TiPb Gear -- Fastmac/UMEE iV Plus TV Remote for iPhone (Macworld 2010)

FastMac/UMEE iV Plus TV Remote for iPhone

Live from Macworld 2010, Leanna and Rene talk with Maksim Loffe, co-founder and CEO of UMEE about their TV remote software and FastMac's remote case for iPhone, the iV Plus.

Watch along after the break!

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

TiPb Gear -- Fastmac/UMEE iV Plus TV Remote for iPhone (Macworld 2010)


He speaks way too fast, and sounds like he's being tortured. Please get an older person who can speak properly.

thats a lovely shirt! lol! Its a fantastic idea as my phone is always next to me when im watching the t.v and i have a case. Its nice that the case is not to big as that was my only worry!

I am squarely in the target market he mentions, because I have both an iPhone and an absurd amount of a/v gear, currently controlled via a Harmony remote. From that perspective:
1) The lack of hardware butons is not UMEE's fault, but it is going to hurt. When I am watching TV, I do not want to power button, swipe to unlock, swipe to find icon, hit icon, wait for program to start, then hit my change channel button. I want to pick up my remote and immediately push a button. (Harmony remotes have soft buttons too, and you can reprogram both hardware and software buttons, but the hardware buttons get more use simply for that immediate gratification.) It seems petty (and probably is), but for something like a remote, whose main use case is a series of single ~5 second interactions, that extra ~5-10 second startup time will get annoying fast.
2) The fact that it uses IR instead of RF or Wi-Fi will also hurt. Many folks with enough gear to want a universal remote keep it out of the way, or at least behind cabinet doors. IR means you would still need line of sight, at least to third party IR repeaters, instead of having the receiver also tucked away out of sight.
3) Does the UMEE software support Activities (like Harmony does) or Macros (which Harmony does not, but it is the top complaint)? If the answer to both is "yes," a lot of Harmony people might switch, despite #1 and #2. If not, no chance, unless they have already want to buy the FastMac case for other reasons.
4) Are configurations stored server-side by UMEE, so they can be transferred easily between iPhones (or other devices)?
Despite these complaints, some of the features demonstrated look pretty nice, and they could take a chunk out of the universal remote market. #1 and #2 are deal breakers for me, so I doubt I will give up my Harmony for this, but the more competition in that market, the better.

I agree with fassy. Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it's practical. I don't want my iPhone to be used for everything in my life and tying it up. This reminds me of that car starter that in order to use, you have to grab your phone, unlock it, find the app, and launch it... when you can just use the one on your keychain must quicker.
Yes, I'm quite sure that dude is much, much smarter than I am. That wasn't my criticism.

I would love to see bluetooth support for my PS3. Thats what I use for playing all my movies that are not on my server. If they add support for that, I'm on board!

I couldn't watch the whole video because that guy was painful to listen to. "uh oh, you know, uh." great product otherwise b

I want that! Does it have multiple profiles for different TVs? If you could switch between living room bed room den etc it's killer.
If not, I'm still sold. When is it coming out - "2nd quarter" isn't specific enough for me.

Logitech has one for Harmony remotes, but, if you are not in the harmony camp, Nyko sells a pretty cheap infrared-to-bluetooth adapter that would definitely work with this. Those adapters cannot turn the PS3 on/off, but they work fine once it is on.

Wow to some of the comments... and yes that is the mother-load of cases for the iphone, battery/flashlight/camera flash/universal remote awesome...gettin one!

1. Most of this goes away with a jailbreak and use of Activator to provide a quick activation from anywhere. Also, getting rid of all the buttons you never use is a plus, and I believe there is gesture support for common tasks to reduce the issue of finding the correct button without looking. Plus what about the built in interactive program guide? - search for a show, tap it, watch it - sign me up!!
2. I would wager that the vast majority of users will not find a lack of RF or bluetooth to be an issue. Low and mid-range equipment is still predominantly IR. Also, once you have more than one piece of equipment involved, activity based is the only way to go - my wife has absolutely no interest in learning how to turn on multiple devices and set inputs correctly - she just wants to turn it on and start watching.
3. Activities definitely, macros - not sure, I'd need to watch again. As for other reasons - built in battery and flash/flashlight?
If you are referring to the Viper car remote app - your keychain can't start your car from the train 5 minutes before you arrive at the station in -40 degree weather so that your car is warm and frost free when you get to it... - I want this one as well - but the hardware cost is pretty steep :).
All these features for $100 - I'd wait in line for this one.
No more hunting for the remote in the couch - my iPhone is always nearby. I'm also interested in the new $50 RedEye IR transmitter, their app looks pretty good as well.

Umm, I guess you already have each of those component fassy that turns you down on this product because you are fine as it is but I'll definetly picking this one up not just for me but for my brother as well since i mention it to him and he went crazy about wanting one too. Not just for the added battery, case with flash capability but for the universal remote that can cost roughly $70-$200 for a little hardware/software upgrade for a physical remote itself. I mean $100 is already a bargain for people who have an iphone with no universal remote(not neccessary), or no external battery for an iphone with flash and case at that. Fastlane, your meaning for that quick starter for the car is understandable but like Scott mention, people dont get it just to get a head seconds start which can be done with the remote keychain if gotten already. They get it so they can start it way before they are even close to their car even if its blocks away or towns away cause its controlled by the wan technology i think that interact through internet. Anyway, 2 or maybe 3 will be bought by me, hands down the best iphone case by far if its what they promote it to be and live at that.

Will be out in june. I just got an email from them. They will be taking pre-orders in 6-8 weeks.

I am so glad that I stumbled on Remote Starters for Cars! It only took me about 5 hours to install mine and I'm not even an auto mechanic!! The remote that I have with my product is pretty cool looking too. Despite the fact that I'm contemplating bumping up to a security alarm here soon with the 2 way remote, whatdaya think?

I am just so glad that I came across Remote Starters for Cars! It only took me around 3 hours to install mine and I'm not even a mechanic!! The remote that I have with my system is pretty cool looking too. Although I'm thinking about bumping up to an alarm here soon with the 2 way remote, whatdaya think?