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AVForums Smartphone/Apple iPad/iPod Touch as a Controller Thread

Discussion in 'Streamers & Network Music Players' started by amcluesent, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    There's a number of applications available for PDAs, the iPhone and iPod Touch which will control music streamers. No doubt more will be released via the iTunes Store!

    This thread is to discuss the applications for the benefit of those considering using one of the paid for applications or the free products from Apple and Sonos.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  2. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    Squidgy V1.1 £4.99 - Controller for Slimdevices Receiver, Boom, Transporter and Classic.

    Automatically found my SqueezeCentre to synchronise with and it's as fast to use as the Duet Controller due to the caching.

    It has Genres as a menu choice which is essential for me and the search is OK.

    It presents the 'Listen Again' options from the BBC "iPlayer" plugin quite well.

    Other annoyances - after restarting, the default player is the first in the list (if you have more than one) rather than the last used.

    The app doesn't use the hardware volume buttons on the iPhone, you have to get to the slider on the 'now playing' screen which is horribly unresponsive and you're as likely to hit the 'Off' button.

    There's also a bug in the 'landscape' view of albums which causes it to crash out.

    V1.0 is really only for the keen, UI improvements and the bugs need to be shaken out IMHO.

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  3. davepuma

    davepuma Well-Known Member

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    Should be a good thread. I've just ordered an 16gb 1st gen itouch, primarily to act as a remote for my living room SB3. Just trying to decide whether to go with a SBR for the bedroom (replacing softsqueeze) and configuring it via PC or another SB3. I don't suppose if anyone knows if a SB4 is on the horizon!!?

    I've been following the progress of these apps over on slimdevices and will prob go for all 3 to see which one is best for my needs. Looking good so far, just some niggles to iron out with v1.0 by the looks of things.

    Edit - Got to find a cheap charging dock as well, any suggestions?
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  4. crobo

    crobo Active Member

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    Can you just confirm this to a beginner: you mean you can use an itouch to control an SB classic? This would be good because the Duet has the nicer remote but is a lot more cash.

    If this is true, is it easy to configure the itouch to do this?
  5. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    >you can use an itouch to control an SB classic<

    Yes, so long as you have a wi-fi access point for the iPod Touch to connect to.

    >is it easy to configure the itouch to do this?<

    Hence this thread...:thumbsup:
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  6. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    iPeng 0.5 £0 - Controller for Slimdevices Receiver, Boom, Transporter and Classic.

    iPeng 0.5 works as a plug-in to SqueezeCentre and provides a custom-formatted web-interface to the Safari browser in the iPhone/Touch. The downside is that the speed of page display is limited by the rendering of Safari and there's no pre-load of album art etc. Of course, Safari has been known to crash out too...

    The good news is that being browser based, other plug-ins to SqueezeCentre are integrated such as CustomBrowse which provides selection by Composer for example. But sometimes iPeng hasn't skinned a page, and you drop back to the basic SqueezeCentre UI.

    Multi player support/synchronise is available.

    Good enough integration with 'Listen Again' on the BBC iPlayer plug-in.

    Local playback is possible, but not of FLAC or APE format which aren't supported on the iPhone/Touch.

    The soon to be released application version of iPeng should address the display speed issue. Hopefully the other benefits of integration with server plug-ins won't be lost.

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  7. Fulltopuk

    Fulltopuk Member

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    Great thread

    I saw the air remote at Cedia and thought it was the bees knees, but nothing has come of it since. Anybody know what happened?

    Cheers

    Fulltopuk
  8. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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  9. Autopilot

    Autopilot Active Member

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    I see iPeng is now in the app store, and it seems to be getting very good reviews.

    Tried it yet Amcluesent or anyone else yet?
  10. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    I was out last night so haven't had a chance yet. Maybe later today, need to upgrade my Duet first.

    Did you get an iPod Touch yet? Or are you waiting to see the feedback first?
  11. Autopilot

    Autopilot Active Member

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    Cant make up my mind, get a touch in the crazy after xmas sales or wait a bit longer and get an iphone. Not sure yet, depends on how cheap touch's get.
  12. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    Apple one-day sale on Friday, it will 'probably' be the best prices you can get this side of xmas.

    Which one to get depends on how you plan to use it. iPhone, as well as requiring O2, also isn't good to share. You wouldn't want a visitor to be using your 'controller' and read your txt messages.

