JP1 Remotes Forum Index JP1 Remotes


FAQFAQ SearchSearch 7 days of topics7 Days MemberlistMemberlist UsergroupsUsergroups RegisterRegister
ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

A Whacky Idea for a New Remote System

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    JP1 Remotes Forum Index -> JP1 - General Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
gstrickland



Joined: 03 Jan 2004
Posts: 43
Location: Tulsa, OK

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: A Whacky Idea for a New Remote System Reply with quote

I've a whacky idea for a totally new remote system. It goes like this:

1. It includes a simple, lightweight remote with minimal buttons (volume, channels, transport, arrows, select and a single "extras" button).

2. The remote talks to an IR receiver box which sits (logically) between the tv and anything which outputs video to the tv. The box would have in/out passthrough of hdmi, component video, s-video and composite video.

3. The box has ir blaster leads to all devices so that the remote drives the box, but the box drives all the devices.

4. When you press the "extras" button, you get a menu on your tv screen superimposed over whatever video is on screen (enough to see and navigate, but not so much that it interferes with ability to see the show). You use the arrows and select to navigate and select the onscreen menus.

The advantage of this is that instead of having to build all the intelligence into the remote -- and be limited forever by its resources -- you can instead build virtually unlimited intelligence into the box. If you network the box, then you can update/modify it with any pc over your network.

The one rub -- well, the first one -- that I see is that if you use your tv's built-in tuner, you would either need to switch to an outside tuner, or output the tv's internal tuner to the control box and back into the tv via one of the tv's other inputs (if that's even possible). However, since probably the majority of folks use either a cable or satellite STB, I don't see that as huge issue. Another option is just to put a tuner in the control box.

I realize that some of you are thinking how Rube Goldberg-ish this could be, but it seems that with complete multi-core pcs going for <$500 these days, that you could build such a rig cheaper than Philips can build a Pronto. However, unlike the Pronto and other super-graphical, super-flexible remotes, the intelligence would be much more easily updated. The remote wouldn't need any intelligence in it at all, so it could be easily replaced when dropped for the 900th time. Menus could be friendly and informative enough that even your mother-in-law can understand how it works. Macros would be unlimited. Logitech gets over $200 for the Harmony 880 remote which has all the intelligence (protocols, etc.) on Logitech's servers. I think it's conceivable that such a system could be delivered around this price point, but delivery 100x the functionality and ease-of-use.

Your thoughts?
_________________
Gray Strickland
Curmudgeon
Tulsa, OK
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
The Robman
Site Owner


Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 19465
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds like something the Slingbox folks could build. I see it's main appeal being the ability to dumb things down for folks that want a nice entertainment system but don't have the savvy to actually work one.

As for your TV tuner issue, it's not an issue if one of those IR blaster leads was going to the TV also.
_________________
Rob
www.hifi-remote.com
Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
gstrickland



Joined: 03 Jan 2004
Posts: 43
Location: Tulsa, OK

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
I see it's main appeal being the ability to dumb things down for folks that want a nice entertainment system but don't have the savvy to actually work one.


Yes, exactly.

The Robman wrote:
As for your TV tuner issue, it's not an issue if one of those IR blaster leads was going to the TV also.


When I made the original post, I was unclear how the control box could superimpose the onscreen menu if you were using the TV's internal tuner unless you routed the signal out to the box, then back to the tv. However, after some more pondering, I suppose you could route the cable tv coax feed to the box, which would superimpose the video, then from the box to the tv to use the tv's internal tuner. At least, I guess that could work.
_________________
Gray Strickland
Curmudgeon
Tulsa, OK
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
The Robman
Site Owner


Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 19465
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, using the TV's own tuner would be tricky as you would probably have to have this device hooked up to one of the AUX inputs. But, some Slingboxes have their own TV tuner on board, so that's certainly an option.
_________________
Rob
www.hifi-remote.com
Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Killer2600



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very interesting thought but not exactly a new one. The whole input selection to the tv has been done with HT receivers for years now and the whole ir/receiver issues commands to the devices is something that has been done on bose theater systems and perhaps others (bose rf remote sends tv command to bose system which in turn ir blasts appropriate command to tv).

