Acoustic Research's WiFi Remote Stuffed With Features

Illustration for article titled Acoustic Researchs WiFi Remote Stuffed With Features

If there's one device that needs some features raped into it, its the remote control. Acoustic Research showed the ARRU449 universal remote at CEDIA today in all its Wi-Fi goodness. Available in October, the gadget's built-in Wi-Fi technology allows you to use your connection to get the latest weather reports, sports scores, headlines and what's playing on your favorite channels right to the color LCD display on your remote control — which, by the way, now has a color LCD display.

The ARRU449 can handle everything from your DVD player to your DVR to a satellite receiver. Yes, its nice to not have to change the channel or squash the picture to see what's playing elsewhere, or change what the girlfriend is watching to get the latest sports scores, but for $399.99, the girlfriend can go to hell — I'm sticking with my sticky 3-year old remote control.


DENVER, September 6, 2007 - Offering a unique combination of sophistication and simplicity, the new Acoustic Research Wi-Fi Universal Remote controls a myriad of entertainment products and uses the home Wi-Fi network to deliver an Electronic Program Guide and personalized news, weather and sports headlines to the color LCD
display. The ARRU449 from Audiovox Accessories, which functions seamlessly without wires and without a computer, will be available in October with a suggested retail price of $399.99

"This innovative Acoustic Research Wi-Fi Remote is perfect for the consumer in a broadband-connected household that is seeking a simple, direct solution for controlling multiple products," said Lou Lenzi, senior vice president, product management, Audiovox Accessories. "Additionally, there is tremendous demand for instant access to the
latest news, sports and weather, and the WiFi remote expediently and efficiently delivers personalized guide information," he added.

The Wi-Fi Universal remote operates as "command central" for controlling a virtually unlimited number of entertainment components including DVRs, DVD players, cable and satellite receivers, DVD recorders, CD players, sound systems and more. When not in use, the remote rests in a custom-designed charging cradle that keeps it ready for operation at all times.

The ARRU449 utilizes the click365™ technology, wireless content and services network developed by tvCompass Inc. The Chicago-based company provides diverse wireless interactive TV and real-time entertainment services for the consumer, Wi-Fi, mobile phone and PDA markets.

The Electronic Program Guide is automatically updated through the remote's wireless Wi-Fi connection, enabling the family to continue watching TV while searching the on-remote screen for optional cable, satellite or analog or digital broadcast programming choices. With individual customization capabilities, the viewer can select from "All
Channels," "My Channels," "My Shows" or sort the guide to display HDTV movies, family or sports programming. Another convenience option is the ability to view program details and set "reminders" for select program times. The viewer is provided with updates through the Wi-Fi connection of national headline news, sports, weather information and program guide listings based on your postal ZIP codes.

As an added convenience, the ARRU449 offers simple device setup right in front of your components with no wired PC connection needed. All you need to know is the brand of component. The Wi-Fi remote offers activities that are simple to set-up for most common usage of a product. For example, commands can be programmed to "Watch DVD", "Watch DVR", "Watch Satellite" with the selection of a soft-key icon navigation on the LCD screen. On-screen assistance for set-up of these functions is also provided.

While delivering highly advanced services, the ARRU449 is extremely consumer friendly. On-screen menus provide "start-up welcome" support that includes essential feature descriptions that serve as a basic tutorial for easy product usage.

Among other advantages, the ARRU449 gives you the best options by providing an extensive library of "smart codes" in the Wi-Fi remote to link together multiple branded products. Since it is a "learning remote," the ARRU449 can easily replicate the functions of all component remote control brands for instant fingertip control.

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If there's one thing I dislike, it's a button remote where the channel buttons are the same size as, and buried in a sea of, other buttons.

Note to designers: people want to select from among hundreds of channels without looking at the remote.