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DIRECTV Remote Shootout

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Connected Home' started by Stuart Sweet, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Oct 17, 2011 #1 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Are you sitting at your television right now with a variety of different technologies in front of you? You might have a smartphone, universal remote, tablet, or laptop... and you might want to change channels or schedule a recording.

    In addition to the traditional methods of using the DIRECTV remote or a universal remote, you now have the option of using your connected devices to control your DVRs, if they are connected to the internet. DIRECTV receivers use a protocol called SHEF, the Set-top Box HTTP Exported Functionality, for control. Most of the functions in SHEF are private, but (at least for now) the remote control functions are available for public use in developing apps.

    Read on for a comparison of the difference between remote controls and apps!
     
  2. Oct 17, 2011 #2 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    [​IMG]

    Every DIRECTV receiver comes with a universal remote. The latest is the DIRECTV RC65RX. (The remote pictured above is the RC64; the remotes are identical in appearance.) The remote is made by Universal Electronics, under contract to DIRECTV.

    The Basics:
    • Cost: FREE
    • Universal Remote: YES
    • Self-configuring: YES
    • PC-Configurable: NO
    • Macros: NO

    The DIRECTV remote is a great general-purpose solution, and you can't beat the cost. It adapts for use with a large number of consumer electronics and if you have the "X" series remote (RC65X or RC65RX) and the HR24, H24, or H25 receiver the remote will configure itself through menus on the receiver.

    It's a great solution for people who have a receiver and a TV. It can be configured to increase or decrease the volume through an AV receiver but it cannot be programmed to turn on more than two devices (TV and receiver) and it cannot run macros.
     

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  3. Oct 17, 2011 #3 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    [​IMG]

    Many people quickly outgrow the free remote, and look for something more programmable. A universal remote can perform many different functions with a single button press, including turning all components on and off and automatically switching inputs.

    There are many different universal remotes. For this comparison I chose the remote I use in the living room, the Logitech Harmony 700. You can choose remotes from $20 - $1,000. This was the best one for me.

    • Cost: $99 street price
    • Universal Remote: YES
    • Self-Configuring: NO
    • PC-Configuration: YES
    • Macros: YES

    The Harmony 700 is a mid-priced universal remote that allows for control of up to six devices. Setup is easy... if you have a PC or Mac around. Answer a few questions about the model numbers of your devices and you're almost all the way there.

    Advanced setups are also possible and almost every option can be customized. It is expensive though, and other remotes can be much more expensive.
     

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  4. Oct 17, 2011 #4 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    [​IMG]

    If you're in front of a traditional PC, you can't get much better than the free functionality of waltzremote.com. Feed in the IP address of your DVR and you are presented with an image of a DIRECTV remote with buttons that can be pushed.

    • Cost: FREE
    • Universal Remote: NO
    • Self-Configuring: NO
    • PC Configuration: YES
    • Macros: NO

    The setup is simple but the remote is limited to controlling only the DIRECTV receiver. There are button images for volume but they don't work. This is a common issue with IP-based remotes. Since there is no way to control anything but the DIRECTV receiver, you lose functionality. It only lets you store one remote at a time.

    For a free option waltzremote is very functional, especially if you have a laptop to run it on. It doesn't function very well over a smartphone.
     

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  5. Oct 17, 2011 #5 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    [​IMG]

    If you have an iPad, this is the top of the heap in IP-based remotes. This free app from DIRECTV, available at the iTunes store, provides remote functionality that far surpasses not only other IP-based remotes but many expensive universal remotes.

    • Cost: FREE
    • Universal Remote: NO
    • Self-Configuring: NO
    • PC Configuration: NO
    • Macros: NO

    The DIRECTV app gives options like 2.5 minute skip and one-button slow motion that no other remote offers. It can be configured (as part of the app as a whole) to control any IP-connected remote on the same network. The app is very full-featured and allows you to see a full guide, schedule programs to record, and see upcoming movies and sports. Setup is fairly straightforward, as it pulls information from your account at directv.com.

