By Harry McCracken | Friday, July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am
Back, in July, I wrote about Peel, a software-and-hardware system that turns an iPhone or iPod Touch into a slick universal TV remote. It’s neat. But it costs $99.95, and involves two doohickeys–one that you plug into your router, and one that sits near your TV.
Ryz Media’s BlinQ TV has a new twist on the same basic idea–and the most striking difference is the hardware. Instead of routing commands from your iPhone over Wi-Fi into a gizmo like the Peel’s “Fruit” and then into the TV via infrared, BlinQ gives you a lollipop-shaped IR blaster that plugs into the phone’s headphone jack and lets you control a TV, set-top box, and other living-room devices with no intermediary hardware. It costs one-tenth as much as Peel: $9.99.
The BlinQ app lacks Peel’s splashy look and feel, but it performs many of the same features. You get a guide to what’s on TV now and in the future that lets you forget about channel numbers. It emphasizes the popularity of shows among BlinQ users–the popular stuff is at the top, and pop-ups (which you can disable) alert you to trending shows. Onscreen buttons allow you to adjust volume, control a DVR, and perform other tasks. You can spread the word about what you’re watching via Facebook and Twitter. (Psst: your friends may or may not care.)
I like the idea behind BlinQ. I like the price. I like some of its features. But I do have some issues with this version:
There are lots of ways to turn an iPhone into a remote control: Surc, which involves a special case, is yet another one. I continue to be a fan of the concept, but I haven’t found a specific implementation of it yet that I just plain love. Bu I’m going to keep looking…