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Browser Based System?

 
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bevhoward



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Browser Based System? Reply with quote

I've worked extensively with JP1/URC for decades and now have a couple of years experience with the Harmony remotes (but never again.)

While I like and have used the JP1/URC remotes for most of their life, my experience with touchscreen mobile devices and their small screen browsers tells me that they would be a good base for a home brew, browser based, universal remote... especially if the user has the capability to customize the browser screens to their needs and open up the possibility of complex and timed commands.

Several years ago, I did some work with the Microsoft Media Center Edition OS including working with it's bi-directional usb ir dongle. Along with that, I spent some time working with HIP software, primarily as a tool to diagnose and recreate ir commands using the Microsoft MCE ir dongles.

As a result, the above experience tells me that it should be possible (and relatively easy) to design a local service to allow any connected computer or pda with a simple html browser to issue browser links that would trigger ir commands out of an mce computer on the same network's ir dongle.

Question to the experienced users here... are there any html based universal remote software options already out there?

Thanks in advance,
Beverly Howard
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xnappo
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Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 854

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Browser Based System? Reply with quote

bevhoward wrote:
Question to the experienced users here... are there any html based universal remote software options already out there?

Thanks in advance,
Beverly Howard

Well, XBMC has a web interface that you can use from a phone:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=The_Web_Interface

It also has a really nice Android app:
http://xbmc.org/freezy3k/2010/07/13/official-xbmc-remote-for-android/

Is that what you are talking about? Or do you mean going a step further and having an IR blaster hooked up to the HTPC to control other components? I think there are iPhone/Ipad apps that do that. I just read about one the other day, but don't remember where Very Happy

xnappo
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gfb107
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Joined: 03 Aug 2003
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Location: Cary, NC

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lots of different things out there.

Browser/Mobile based is good for browsing the available content you want to see, or searching. I don't think it is good for actual playback control. I don't want to have to look away from the TV when watching something.

Here's some I found with a very quick search (mostly iDevice, some Android)

Mobile-to-IR
http://www.iruleathome.com/
http://www.l5remote.com/
http://www.newkinetix.com/
http://www.i-got-it.com/
http://www.newpotatotech.com/FLPR/flpr.html
http://www.powera.com/iphone/iphone.asp?section=0&prod=1

Product/Application Specific
Sonos
Boxee
XBMC
AppleTV
iTunes, AirPlay
Boxee

Popcour Hour community driven
http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=25613 (mine)
http://code.google.com/p/plonk/


UPNP Based
http://www.eyecontec.com/index.php
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JP1 How-To's and Software Tools
The #1 Code Search FAQ and it's answer (PLEASE READ FIRST)
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bevhoward



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses... appreciated

>>what do you mean? <<

Over the past several years, our patio room has evolved into a "media center" which includes a computer in addition to TV receiver, A/V receiver, DVD player, projector, XM radio and a couple of other ir controlled devices.

As a result, a good universal remote becomes essential. The computer is used increasingly for streaming content and a net box is probably not far in the future.

Since the computer is there and positioned where it can easily send ir commands to all of the components, it opens up using any device capable of html browsing as a universal remote... not only "a" device, but any device. A link is tapped on a device running a page served by the computer that triggers the computer to issue an ir command out of it's usb ir dongle.

In addition, using an html page opens up the ability to create and use custom layouts of any design under custom menus to easily (and clearly) navigate to the layouts that are currently needed... for example, controlling a tv receiver and projector where each uses a different cursor pad.

With an increasing number of devices any "universal remote" comes under two crunches... command complexity and a limited input interface... i.e. buttons laid out to meet the need of a diverse number of devices.

>> look away <<

That's a very valid point since I also rely on "feel" rather than "visual" to issue commands... notably, volume and channel up/down.

One possibility is to land back at an over simplified layout screen of frequently used controls mapped large so that hitting them would be possible by location rather than feel. I'm sure that other options will expose themselves in use.

>> apps <<

_IF_ this could be done using html pages stored on a local machine, it gives the user absolute control over the remote interface... have a device such as an XM receiver that's not supported by an app... just like the JP1's flexibility, the user can create any interface they need and any method of navigating to it from where it might be needed... i.e. to control a fan as an option off of a tv or dvd control layout.

