So, for my birthday two years ago, I got a Logitech 1100 universal remote. I figured having recently having a birthday it was a good time to review the unit since I’ve been using it for a while. Besides, the last post about the Macbook has been on the blog for FAR too long.
I wanted a remote that could control all my devices, add new devices at will and was easy to use. At first, my opinion was that this device is awesome, and thought of all the endless possibilities. In reality I haven’t got to use the device for all the cool stuff I imagined, but it does do a rather good job at what it was designed to do and what I set it up to do. The device its self is a touch screen (not the new multi-touch ones we’re used to) and has a few buttons. You set up activities through the software, select them from the touch screen where it then turns on the devices in the sequence you wish and gives you a touch remote and assigns the 8 physical buttons to whatever device you choose.
If you are looking at buying one of these, you’ll need the RF extender. It’s pretty hard to use with that, as you have the touch screen facing you, the IR transmitter isn’t always able to send the signal to where your devices are, so I’d say it’s pretty useless without that. Getting the RF extender also enables you to control your devices from other rooms.
As a remote it’s pretty good. I have some issues sometimes with my TV since it’s a cheaper model and doesn’t have dedicated codes for the inputs (hdmi1, hdmi2) cycles thru rather than having separate codes each. Also, sometimes the WDTV sends two button presses instead of one, but I think that is a misconfiguration on my part. Battery life is great, it’s nice having a dedicated device for a remote, with a docking station. I can get weeks of use, probably almost a month on a single charge, due to it suspending, yet response time is always super fast, way faster than a phone. No one who has used it who are not technically inclined have had any issues, the button layout for volume, activities and channels work great. Since there aren’t buttons every where people with bad eyesight can also pick the buttons out. The one thing that is a pitfall is if it has an issue sending the signals, i.e something/someone blocking the transmitter it can get tricky to get all of them on the correct inputs. I wish it’d just turn everything off, and start over again.
My main complaints with the device is that the software used to control it requires you to have a Logitech Login, which I find rather pointless, but if it would help for stolen devices I’d be a little more comfortable, but it probably doesn’t. In theory, they could use the serial numbers and match it up to new signup/login requests and track a device down to a specific location but I highly doubt they would do that for their customers. Other than the login issue, it doesn’t work on Linux, even though it is either a Flash or Java front end and a Windows / OSX app to configure. It also doesn’t work on low resolution screens like net books very well. Once the software is loaded though, it’s pretty intuitive. but it takes a while to flash the device which can be annoying when trying to test out settings. There is some open source software I have yet to try that looks promising: http://www.phildev.net/concordance, next time I have to reconfigure, I’ll be giving that a shot for sure.
What I think would be the killer app for this device would be to have some soft of network connectivity and two way communication, as it stands, it does not do any sort of bi-directional communication with devices. It only sends. The two way communication could allow compatible devices to send the status rather than the remote keeping track. For example, “What input is the TV on?” would let it know how many times to hit the HDMI input buttons. While this is probably not possible, and why would low end TV manufacturers implement this. Wifi / Bluetooth would be great for interacting with upnp/av, PC’s to change tracks or get listings and have a visual when not in the same room as the device being controlled.
Overall I’m happy with it, but wish I had the time to play around with it more and hack on it. I’d love to be able to figure out through an SDR how it communicates with the transmitter so that other devices could use it.