    I wasn't that taken by either Touch or iPhone until my eval unit arrived and it's grown on me very fast. The iPod touch is considerably lighter and thinner than the iPhone so I think it's more suited to a dedicated controller. It's looking very likely to be on my xmas list right now.
  13. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    Some screen shots of iPeng as an app. £5.99

    First impression is that the UI is more intuitive to use than Squidgy, pretty much everything works as you'd 'expect' it do, i.e just touch artwork to start playing. There a neat way of changing from play, play next, add to playlist. The UI to sync multiple players is there too and you just tap on the player name to switch focus to that player.

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2008
  14. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand Active Member Assured Advertiser

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    We now have the iPod touch and Sonos CR100 in the bedroom - 'typing' with the touch is neat (though you do have to take your time to ensure you avoid too many false selections).

    Setting the volume on the touch takes a bit of practice as it tends to jump up or down in larger increments than you intended.

    Longevity is a worry - the mirrored finish on the rear of the touch is looking a bit marked already and its only a couple of weeks old.

    Having a wired charger connection to the touch is not as neat as having a wired cradle.

    Having the ability to 'surf' on the touch without grabbing the Laptop is quite neat too.

    If I had to choose one unit only I'd stick with the CR100 - especially so for the bedroom where having it on its cradle and using it as an Alarm Clock adds greatly to its usefulness.

    Joe
  15. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    You'll get used to this bit, I actually find selection quicker than the CR100 now.

    You need to learn to "tap". Don't try and drag the volume up and down the slider. Instead, tap your finger either side of it and it will more up/down one click at a time. Problem solved.

    That's my main concern with touch screens. I'm a bit of a clean freak and they're always dirty. Whenever I wipe a spec of dirt off, I always end up pressing something.

    There are loads of cradles on the market for iPod touch that will avoid this hassle.

    Since I learned how to tap the volume up and down, it's a tough call for me. I won't be using the iPod in the bath/shower in a hurry but, outside of that, the Touch controller has seriously grown on me. Zone linking is easier on the iPod and so are searches. Aside from the water resistance, I'm running out of areas where the CR100 is better.
  16. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand Active Member Assured Advertiser

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    Hello ro53ben

    Agreed you can 'learn' the touch - though you don't have to learn much with the CR100.

    Going 'back' to the CR100 alphanumeric selection does feel clunkier - though it feels like less work as I don't have to concentrate so hard on typo's.

    I've not let the kids loose on the touch yet - that will be the real test of its durability; they haven't managed to inflict any damage on the CR100 so far.

    I'll have to look into a suitable wired cradle - though that's more cost so part of the argument for the touch gets lost if it's price creeps ever closer to a CR100/cradle combination.

    Joe
  17. beckford

    beckford Member

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    Really sorry for being thick but, here goes.

    What I gather here is that you can control iTunes on your computer to play through your AV system from your I-Phone or I-Touch, using a wireless network, I.E on a wireless router? Or do you need something else for it to work?

    This is my situation. I have my computer, with iTunes connected to a wireless network. Will I be able to use my I-Phone as a remote control? for iTunes?

    Sorry if that sounds like a stupid question. :blush:
  18. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    >Will I be able to use my I-Phone as a remote control? for iTunes?<

    Reckon so. The Apple Remote app is a free download from the iTunes app store, so nothings lost in trying it out. The apps being discussed here (so far) are for the Slimdevices and Sonos products; came back and tell up about the Apple Remote app.
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  19. hemel-george

    hemel-george Member

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    Yes, you should be able to use the free Apple 'Remote' app on your iphone/ipod touch to control itunes on your computer.

    You need to have the release 2 firmware on your iphone or ipod touch. This works on both the first and second generation iphone /&ipod touch.

    Once you have the Remote app on your iphone/ipod touch you will need to follow a few steps to set up the communications link with itunes. You can then use the Remote app to navigate itunes, select your music/podcast etc, and control the volume. If you have remote speakers set up in itunes, you can also control these from the Remote app, and have the same music played on any or all of the remote speakers.

    In use, the response time is quick, and as the communication is using your wireless network, no line of sight is required. You can control the itunes on a computer in another room.

    The Remote app can also be used to navigate and control the playback of music on an Apple TV - so it can be used without the TV being on.

    Note, that the Remote app does not stream music to your iphone / ipod touch. I believe there are other ways to achieve this if you want e.g. an app called simplify, but that involves running another server on your computer.
  20. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    Yes, you just install the free Apple remote app on your iPod Touch and then open iTunes. Your Touch should them appear on the device list and needs to be authenticated with a 4 digit PIN.