>> why? <<

It would be interesting to be able to calculate the number of hours I have invested in JP1 and other control options over the decades.

JP1 is a great universal remote solution. However, it's stretched to it's limit in for our current needs. In addition, while I can use it to control anything and everything (I often need a reference though) using it with our complex setup is beyond my wife's tolerance level, so, she's abdicated to watching projected content only when I am around.

While the "industry" will evolve to solutions that meet the needs of the masses, they will take a long time to appear and have their own limits and inflexibility. The Harmony (imho) is an excellent example of the need for this (logitech is selling them well) along with the fact that it's a totally flawed and terrible approach for even technically savvy users.

Hope this clarifies,
Beverly Howard
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Kevin Timmerman
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Location: West Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedEye can work with HTML pages. It can send IR using HTTP GET commands. You will have to build the web pages yourself - the standard interface they support right now is iPhone/iPad. The web interface is under development.

RedEye website wrote:

Standard Internet Technology

RedEye is actually a small Linux server. It uses standard Internet technologies like TCP and HTTP, and sends around information in XML documents. Why do you care? Because it means that RedEye isnít just a remote control platform for your iPhone. In theory, any Internet-connected device can communicate with RedEye. We will soon be releasing a software update that enables you to control RedEye from any PC with a basic web browser. And going forward we plan to develop software specific to other devices including the iPad and Android phones.
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gfb107
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Joined: 03 Aug 2003
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Location: Cary, NC

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you are proposing is very similar to the high-end Home Theater control crowd has, with things like Control4, Creston and Kaleidescape.

Some of the apps I mentioned are actually HTML pages that have been styled and scripted to look like native apps. I know for sure that is the case for iSkin, since I wrote it.

Over time, more and more devices will have network connections (wired or wireless) and will support some form of TCP/IP based control. That will make this sort of thing very easy.

We already have internet connected TVs, Blu-ray players, media streamers (Google TV, Popcorn Hour, Boxee, Roku, ...), home theater PCs, game consoles (XBox 360, PS-3, Wii), and various flavors of UPNP devices. I imagine there are even A/V receivers that fall into that category.

bevhoward wrote:

>> apps <<

_IF_ this could be done using html pages stored on a local machine, it gives the user absolute control over the remote interface... have a device such as an XM receiver that's not supported by an app... just like the JP1's flexibility, the user can create any interface they need and any method of navigating to it from where it might be needed... i.e. to control a fan as an option off of a tv or dvd control layout.

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Original RemoteMaster developer
JP1 How-To's and Software Tools
The #1 Code Search FAQ and it's answer (PLEASE READ FIRST)
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bevhoward



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>> RedEye <<

RedEye looks interesting, but it's still using the device to send the ir commands.

It's kinda hard to leave the idea of the device sending the ir commands in the past, since the device doesn't need to have anything installed or added in this approach. It also opens up using multiple devices for control... i.e. an iPad on the coffee table or use either a windows mobile, an android or iphone depending on what's available since no software is installed on the device and no hardware addition is needed for the device. The redeye site references the possibility that local html may be a future option for them, but, again, to fire the dedicated device hardware?

Every windows computer comes with the ability to run a "private web server" so, that's where the pages reside, the devices simply open the ip address of that computer.

>> high end <<

The software written for the JP1 programming is far more complex than what needs to be done to implement this idea.

The only piece missing for me is how to get a link on the computer's web page to fire an ir command to the _local_ usb ir dongle.

>> Over time, more and more devices will have network connections (wired or wireless) and will support some form of TCP/IP based control. <<

Not sure if I have enough "time" left to wait for this ;-)

Even so, when the tech arrives, the pages can then be easily converted to send commands to the needed pipe. There's already a move to use a bluetooth based system, but that puts another hardware layer and cost into the equation.

Thanks for the responses... I'm now more hopeful that this might be achievable.

Beverly Howard
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bevhoward



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>> RedEye = $188 <<

One other thought about this approach is that beyond the design manhours that will be required, the total hardware cost is from $10-$25 for the microsoft MCE compatible usb ir dongle... $0 if the computer has built in MCE ir.

My time's cheap and I owe this forum, it's owner and it's members a lot.

Beverly Howard
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