Is there anything I can do with my iPad, or better to go with Logitech Harmony 1100?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Control & Remote Controls' started by hifiphones, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. hifiphones

    hifiphones
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    I was thinking to get the Logitech Harmony 1100, and use it's RF extender. But then again I have a iPad2, is there any simple way to use it with my equipment? (Lutron Grafik Eye, Onkyo amp, TV etc..) or a better solution would still be to get the Harmony?

    All advise is welcomed :)
     
  2. logiciel

    logiciel
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    I don't understand how or why these i things can be made to work as if they were remote controls but there's a whole thread about it just below so you should get some ideas about it from the posters there.
    If IR/RF/IR is important to you then the 900 is the alternative Harmony model for the purpose.
     
  3. hifiphones

    hifiphones
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    Just as a thought, as I have the ipad allready, migh there be any choice to use it.
    If people would suggest to use the harmony, and it would work better I will go for that then.
     
  4. clockworks

    clockworks
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    I wouldn't mind trying something similar.

    I wonder if someone could precis that thread? Make it simpler for those just starting out with iPad/iPod remote solutions. I tried reading through it, and it all became a bit much for me.

    IPad wi-fi to IR blaster (or IR extender) does sound appealing.
     
  5. logiciel

    logiciel
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    It's certainly too much for me!
    I gather that these things have touch screens like the Harmony 1100, but much more elaborate.
    For someone who already has one, I suppose it would be a good idea to add remote control to its uses.
    Don't you need a sort of computer program from the suppliers, for anything you do with them?
     
  6. clockworks

    clockworks
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    Yes, you need an app running on the i-whatever, and some fancy hardware to turn the wifi commands from the device into IR or other useful control signals. That's about all I understood from that thread.

    Using an iPad makes more sense for complex "whole house" systems, where the range and flexibility of wifi means that you can control sources in other rooms. Probably overkill for a single room system. Should be cheaper than a Pronto, though.

    I already use my iPad to control iTunes, which I've got playing out to 3 wireless devices connected to audio systems. That is very easy to do, using Apple's free Remote app. Going to the next level - controlling the AV system - will be a lot harder.
     
  7. logiciel

    logiciel
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    That makes it clearer then - it's more the equivalent of a Pronto - a different level from Harmonys.
     
  8. marshallp

    marshallp
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    The Logitech Harmony Link should be available in the UK soon, this looks like the best value for money iPad solution. Have a look on Logitech's US site for more details.
     
  9. clockworks

    clockworks
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    I'd not heard about the harmony Link, so thanks for that. Looks like it has possibilities, if they get the software working properly.

    It'd be great if the Logitech iPad app can be developed by third parties, or if the hardware could be used by different apps. The Philips Pronto software has almost unlimited flexibility for customising screen layouts, while Logitech's software is very restrictive, but easy to use.

    One thing that does concern me about using an iPad is battery life. To conserve power, the iPad shuts down after a preset time, and has to be woken up with the on-screen slider. Unfortunately, this means that it drops the wifi link, and has to reconnect each time. I can see that being a real pain.
     
  10. Sanders79

    Sanders79
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    Is there no setting to tell the iThing to maintain the wifi connection but switch off the screen? I don't have one yet but would like an iPad as part of my yet-to-be-purchased Sonos system.

    I'm surprised Logitech hasn't already released an app for iStuff/Android, it seems like a good market for them to tap with no hardware costs to worry about.
     
  11. clockworks

    clockworks
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    If there is, I haven't found it.

    It's a bit of a pain, as I currently use the iPad to control a couple of Airports Expresses using the Apple Remote app. If I leave it running (power saving disabled), it works fine, but the battery goes flat in less than a day. With power saving enabled, the battery will last for weeks (depending on actual use), but it locks the screen, and drops the connection.
    As well as having to press the button and drag the slider to unlock it, it also loses it's place in the app.

    Hopefully I've just missed something in the configuration/setup.
     
  12. Fulltopuk

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    Look at demopad.com and touch-ir.com for ways to use your IPad for Remote control. The good thing is that you can configure everything to your own design. You will need an ip to RF converter but they range from £50-£150.

    Fulltopuk
     
  13. clockworks

    clockworks
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    What's the simplest IP to RF device that can be used reliably? Ideally, I only need a wall-mounted IR blaster, as all my kit is on an open rack.
     
  14. huxley

    huxley
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    Global Caché | Ethernet. WiFi. PoE. IR. Serial. Contact Closure. make an amazing range of products, I've never had any problems with wifi being dropped on my iPad, iPhone or even my old iPod.
     
  15. clockworks

    clockworks
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    Thanks for that link. The basic wifi to IR model looks like it'd do the trick, and the price seems very reasonable from demopad. A few questions:

    Is demopad programming done on a computer, then downloaded to the iPad?
    Can it be tweaked on the iPad, or just on the computer?

    Does the Global Cache box have a blaster built in, or is it a separate box?