    Because this app is made by DIRECTV, it's a guarantee that it will continue to work over time, unlike third-party solutions that may lose function in the future.
     

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  6. Oct 17, 2011 #6 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    [​IMG]

    Not everyone has an iPad. If iPhone is more your style, you can't do better than the DIRECTVR Remote for iPhone, by RMR Labz. This 99-cent app gives the entire DIRECTV remote experience and is second only to the iPad app in its function.

    This is the only app (including the DIRECTV one) that supports VoiceOver, Apple's 1st-generation voice control technology. (It remains to be seen if Siri will be supported.) This gives a "Wow" factor as well as being very useful for those who have trouble seeing small details.

    You have the option of seeing what is on now, but there is no remote scheduling ability.

    The app will remember every DVR you set up with it, and switching is easy. For those who are unsure about whether or not their DVR is set up properly, there is a free "Lite" version of the app used for confirming whether or not you can use the paid app.
     

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  7. Oct 17, 2011 #7 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    This review was created by BubblePuppy.

    [​IMG]

    There are several DIRECTV remote control apps in the Android Market all with the same name. This is a review of “DIRECTV Remote Pro” paid app by Wired DFW.

    • Cost: $1.98
    • Universal Remote: NO
    • Self-Configuring: NO
    • PC Configuration: NO
    • Macros: NO

    There are several requirements to use this app. You must have a DIRECTV PLUS HD model HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23, HR24 or H21, H23, H24 and they must be connected to your home network. Your Android device must also be able to connect to your wireless network.
    When the app is first open it will allow you to“Auto Scan”. The app found my two dvrs within a few seconds. If it does fail to discover one then choose “Manual…” Once the app has found the devices you can choose which device to control:

    The remote screen replicates the look and function of the DirecTV remote, with a couple of extras. At the very top right is the remote icon, which will bring back the remote screen from the other two screens. In the center is the”Favorites” star, and to the far right is the “Play List” icon.

    Below those is “Now Playing” area, which with a tap on the poster will provide information about the show. This is displayed on the remote. Very nice. By pressing on the gold star, to the right of the show information, will save that channel to the “Favorites” list.

    Pressing the “Star/Favorites” at the top of the remote will bring up the channels that were saved to the list. This is one of my favorite features as it displays what is playing on those channels, and allows for changing channels from the list instead of bringing up the guide.
     

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  8. Oct 17, 2011 #8 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    So... what are your experiences? What is your favorite way of interacting with your receivers?
     
  9. Oct 17, 2011 #9 of 149
    Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Harmony 700. WP7 isnt supported yet, my tablet is a Nook without android on it yet, and I can pick up a remote faster than using the PC :)
     
  10. Oct 17, 2011 #10 of 149
    Kevin F

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    I really enjoy using the iPad as a remote for our HDDVR. Very handy as I usually have my iPad on the coffee table. But we also have an Acoustic Research remote with a few macros in it. Macros are very convenient or everyday tasks such as bringing up the Series Manager. On our bedroom and basement TVs we use the basic DirecTV remote. Those also control an Apple TV and Xbox 360 in the basement.

    Kevin
     
  11. Oct 17, 2011 #11 of 149
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Harmony 880 or waltzremote.
     
  12. Oct 17, 2011 #12 of 149
    evan_s

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    I've tried the free version of the DirecTV remote on my android phone and it did work well but in the end it seemed more like a novelty than anything else. It worked well and the vibrate is nice feedback to know you definitely hit the key but you can't control anything else and it just seems like too much hassle having to deal with constantly waking up my phone. Now if there was a way to type text for searches it would make it worth breaking out the app for that. My regular solution has been a cheap Jp1 programmable remote that controls everything I need in the entertainment center and makes the setup pretty easy with a couple macros. I'm pretty sure that the WAF of multiple remotes would not be good.
     
