$10. That’s how much it costs these days to turn your iPhone into a universal remote, thanks to Zeev Braude, co-founder of Ryz Media. Universal remotes traditional cost between $150 to $1000+, so $10 is a freakin’ steal.
The app is called My TV Remote (iTunes link) and it’s free. You can then pay $9.99 via in-app purchase (inclusive of Shipping and Handling) and get a little infrared emitter shipped to you. Plug the emitter into your headphone jack and voila! Now you can use your iPhone to control your TV.
Hit the jump to see how it works:
Instead of acting like your current remote control by providing the same buttons on a digital screen, the My TV Remote app provides a significantly improved user experience. Rather than flipping through channels on your TV via up and down arrow buttons, a TV guide is downloaded to your phone so you can thumb through channels the same way you do music. Furthermore, you can see what shows are on each channel and read descriptions or ratings of the shows.
My TV Remote also incorporates social elements – you get real-time recommendations of what to watch based on what’s most popular right now. Furthermore, you can see what your Facebook friends are watching and interact with them via a comment thread about the show. You can also “check in” to a TV show and share it on your Facebook wall, which I can actually see myself doing.
Aside from being one of the better TV apps I’ve seen, the killer feature is the price and the potential for this app to improve for the future. Currently, it only supports TV and doesn’t have all of the options. However, it can eventually be a remote for DVD, Blu-Ray, audio and anything else you want to control with an IR transmitter. As Matt Burns of CrunchGear mentioned a few weeks back, the standalone universal remote is obsolete.
One of the most annoying things about most universal remotes is the process of setting it up. However, I was floored by the ease of the My TV Remote app. You open the app, plug in the hardware and then spend 30 seconds syncing up the app with your Set top box and TV. The only problem is that the device they send you is so small that it’s actually really easy to lose.
There are many other remote control and social TV applications for the iPhone, and I’ve tested many of them. So far, the best was ThinkFlood’s $188 RedEye, but honestly, the My TV App blows it out of the water. It was easier to set up and $178 cheaper. For my basic needs, I couldn’t imagine spending even $50 more for the advanced features of the RedEye.
Aside from Square, this may be the coolest hardware accessory I’ve seen for the iPhone yet.