This looks very interesting…”It almost sounds too good to be a true – a universal IR remote with high-quality LCD screen, built-in WiFi, a handful of adapters to bridge WiFi to Z-Wave, RS-232 and IR, and native Windows Media Connect. All this for $249 including docking station.
This particular design is the SimpleRemote, a universal remote with built-in IR and WiFi capabilities. The IR is used (naturally) to operate in-room A/V devices. The WiFi is used to control remote devices via adapters, and to communicate two-way with the Internet and with networked PCs. The remote supports Microsoft Windows Media Connect, meaning it can automatically browse content stored on virtually any Windows XP computer on the network.
The product could be just the ticket for Media Center Edition, which suffers from an appalling lack of remote interfaces. Who wants to turn on a television just to play a song, or disrupt a TV show to navigate through photos?
You can even play home movies on the SimpleRemote, thanks to a 2.2-inch VGA 262,000-color LCD screen with 320 x 240 resolution. Luciano calls the high-quality screen a “technical leap,” adding, “You can get a lot of information across to the user.”
With SimpleRemote, users can browse their music or photos from the handheld, for example, without disrupting the action on the TV. Simply select a song or a picture, and if you have multiple connection points in the home, you can pick the sound system or display that receives the content.
But that’s not all. The unit can communicate directly with the Internet, so it can receive Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) data, enabling users to check the listings without interfering with a TV show already playing.
OpenPeak provides reference designs for adapters that convert WiFi to IR, Z-Wave and RS-232. Luciano expects these bridges to retail for about $100.”