Supercharge Your Smart Home Entertainment

You may have a home already filled with high-tech smart devices that let you control your Nest thermostat and turn your lights on and off with a simple tap on your smartphone screen. But are you magically controlling your appliances and security system with one easy app, while juggling three or more bulky, confusing remotes when it comes time to sit down and relax at the end of the day? It doesn’t have to be this way. With various options to easily and quickly control every component of your home theater, you can ditch the awkward remotes and bring your entertainment into line with the rest of your modern life.

Use the Device That’s Glued to Your Hand

Did you know that little screen your eyes are fixed to for much of the day is equipped with infrared technology? Since roughly 2013, most flagship Android smartphones – like the Galaxy series, the LG Optimus, and the HTC One – have been made with integrated IR blasters. This is the same old reliable technology that makes your television remote work without a wire, except when paired with the power of mobile apps, the whole operation gets a whole lot better.

There must be a catch, right? Well, there is…kind of. The tech is there; the trick is putting together the perfect combination of apps and tools for your particular entertainment setup. You may have noticed that your phone comes with a built-in remote control app. These are typically feature-light and may not support as many different components as apps like the Galaxy Universal Remote. For four bucks, you get an app that supports thousands of manufacturers and features a host of useful functions. The app lets you control all of your devices, customize your colors, and save a series of actions in one easy button.

There’s another catch with this method of enhancing your smart home entertainment system. If you’re an Apple devotee, you’ll have to use an additional piece of hardware. iPhones do not come equipped with IR, so you’ll need an iRed – a device that plugs into your headphone port. The benefit of this hardware is that it comes with an app that supports more than 300,000 entertainment components.

Use Your Wi-Fi Network

Another option is to use your existing Internet connection in coordination with individual apps to control each device. Even though you may need multiple apps (unless your TV, Blu-ray player, and stereo, etc., are all one brand), the manufacturers’ apps are typically not only more stable than third-party apps, but they’re also packed with features like gesture support, QWERTY keyboard, and information about what you’re viewing or listening to.

The functionality of manufacturer-specific apps also extends to your cable TV provider, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and more. These apps allow you to do things the proprietary physical remote doesn’t, not the least of which is to use a keyboard to search rather than painstakingly arrowing from letter to letter.

The Future of Traditional Remotes

Samsung unveiled its new Tizen software-based Smart Control Remote at the 2016 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. The goal is seamless control all of your devices, including streaming media and gaming consoles, in one easy to use Samsung TV Smart Hub interface. If apps aren’t your thing for controlling your home theater, don’t despair – help is on the way.

While you’re downloading apps and having fun playing with your newly discovered IR-enable phone, let a ServiceLive professional get the rest of your smart home setup. Our vetted experts can take care of your Nest thermostat installation, security camera setup, and much more. Contact us today to set up your installation.


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