Personally I don't find such a setup very useful over a traditional remote with a HT receiver switching inputs in the system. Unless it can do wickedly more than act as a video/audio switch and remote I wouldn't see the point in having additional stuff so that I could do what I was doing already. Basically dumbing down the remote (which is already pretty dumb) and moving the smarts to a box next to the tv with the added bonus of a a/v switch isn't worth the cost. Your talking about how cheap pc's are, but is your device cheaper than a remote with enough smarts to control a home theater system? My current fav universal remote retails for $30 but I got it on sale.

Not trying to down anyones ideas but just trying to figure what aspect I'm supposed to be sold on. Moving the smarts from the remote itself to a box next to the tv is supposed to be better how?

Nevermind me I see your aim is at pronto like functionality. Personally I'd leave it at the remote just because it's easier to work the remote on hand with the touch screen than to navigate menus that have to be brought up on the TV just to adjust simple but not common things like bass. As for upgradeability of a pronto, it's a remote and as a remote if it controls everything I wanted it to at the time of purchase I'm happy. Everything will have to be replaced to be upgraded eventually, even the uber-capable PS3 will be outdated and need replacement at some point in the future. Unless your someone who hangs on to the old stuff, in which case why are you even here...your ol' black and white didn't come with a wireless remote or probably none at all. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gstrickland



Joined: 03 Jan 2004
Posts: 43
Location: Tulsa, OK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I had the choice between spending the price of a Philips Pronto to buy a Pronto or to buy the system I described above, I would *personally* go for the latter. For one thing, you could have multiple remotes around the room so that different people (his, hers, kids) can control things. With the remote part of this system costing about $15, that's an option, whereas if you wanted his-and-hers Prontos, you'd have to buy two Prontos and pay double the price (and put up with syncing two of them everytime you updated one menu).

Another advantage (IMHO) is that your eyes tend to be on the tv. Making the menus appear there, seems easier on the eyes than putting them on the remote. The greatest challenge in my living room, is that two adults and three children live there, and two more adults (childcare) are there very often. All use the living room tv. All can work most of the button assignments on my URC-8910 remotes (there are two identical ones for the lv, another for the playroom and another for the master br), but *only* I can remember which button on the 8910 toggles closed captioning on the tv; subtitles on the dvd; audio tracks on the dvd (my children are bilingual); screen size/positioning on the 16:9 tv; etc...

All of your points are valid. I'm not sure that anyone besides me would want the system. However, I think that a big segment of the market would like to have 100% control of all available functions in a completely unambiguous way. No more trying to remember that the "prev" button on the 8910 really means audio track when in dvd mode, but Sony Guide when in tv mode. When only one person is the master of the remote and the A/V system in your house, I think that a good old JP1 remote (or a Pronto if you're willing to spend the money) is great. If not, then something which gives more, more easily sounds very desirable -- at least to me.
_________________
Gray Strickland
Curmudgeon
Tulsa, OK
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Evan_s



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting idea but I think you underestimate the cost and complexity of the box you are proposing.

1) taking a video input and overlaying a screen on top of it is not a simple process especially when you consider multiple input and output options. To do it on an hdmi signal requires proper HDCP repeater support and requires handling a fair bit of data pretty quickly since it's an uncompressed HD data stream. Doing it on other input types requires digitizing the incoming signal to then processing them. Ideally you are probably going to want to at least offer the option to do up-converting as well. You also need to do it with very little delay or it won't work well for any sort of gaming system because of that delay.

2) having a reasonable quantity and variety of inputs and outputs to make this useful is going to require quite a few connectors. Take a look at the back of any receiver and you get a pretty good idea here.

3) It's going to take either a lot of setup from the user or a constantly maintained database to get all your options setup and remote codes setup correctly. Making this process simple enough for non technical people and yet powerful and flexible enough for it to handle complex setups isn't going to be easy either.

