How to control your outdoor TV by phone
- Thursday, 20 December 2018 15:15
When you take advantage of a SealTV weatherproof enclosure you get all the benefits of an outdoor TV from your regular flat screen for a fraction of the cost of buying an “Outdoor TV”. That means more choice of brands, screen size and picture quality, wrapped up nicely in a stylish, IP rated clear case.
Once you take your entertainment outside, everything changes. Your backyard instantly has more value and gets better use, you get fresh air, sunshine and quality time with the kids while you watch TV or garden. Also you can invite friends, family or co-workers around for an evening event that doesn’t mean everyone is staring at the stern portrait of your grandfather-in-law.
One change that is not as easy to embrace is the issue of where to put the TV remote. It’s hard enough keeping track of the remote controls inside, let alone outside, where they might not be as weatherproof as your TV. Even if you do have a weatherproof universal remove, the places your TV remote can get lost suddenly quadruple when you are outside, thanks to Goldie, your retriever, burying it under the petunias.
A few simple options you might like to go with are:
• Velcro. Stick a sturdy piece of Velcro adhesive square to the back of the remote and to the side of your SealTV enclosure or the inside beam of your patio.
• Gear box. Have a storage box with a lid that holds all your essentials; remote, bottle opener, stubby holder. Slide it into an outdoor cupboard or under a seat out of the way until you need it.
• Hanging flower basket. You might want to stick some artificial plants in here also to make it look a little more attractive.
• Gnome. Pop your remote into the hollow of a garden statue.
All these options should come with a stylish ziplock sandwich bag to seal your remote away into too. This will keep out dust, rain and dew and protect it from insects, lizards and possums when not in use. Just like your TV, the tiny connecting elements inside the remote need to be clean to send signals efficiently.
YOUR REMOTE PHONE
A far more effective and contemporary option is to transfer your remote power to your mobile phone. Most current Android phones have an infrared (IR) blaster in their base, which allows them to send a remote signal by IR light beam.
Most of your entertainment devices use IR light to receive signals so your TV (including Smart TVs), set-top box, streaming box and surround sound system can all potentially become connected through one app.
The apps to do this are mostly free, making them infinitely more affordable than the flashy electronic remote control systems like the Logitech Harmony, but just as trendy and skilled.
You have a wide range of choices for your remote app, the top five that all have strong ability, intuition and connect to just about anything are:
• AnyMote – Smart Remote Control
• SURE Universal Remote
• ASmart Remote IR
• Peel Smart Remote
• IR Universal Remote
These are not shown in any ranked order. All have their own strengths and weaknesses, but mostly strengths. It’s about finding the one that works best for you. When it comes to user ratings SURE is one of the highest rated, it’s easy to set up and has the ability to control just about any device. It’s even compatible with phones that do not have an IR blaster (you will just need to separately purchase a WiFi-to-IR controller).
Most Android smartphones, especially those from Samsung and HTC, have IR capability. If you have one of these phones you’ve probably already noticed Peel Smart Remote, which comes preloaded on your phone, as it makes multiple attempts to take over your TV watching whenever it senses it’s in the room with something it can potentially connect to.
While it might seem like some kind of crazy scam app (think Xray app and Find My Soul Mate) the technology is actually real and pretty good to use also.
Connecting to your devices is easy, it’s as simple as inputting the device type, brand and model, waiting for it to locate and away you go.
In some cases, you can be connected to a device and ready to go in as little as one minute. Depending on your app you can connect multiple devices to one remote and create ‘rooms’ where you can group together the devices (including lights) and label them according to the room they are in.
The apps are designed to be fun to use with buttons (some apps allow you to customise), themes, colours, animations and even designs that look exactly like a remote control pad.
They all have a free version available. Being free means you can try before you buy and see which one you like the look and feel of before you commit. The free versions can come with banner ads, some of which really get in the way of being able to use your remote screen (just to further entice you to upgrade to the paid version). These purchase prices are tiny, i.e. $2 to $3. Some are one-off and some are yearly so check before you subscribe. Mostly you are only paying to get rid of ads (worth it if you like the free version) although AnyMote does actually have some genuine upgrade features.
Before you lose your remote control (again) give some serious thought to how you can get better solutions and take outdoor TV entertainment up another level.