Roomie Remote

Discussion in 'iPhone Apps and Games' started by chris, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. chris

    chris Administrator
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    For those looking for a fully-customizable and powerful remote for your home theater components, the Roomie Remote certainly fits the bill. I've been spending the last week or so getting acquainted with it and will eventually put a review up on the site. I wanted to start a thread for those like-minded individuals who have interest in a universal remote for iPhone, iPad.

    The app is extremely powerful and capable, but at times it can be a bit of a bear. It starts at $9.99 for the app, but there are all sorts of IAP and hardware (for IR control).

    I've got a pretty complicated setup. I've been using the Harmony 890, which has served us well. Still, it's far from perfect. It can get unusable when using Plex and it is less than great with the Playstation 3.

    I'm still not certain if the Roomie Remote will complete unseat a physical remote. It offers sound and vibration, but it's not the same as single-handed clicking. I think it will shine in movie situations. TV viewing might be a hurdle. I don't see my wife giving up a traditional remote for this just yet.

    So far I've got the Roomie Remote, the Home Theater pack, the yearly subscription (IR, Guide) and an iTach IR on its way. My components are all in my basement, so will splice an existing ethernet cable to wire an IR emitter from my TV to the iTach, allowing it to be controlled by the Roomie. Devices I currently control or plan to control:

    • ROKU
    • TiVo
    • Onkyo receiver
    • Vera Lite (Zwave scenes for lights)
    • Logitech cameras
    • Apple TV
    • Monoprice HDMI switch
    • Sonos
    • Plex (Mac mini)


    I'm not done spending money with them. The big hurdle with Plex is the Mac mini and its inability to wake from sleep. The Mac mini will wake, but not the display. These guys have the Roomie Agent for Mac OS X. That app sits on the Mac and you need the Roomie Agent pack to communicate with it.

    The beauty of this app is that it can be a simple straightforward remote or a full blown home theater controller. It controls Logitech camera, Vera Z Wave. When everything is in place, watch movie should switch to Plex on the Mac mini, dim the lights and crank up the volume.

    Looking to replace your remote?

    Roomie Remote on App Store
     
  2. chris

    chris Administrator
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    The iTach came today. Connected it via ethernet and Roomie immediately recognized it. It allowed me to add a few more devices, including my Apple TV, Onkyo receiver. IR emitters can be a bit flaky. The app allows you to send repeat commands. I've been able to get a few major activities completed. Watch TiVo, Watch Apple TV and Watch Roku all work well. With the purchase of Roomie Agent (for both Mac OS X and iOS), the remote actually wakes up my Mac mini. That had always been a huge problem for me. Also, the Plex controls never worked great on the Logitech and navigating via Bluetooth keyboard was spotty at best.

    It powers everything down and up, no problems.

    I've yet to get the TV into the sequence. My plan is to cut an IR emitter in two and splice them to a spare CAT 6 cable sitting behind my TV. What's nice about this solution is that I'll be able to power things up when not being in line of sight. Same goes for turning stuff off. Members of my family like to turn things on and not turn them off.

    Given the amount of time it takes to configure, I don't want to lose stuff, so have been sending it to my Dropbox (in app).

    A WiFi mesh network synchronizes all of the devices. I cannot imagine having to run through this again on a different device.

    I still think it's a user friendly app, but it all depends on your setup. I'm asking a lot of Roomie. I feel pretty comfortable that when it is setup properly, the results will be consistent.

    Wife absolutely hates it. Then again, she hasn't used anything but TiVo. When she wants to watch a movie, she'll become a fan, knowing how that usually involves me messing around and running to the basement.
     
  3. chris

    chris Administrator
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    Did my IR emitter splicing last night. Wasn't as easy as I thought. The IR emitter has two wires, one of which is super thin. Stripping them was not easy, at all. Initially I couldn't get any signal. I had them each connected to a single wire from my Cat 6e. Blue to red, Blue and White to other wire. I then decided to pair two wires from the Cat 6e for each emitter wire. So, blue + blue & white to red. Orange + Orange & white to the other wire. Bingo! I have to get some electrical tape to clean things up.