    The iPhone then looks for your music library and, in my testing just now, it fails miserably. Shortly after the failure iTunes (on the PC) prompted that my iPod touch was now available to control iTunes. I clicked OK and the music library appeared on my iPod touch.

    Browsing it fast and album art loads promptly.

    I selected artist Oasis, album "Definitely Maybe" and then click Track "Live Forever". The playback screen appeared, the album art appeared as a backdrop and then...an error message "An unknown error occurred. Please check your library and try again."

    On the PC, iTunes has loaded up that album into the track listing, selected Live Forever and has attempted to play it. It's failed though. Pressing play again doesn't achieve any better results. At this point I realised I'm running iTunes on my server machine that doesn't have a sound card and playback is impossible, lol.

    It would work pretty well if iTunes did too and I could output the sound to the local PC speakers or remote AirTunes speakers.

    All it needs is better error messages, e.g. "error - no sound card" :)
  21. hemel-george

    hemel-george Member

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    Just noticed your comment about 'needing something else'.

    If your computer is close to your AV system all you will need is a cable to connect them.

    If your computer is in another room, you can use an use an Apple Airport Express unit close to the AV system. This is a small device which plugs directly into an electrical socket and connects to your network either by wire (ethernet cable) or by wireless signal.

    Itunes sees an Airport Express on a network as a set of 'remote speakers' which can be streamed to using something Apple calls Airtunes. The streamed music is output by the Airport Express through a dual use 3.5mm socket.

    If a normal stereo 3.5mm plug is used, the Airport Express uses a built in DAC to convert the digital signal from itunes into an analogue signal for the audio line in on an amplifier / boom box / set of powered speakers. If a 3.5mm optical digital plug is used, the Airport Express outputs an optical digital signal which can be decoded by a suitable amplifier or separate DAC.

    An Apple TV unit is also seen by itunes as a set of remote speakers, so music played in itunes on the computer can be streamed to the Apple TV and played on a connected TV / or stereo system. I don't have an Apple TV , so maybe someone who does can expand on this.

    By the way, the Airport Express also has a USB port on it which can be used to set up a USB printer as a 'network' printer, but this is something I haven't tried.
  22. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand Active Member Assured Advertiser

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    Just been prompted to update the Sonos/iPod touch App - the update is to fix the volume control function.

    No more tapping required!:thumbsup:

    Joe
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    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  23. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer Active Member

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    Me too. Did mine this morning. :thumbsup: to Sonos for releasing a fix so quickly.
  24. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    Given the amount of time it takes an app to clear through Apple's checking procedures, this must have been submitted days ago. Sounds like Sonos got a fix for this out pretty much the same day it was discovered.

    Great service! :smashin:
  25. davepuma

    davepuma Well-Known Member

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    Arrrggh, Argos :censored: up my order for a 1st gen touch and now they have none left. I might just pop out and get a 2nd gen. Other than the volume control on the side, are there any other significant differences? Should I just get a 2nd hand 1st gen from fleabay? I wouldn't mind but I've already bought one of those Zagg cover things for it! I suppose as I already have an ipod video, I won't be using it as a player so won't need it to dock in the bedroom or car (Thanks apple!) but would have liked to have it on some form of charging station other than connecting to the PC. Apple need shooting for this particular new feature!
  26. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    The only other significant difference that I am aware of is that the 2nd Gen has built in speakers, used for the speakerphone on the iPhone. They're not particularly brilliant on mine, but they work.
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  27. trailer

    trailer Member

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    Just get one of those mains to USB adapter plugs and use the the lead you use for connecting it to your PC.
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  28. ro53ben

    ro53ben Member

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    It is a little bit fussy, not every adapter I have tried works successfully so far. I do have mains chargers that work, but certainly not all of them.
  29. trailer

    trailer Member

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    The Atv can stream music like the AE or you can play off its own HD. You just synch it up with your iTunes on your PC and it will mirror your iTunes on the PC or customise it to suit. You can also select multiple speakers, so you can play off the PC's speakers and the Atv/AE at the same time if you want to.

    The latest Atv firmware now lets you control the volume using the Apple Remote app if you play directly off the Atv aswell.
  30. sneeks

    sneeks Active Member

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    I use Remote on my iPhone with my Apple TV and Airport Express. The latest ATV update enabled it to be a standalone AirTunes player without the need for a Mac or PC to be on and connected to it for streaming to the Airport Express. Excellent system and highly recommended. I bought my 160gb ATV from the Apple Refurb store for £189 delivered.

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