Griffin beacon a good remote?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Larpy, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Larpy macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Looking at getting a universal remote for my home av system and looking at using the beacon with an iPad. Most of the time the iPad will be in the tv room. Does any one have any experiences with this?
  2. brucewayne macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2005
    I purchased one and took it back. The main problem I had with it was that it would not learn commands for my DVR and several other components. The functions that did work, worked well though. Unfortunately, the only response that Griffin support had for me was that there were issues with the firmware on the beacon and the Dijit software, which they couldn't guarantee were the root of my problems. My personal feeling is that the hardware and software are being developed by two completely separate groups and they aren't 100% coordinated. So (at their recommendation) I returned it. I did notice that they released updates this week, its possible that may have fixed my issue, but I'm not going to re buy it to find out.

    I also tried the red eye and the Pear Fruit, which didn't really provide what I wanted.

    What I ended up with was the SQ blaster from Square Connect . It's pricey (nearly $200) but it works extremely well, works with tons of home automation equipment as well, and the tech support is great.
  3. Larpy thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Hey thanks.

    The sq looks pretty good, the way I understand it, it relays from the iPad to the other devices with ir, is there any other hook up required? Some place on the website it said something about a USB link? What is that for? Also looking at a harmony from creative.

  4. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Over The Years

    I must have tried a dozen of these so called "Universal" remotes.

    Not one of them....Even the really expensive ones, ever operated my stuff properly.

    Now I have the same brand TV and HDD HD recorder it's a one shot for both (you just input a code and they are paired)

    I have an Apple remote which does ATV and controls iTunes on my iMac.

    The Remote app from the app store will allow your iPhone or iPad to operate your ATV too.
  5. Larpy thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Have you tried the square connect or the harmony? I've heard very good things about the harmony, but it's a bit expensive.
  6. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    A bit pricey perhaps, but I've had no problems with my Harmony. So far it's working with every single device I have, no matter how exotic.
  7. brucewayne macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Its a relatively simple setup. The SQ Blaster comes with a USB cable that you connect to your Mac/PC for the initial setup of Wi-Fi and firmware updates (if needed). Setup is about 5 minutes for that. Then you disconnect the blaster and from that point all communication is wireless over Wi-Fi - all setup is done via the iOS app or a program called SQ Designer that runs on the Mac/PC. You have the option of placing the SQ Blaster on a table that faces your equipment, or hiding it in your equipment rack and sticking those little IR blasters on your equipment.

    I can speak to the Harmony remotes as well, since I've had about 10 of them. They are really good if you want to just control your media gear simply because the remote 'remembers' the state of your equipment (i.e. it remembers you turned the TV on an hour ago), so when switching inputs, etc it takes that into account. After all the ones I tried from the 1000 down to the original (that had like 6 buttons), I settled for the 550 which was a good balance of features and price, and have one in the living room, bedroom, and office. It just wasn't going to be suitable for the home theater since I also wanted to control lights, climate control, etc. which is why I went with the SQ blaster for that.

    To speak to Macman's point, you do have to put in some time on any of these remotes if you want them to work consistently. Even the harmony remotes which walk you through the setup steps require some time adding delays between commands, learning discrete codes (like power on and power off). You may find for instance that your receiver won't change inputs right away after its powered on, so you have to rearrange things the macro to say, receiver on, tv on, delay 300ms, receiver input 1, delay 300ms, tv input 2, etc.

    Another thing you might check into, companies like Xfinity(Comcast), Sony, DirecTV, others are developing apps that allow you to control their equipment directly. For instance, I just picked up a $100 sony blu-ray player that can be controlled by a free Sony App. And you might try the beacon out, it is considerably cheaper and if you don't run into compatibility issues like I did, it will probably suit your needs. The Apple store took it back with no questions asked within the 14 day window if it doesn't.

    In any case, if you want to just control a few devices, you are probably better off with a Harmony or similar remote. If you want to control a rack of equipment and home automation gear, and you have a iOS device that you can dedicate to the cause (i.e. you don't want to stop surfing the net on your iPad because your wife wants to watch TV in the other room) the SQ remote is the best solution at the moment.
  8. Fernandes macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    true story i was looking for one too and ended up with a harmony one from logitech, from cable box to AC, passing thru aTV

    PS: and the dimmer controlling the lights too
  9. Larpy thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Thanks all, this really is one of the best forums to get info about tec stuff.

    I'll have to see what the minister of finance says (aka the wife) but might try the blaster and will put in the time to get it right, thanks for the detailed advice batman... I mean bw:D:D

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