product with good support. That being said, I like my cheap JP1 remotes, free JP1 software, and great, friendly, knowledgeable forum.
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Vyrolan



Joined: 24 Aug 2012
Posts: 167
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barf wrote:
Have a look at Openremote, an open source home automation solution with support for, e.g. tablets (Android and iOS) and web-browsers.

The barrier for entry is pretty high for iRule, and it's astronomically high for OpenRemote. I worked with OpenRemote a lot before switching over to iRule which is substantially easier to get started with... OpenRemote can be an ok system, but you have to be prepared to do a lot of work and deal with figuring everything out yourself since there's little knowledgeable community and nothing but outdated documentation.

Barf wrote:
I registered for a trial of iRule, but gave it up pretty quickly. My problem was/is the very closed nature of the product. Not only as closed source, but it appears to be impossible, or at least not intended, to enter your own IR signals, computed by, e.g. IrMaster or Makehex, or from the files in this forum or remotecentral. I solve problems with debuggers or sniffers or such, not by phoning hotlines. Personally, at this stage of my life, the cost of an iRule license is not an issue -- freedom of the software is!

You clearly didn't spend any time with it or that was a very long time ago... I'm guessing you just dismissed it automatically because "closed source is evil".

It's actually trivial to enter your own IR codes. You can add them as pronto hex just copy paste them in...or you can add them in GlobalCache format if you learned them with your GC device or have a way to convert to that format.

You can also define an entire device and all of its commands (with IP commands and also IR codes in GlobalCache or pronto format) in a fairly simple XML file and then just import the whole device into iRule.
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unclemiltie
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004
Posts: 1719
Location: San Ramon, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a startup in San Francisco that is going after this. Digit or something like that. They worked with a company to build an ir blaster that paired with their app

I had one a while back but since my "stuff" isn't all on the same wall it didnt work for me. The app was reasonably good though.

Oh, and one of the founders knows Rob from his past
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