    Only issues now are programming. I've yet to get the PS3 in the loop, since it uses the oddball Logitech remote adapter. Also, my switcher keeps power cycling. I have to re-add it and not auto-add to activities. This way, it stays on 24/7 and will just receive the switch command.

    I'm so close to getting this nailed down. Big fan of the product. Still not crazy about using a tablet for TV/DVR watching. I think that's still a place for the TiVo peanut.
     
  4. chris

    chris Administrator
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    For those interested, I've got a full write-up, review and video that shows how you setup Roomie and how it works.

     
  5. Sam Ash

    Sam Ash New Member

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    Hi Chis, I am setting up my HT room and intend enclosing all my AV gear in a cupboard so that it is out of sight. I am looking for a reasonably priced system to control my gear via my iPhone using WiFi. It would be nice to be able to control just one light in the room and 2 plugs as I like to completely switch off all equipment when I'm done so that none of the equipment is in Standby mode.

    After conducting some research, its sad to learn that there are absolutely no WiFi based switches or plugs. Hence, I am thinking of getting the following:-

    1. Vera Lite Controller.
    2. Fibaro Relay switch (As my LED lights are not dimmable).
    3. One z-wave plug (this can handle 13A so it is fine for BD Player, Processor, Projector and Game console).
    4. One in-socket (embeddable) relay to handle 20 to 30 Amps. My power-amp needs a 20A socket.
    5. iTach IP to IR - Not sure which one to get though.
    6. I am looking at iRule software - it seems to be a good product made by people who provide good support. Plus, they have all the device drivers. (the basic version is $50 and the full blown version is $100)

    I am looking for something that works well and is easy to configure - so the above is what I have come up with.

    Something that I would highly appreciate is to know where the volume is at on my processor (Sherbourn PT-7030), I have asked iRule if that is possible but they have confirmed it is not. This is a problem that I don't know how to solve.

    The above system is working out to be quite expensive and if you look at it realistically, I am forced to go the Vera route just to control one light in my HT room, the wall plugs was just an after thought.

    Any input or suggestions from you will be appreciated, thinking of buying everything from a UK supplier as RF frequencies and power ratings need to comply with UK standards.

    Cheers,

    Sam
     
  6. chris

    chris Administrator
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    Have you considered the Logitech Harmony Ultimate. It can most of what you are hoping to accomplish, if you were to pair it with a Philips Hue system. This isn't a small investment, but I can attest to it working well. I've migrated from the Roomie setup to the Harmony Ultimate. I've also used the Vera, which I liked quite a bit. The Harmony Ultimate can control your Philips Hue lights and gear that is in your closet. It also has an app allowing you to control your setup from any smartphone. I use it quite a bit. For example, my wife or daughter leaves the TV on and I'm in my office. Instead of venturing out to find the remote, I fire up the app and turn things off. My equipment is one floor down, in our basement.

    I haven't used iRule software, but I'm guessing it's similar in function to Roomie.

    Z-Wave stuff is great. I'd recommend you look at SmartThings also, when considering hubs. I prefer it to Vera. I won't try and talk you out of getting into home automation. It absolutely rocks.

    If you go the Z-Wave/Hub route, you can still move to the Harmony or vice versa. I have many z-wave lights, outlets and also have Philips Hue in my system.

    The Ultimate also controls my Nest thermostats.
     
  7. Sam Ash

    Sam Ash New Member

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    Thank you very much for taking the time to response Chris, very nice of you.

    I've been leaning more towards Vera Lite and a couple of z-wave switches to control my lights and wall plugs. I've also been looking at iRule software as I feel its a bit more flexible than Roomie. To be quite honest, the only reason why I am thinking of getting the Vera Lite is to control my lights (just a single switch). However, I realise the fact that a Logitech Harmony Ultimate hub could work very well in conjunction with an iPhone and a Phillips Hue light.

    Is it possible to create macro actions with the Harmony Ultimate iPhone app ? - Example, lights switch-on when I pause the movie and switch-off on resume ? Also, all movie equipment switches-on with one key ?
     

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