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NoviiRemote by NoviiMedia: Replace all your remote controls with a PDA
Posted March 2004 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

For a while now, users of some iPAQ and Sony Clie PDA models have enjoyed using their PDAs as remote controls for their entertainment equipment using the built-in consumer grade IR and remote control software included with those units. By eliminating a handful of remote controls, you can control all devices in the entertainment center with a single tool: your PDA. NoviiRemote allows users who don't have PDAs with built-in consumer IR and remote controls to enjoy the same convenience.

Easy to Install and Fast to Learn

NoviiRemote supports both Palm and Pocket PC devices. To install NoviiRemote software, make sure you read the documentation and install the version that works with your PDA. Along with the driver software, you will find a list of pre-programmed device codes that cover many pieces of equipment. They are listed by type of devices: TVs, cable boxes, Satellite receivers, DVD/CD players, VCRs, Audio receivers/Tuners and TiVo; and under the types, you will find a list of brands. If you can find the type and brand of your entertainment equipment, install these pre-programmed codes and you are ready to use your PDA as a remote control.

What about the brands you can't find? I found codes for every piece in my entertainment center except the TV set in the living room. Now the fun part begins. For anything that isn't covered by the pre-programmed list, the software can learn all the functions on your remote control for that piece of equipment. The learning process is simple and fast. Line up the IR ports of your remote control and your PDA, start the learning process on the PDA, then you are ready to match the functions of your remote to your PDA, button by button. The very good news is that there isn't anything this software can't learn as long as you have the remote control for the equipment.

Familiar Interface

There are two screens of virtual remote control buttons available for each entertainment device and the interface is easy to understand and should pose no learning curve. There is a list of device types on the right hand column that includes TV, Cab/Sat, DVD/CD, VCR, Audio, and PVR. You will need to select one of these devices before taking other actions. The interface is slightly different for each type of devices to provide the functions that are specific to certain device. Yet the application maintains a common theme for such things as number buttons, navigation buttons and etc. The NoviiRemote virtual button layout is simpler than the layout on the physical remote control since it eliminates some rarely used function keys. As a result, the interface looks quite clean.

As it is impossible to have buttons that match every remote control on the market, NoviiRemote provides four additional Function buttons for you to assign any function that might not be included in the default interface. However, you cannot change the names of these Function buttons. So you will need to remember what function F1 represents after you've trained it. Many people have entertainment units in different rooms. NoviiRemote allows you to create multiple entries for each type of devices so that you can cover everything in each room of your house. In addition to the virtual on-screen remote layout, you can also map the hardware buttons on your PDA to trigger certain remote control functions.

Range and Performance

The IR driver of NoviiRemote seems very strong compared to other IR software drivers. At 10-15 feet range we can get great performance without any hardware enhancement. The performance has been very smooth and consistent in our extensive tests with a large selection of equipment. There is a small-animated icon on the NoviiRemote interface that helps you see if the IR signal was sent to the device, and in general you will need to keep your PDA's IR port in the line of sight of your entertainment device. One downside of a software program is that it's at the mercy of the hardware IR power. While most of the new PDAs have pretty strong IR power, some of the older models might not be as good.

NoviiRemote supports a large number of Palm and Pocket PC devices, but there is a short list of PDAs this software doesn't support yet. Make sure that you check the requirement list on web site.

Some Tips for the best experience

-Make sure your entertainment devices can see your PDA's IR port.

-NoviiRemote works quite well with most entertainment devices, but if you have a device that keeps giving you trouble, try using the Double Mode for the learning process.

-Make sure that you see the IR icon animating when you click on a button.

-If you can't find the codes that came with the NoviiRemote and you have lost your original remote control, you can send in a request to NoviiMedia. They will even help you find the codes.

Price: $24.99

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