  13. Oct 17, 2011 #13 of 149
    BosFan

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    I use the DirecTV remote in one room, I think it works quite well for what it's intended to do. I have a Harmony 700, my favorite, in another room and a Harmony 650 in the family room, I like it but prefer the 700 more. I also use the iPad app which is awesome but as Davenlr stated I can pickup the remote faster because I am probably already using the iPad for something else, or one of kids has it.
     
  14. Oct 17, 2011 #14 of 149
    Drew2k

    Drew2k DIRECTV A-Team

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    There is also an Android app "DIRECTV Remote" by Cognitial Mobile, in free and paid versions, that supports macros.

    I have the paid version of this app on my Xoom tablet, as well as the paid version of "DIRECTV Remote Pro" by Wired DFW.

    Unfortunately, I've found in CErtain Testing that the macros in the Cognitial Mobile app are not always reliable, and in CErtain Testing that the DVRs do not return the playlists to the Wired DFW app....
     
  15. Oct 17, 2011 #15 of 149
    Yoda-DBSguy

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    [​IMG]

    Supported control devices:
    iOS
    iPad, iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4.0 or later
    Android
    Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone with Android 2.x

    Description:
    Logitech Harmony Link is a small device that connects to your home Wi-Fi® network. It turns signals from the Harmony Link app into infrared commands that can control your TV, set-top boxes, music systems and many other home entertainment devices. It even has an IR mini blaster that allows it to send signals through closed cabinet doors.

    How it works:
    Logitech Harmony Link works with the free app for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android smartphones. With the Logitech Harmony Link app, your favorite device becomes a full-featured remote that can control your entertainment system with one touch.

    One touch to your favorite shows:
    With activity based-control, one touch automatically turns on the right devices and selects the appropriate input settings depending on what you want to do—like “Watch a Movie.”

    Get a personalized experience. Just tell the Harmony Link app your location and TV service provider, and the TV channel guide helps you find something good to watch.

    Swipe into control:
    You can use simple swipes and taps to control volume, video playback and more without taking your eyes off whatever you are watching on the big screen.

    Do what you want:
    Logitech Harmony Link offers smart activity based-control to your ipod touch, iphone, ipad or android smartphone: just choose "Watch a Movie" or "Listen to Music" and everything is automatically switched to the right settings.

    Control up to 8 devices from over 5000 brands & models:
    Your tablet or smartphone may already be the center of your digital world. Now you can use it to control your entire home entertainment system, too. We support 5000+ models with more added every day, so you can be sure you'll have control over what you own today and tomorrow.

    Get setup in a snap:
    Visit www.myharmony.com , connect Logitech Harmony Link
    to your Wi-Fi® network and tell us what equipment you have. Then sit back. We take care of the hard stuff. Logitech Harmony Link is capable of “learning” commands from other remotes, so you’ll have complete control of every feature of your devices.

    Overview:
    • Cost: $99.99
    • Universal Remote: YES
    • Self-Configuring: YES
    • PC Configuration Setup: YES
    • Mac Configuration Setup: YES
    • Macros: YES
     
  16. Oct 18, 2011 #16 of 149
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Great addition to the shoot out!
     
  17. Oct 18, 2011 #17 of 149
    NiTruS

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    Roomie
     

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  18. Oct 18, 2011 #18 of 149
    toofastgtp

    toofastgtp Mentor

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    My 650

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Oct 18, 2011 #19 of 149
    Alebob911

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    Harmony One and Directv iPad app.
     
  20. Oct 18, 2011 #20 of 149
    Groundhog45

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    Great comparison. Thanks for putting this together. I'm still looking for option 3.

    I have a Harmony 676 but we generally use the DirecTV remote. As little as we use other devices (Blu-ray, DVD, Surround), we feel the standard remotes fill the bill most of the time.

    I do have the application on one PC and the Android app on my Droid.
     

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