4) you are probably going to need some pretty flexible display options too. Screen sizes and viewing distances are going to have a big impact on what size things need to be rendered and then you need to balance the amount of options you can fit on the screen vs covering the whole thing up with a menu. The number of options on the list is also going to effect the number of key presses needed to get where you are going. To few options and you could easily be talking about half a dozen or more key presses to get to the option you want as you navigate through many pages of options with just up and down arrows. That would get really annoying really quickly.

Even beyond that I'd have to add at least a couple more hard buttons to the remote depending on what you consider transport buttons. I wouldn't consider using any setup that required multiple button presses to access the guide, or recorded programs list on my DVR or a couple other things like last. Heck you don't even include an "exit" button =)

Av Receivers are the closest thing readily available that I can come up with. They usually only overlay their own settings menus or the volume but cover all the basic requirements for pulling something like this off. Some of the fancier ones will allow calibrating each of their inputs and other advanced features. Even the cheapest ones that have the required features seem to run 400$+. Below that they seem to lack the video processing to take a composite input in and output it to hdmi and require multiple output connections for the different input types. Now it might be possible to strip out enough to get it down to the price range of a harmony remote but I really couldn't say.

This might be a great feature for an AV receiver MFG to add on since they've already got most if not all of the hardware required to do it but I'm not sure it can be made cost effective for a stand alone device.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Killer2600



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5 people all in one living room watching the same TV with each having their own remote that controls a menu driven system....dunno about you but that just screams chaos to me.

In my world you only need one remote. Everyone can watch the TV but not everyone needs to have a remote in their hands. In this setup the pronto or the like can handle the lay user with pretty graphics on the remote screen that tells the user what button does what.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gstrickland



Joined: 03 Jan 2004
Posts: 43
Location: Tulsa, OK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Killer2600 wrote:
5 people all in one living room watching the same TV with each having their own remote that controls a menu driven system....dunno about you but that just screams chaos to me.


There are 5 people who live there, but I wouldn't have 5 remotes. However, I would put out 2 or 3 remotes so that there is one within reach of each place that people sit -- especially mine. I have two identical 8910s just for the living room now, so that I don't have to go hunting for one when I come home from work and sit in my chair. Otherwise, the kids, wife or grandparents would constantly be swiping it.

I've seen what small children can do to a remote -- especially in home which has no carpets. WHAM! Dropped again. POW! Sorry, Dad. BOOM! I didn't mean to. That's why I don't have a Pronto now, much less two or more. I couldn't afford to replace them. Of course, YMMV.
_________________
Gray Strickland
Curmudgeon
Tulsa, OK
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Killer2600



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gstrickland wrote:
Killer2600 wrote:
5 people all in one living room watching the same TV with each having their own remote that controls a menu driven system....dunno about you but that just screams chaos to me.


There are 5 people who live there, but I wouldn't have 5 remotes. However, I would put out 2 or 3 remotes so that there is one within reach of each place that people sit -- especially mine. I have two identical 8910s just for the living room now, so that I don't have to go hunting for one when I come home from work and sit in my chair. Otherwise, the kids, wife or grandparents would constantly be swiping it.

I've seen what small children can do to a remote -- especially in home which has no carpets. WHAM! Dropped again. POW! Sorry, Dad. BOOM! I didn't mean to. That's why I don't have a Pronto now, much less two or more. I couldn't afford to replace them. Of course, YMMV.


Ain't family life grand...In your situation I'd have one remote, two at the most. The first would be the master universal and the optional 2nd would be just a plain remote that gets the kids majority of the functions they use. Everyones situation is different, but instead of throwing money at the lost/broken remote problem and buying more remotes I go after the root of the problem and get one on one with the person. There's no reason the living room remote should be lost in the bedroom nor should the remote be broken from being thrown across the room. If the problem can't be fixed without buying more remotes then the only remote will be permanently affixed to the table and they will have to get up and go to it to use it.

There once was a time when there were no remotes and a person had to walk to the tv to turn it on or change the channel. Oh god how awful Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic       JP1 Remotes Forum Index -> JP1 - General Forum All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


 

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Get Smart! the band's official homepage Rockabilly Central