iPhone AV Review: Griffin Beacon Universal Remote Control with Dijit Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: Strong IR signal and Bluetooth is easy to use, awesome software with TV Guide, Netflix and social networking element.
What's Not: No native iPad version for the software yet.
Griffin Beacon Universal Remote System is an integrated Bluetooth and Infrared receiver in one that allows you to control all of your AV gear with your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. The Griffin Beacon has a table-top IR blaster and connects to your iDevice via Bluetooth, so it eliminates the need for any dongle or case for your iPhone or iPad, and you can use your iDevice anywhere within Bluetooth range and aim at any angle that's the most convenient for you. The Beacon uses Dijit Media's excellent universal remote control software that has integration with TV Guide and Netflix. In a nutshell, the Griffin Beacon with Dijit is the most advanced universal remote control for iDevice currently on the market.
Compared to several remote control solutions for mobile devices, the Griffin Beacon takes a different approach. Instead of making things small and portable for your phone, the Griffin Beacon gives you a table-top device that frees your iPhone from any plug-in device or jacket. The Beacon had built-in Bluetooth and can pair with your iPhone, iPod or iPad and that?s all you have to do to turn your iDevice into a universal remote control.
Pairing is quite easy on the Beacon. The dark red translucent cap on the Beacon houses the integrated Bluetooth, and when you push it down, it will put itself into pairing mode. Use your iDevice find and pair with the Beacon, and you are ready to use the remote. If you need to pair with another device, just press the cap down again to put it in pairing mode. The Beacon also houses an Ifrared blaster that can see 180 degrees in the front within 30 feet. So you have lots of room when you decide where to place the IR blaster.
The Beacon comes with 4 AA batteries that power the device and it has auto sleep and auto reconnect feature that works pretty well. The biggest change you will notice if you?ve used an IR dongle as remote control before, is that you can use your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad in any position you wish without aiming it at your AV gear?s IR receivers. One thing to note, the IR blast doesn?t work RF supported devices.
The Griffin Beacon couldn?t have provided a complete remote control solution without the Dijit Universal Remote software. The software currently supports iPhone and iPod resolution natively and runs on iPad in 1x and 2x mode. The app is free and it provides remote control codes for all AV components that the Beacon supports. They include TV, DVD/BluRay players, cable boxes, DVR, game consoles, home audio systems, audio receivers, DTV and many more. The software allows you to create remote control profiles for each room you have AV gear in, and has remote codes for most brands. The set up is super easy, and the interface is intuitive. In addition to the usual remote control buttons, the Dijit remote software has a touchpad like navigation pad for devices like DVR or DVD player where you need to move forward or backward during a show, movie or track. We find that the Dijit Universal Remote software works better than many hardware universal remote controls that come with our AV boxes, and enjoy the convenience of using our iPhone or iPad without having to aim at the AV devices. The only thing we couldn?t find is the control for HDMI input source on our AV receiver, the same problem we had with the Vizio remote control software that came on the Vizion 8? Android tablet.
As with many remote control software, Dijit Universal Remote software has TV guide integration. You can get today?s TV listing as well past two days and future 4 days of listings as well. The guide is very easy to use and has built-in quick instructions to help you use it. When you tap on a show, you can see more info about the show, what other people are saying about it on Facebook or Twitter, add your own comments, info on cast members and future episodes and run times. The guide provides a quick and easy way to get the most essential information about a show and tie in social networking element as well.
If you use a BluRay player to stream TV or movies from online source like Netflix, you will enjoy the Beacon even more. The Dijit remote control software has integration with Netflix where you can see your Queue, play the titles in your Queue and control the progress of the movie or TV show. In fact, Dijit gets all the info Netflix pushes out to your BluRay or mobile player including Recommend for You and categories you mostly watch.
The third feature in Dijit Universal Remote comes from Dijit Media. If there are shows that you want to keep track of but don?t want to hunt them down on the TV Guide, Dijit lets you put the shows on the My Shows list. They will track the shows for your and lets you know when they are on.
If you are looking to get rid off all your AV remote control hardware and free up your coffee table, take a look at the Griffin Beacon with Dijit. The IR device is small and works with any AV gear within 30? and 180-degree directions. It?s super convenient when you don?t have to aim your iDevice at the AV boxes, and the built-in Bluetooth is easy to use. The large selection of supported devices and complete TV listing from Dijit Universal Remote software give the Beacon the brains to replace all your AV remotes. The Netflix and show reminders are very nice add-ons. We wish there were a native iPad version and HDMI input control.