    Are all the IR codes stored in the iPad?

    Can you learn IR codes from the original remote via the Global Cache box?

    Is there an IR code database? Could I use the learned codes from my Pronto by cut&paste from the Pronto software into demopad?


    This is looking very tempting, as long as it doesn't turn into one of those never-ending projects. I'm OK with something like the Pronto software. Is demopad much more complex to get to grips with?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  16. Planet__

    Planet__
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    As I'm going through this at the moment I thought I try and answer some of your questions (showin in blue below). 2 months ago I knew nothing about all this :)

    Thanks for that link. The basic wifi to IR model looks like it'd do the trick, and the price seems very reasonable from demopad. A few questions:

    Is demopad programming done on a computer, then downloaded to the iPad?
    Can it be tweaked on the iPad, or just on the computer?

    The demopad design software is a free download for Windows only PC's, so you can have a play before comitting. It is the app that will cost £27.99 and can be installed on up to 4 iDevices (I think). Changes can only be made using the demopad design software. You edit your design, configure the settings for demopad on your idevice to seek for an updated profile when the application is started. You then save and send your updated design on the PC, start the app and your profile with all images and commands is sent to the idevice. You can have multiple projects on the go by editing the settings on the idevice what project name you want to load. You can only have one project loaded on the idevice at a time.

    Does the Global Cache box have a blaster built in, or is it a separate box?

    The unit I got from CyberSelect (great service btw) was the IP2IR version at £115 as I had a network point available. The WF2IR is the wifi version if no network cable is near by. In the box came the unit, 2 "unit" IR emitters which are localised emitters you stick on the IR reciever of your units and a "blaster" which has a large IR emitter for more general coverage. It's important to note that when programming demopad that you tell it what emitter to use (i.e. 1, 2 or 3). This is handy if you have mulitple sky boxes and you only want the command to go to one particular box.
    I'm not sure of the effectiveness of the blaster yet. I need it to reach my tv from 3 metres away but haven't tried this yet. It's not a nice looking thing to have on display but there are more elegant solutions available if you search (wall plate emitters for example).


    Are all the IR codes stored in the iPad?

    Any codes you program are stored in a database in the demopad software and linked to any button you associate with it. These are copied as network protocols to the ipad to execute upon button press.

    Can you learn IR codes from the original remote via the Global Cache box?

    The Global Cache box has a small IR reciever built in and GC supply a free program called iLearn that is used to obtain the IR codes for your devices. The software is easy but getting your remote and the GC unit lined up can be tricky at times but you soon learn!

    Is there an IR code database? Could I use the learned codes from my Pronto by cut&paste from the Pronto software into demopad?

    There is no GC code database that I have found but pronto codes that you find on the net can be converted to GC format very easily. Plus members here have codes for popular equipment (sky, Tivo etc).


    This is looking very tempting, as long as it doesn't turn into one of those never-ending projects. I'm OK with something like the Pronto software. Is demopad much more complex to get to grips with?

    It may very well become one of those "never-ending projects"! You'll simply get what you put into it. It's no short task for sure.
    You will have to learn the demopad software and it's shortcomings. Using the software, manual and tips on the net will help greatly. Then you'll have to consider GUI design as demopad doesn't come with any wizzy GUI designs out of the box. You should be famillar with design software (Inkscape or GIMP2.6 are very good free ones) to make your own GUI. Then it's up to your imagination!
    If however you can't be bothered with all the design work you could contract an individual or company to do all that for you, for a fee. Not sure how much it would cost but do a search on the net if that appeals to you.

    Before comitting however, think hard about using your ipad as your method of control. It's certainly powerful for the more complex tasks, but simple things like changing volume or channel, browsing the EPG of sky can irk some folk because of the loss of physical buttons. I found myself taking my eyes off the tv to look at the ipad for the right button, then up to the tv, then down to the ipad and so on! I have a solution I'm investigating to get around this (have the tv displayed on the ipad in a small window at the same time).

    I hope I've not put you off too much but thought I'd tell how it is. It's a lot more involved than the Harmony remote solutions but your end result could be well worth it. Best of luck!
     
  17. clockworks

    clockworks
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    Thanks for that very informative post. Looks like the software and hardware work in a very similar way to my Pronto, as far as making the files and loading/testing them goes. I spent countless hours making button graphics, and dragging stuff around screens to get a layout that worked for me. The actual button programming and page jumps were not too difficult to get to grips with.

    After a couple of months, I ended up with a config file that did everything I wanted, and I left it alone for a couple of years. A fair bit of the kit has changed now, so I'm faced with re-writing the Pronto config, or starting afresh with a new device. I'm prepared to put in a fair amount of time making it look pretty, as long as I can get the basics up and running in a couple of weeks.

    Does Demopad come with basic graphics to get you started?
    People used to post button graphics and layouts for the Pronto family as "galleries" on Remote Central. You could download the gallery, and then use all the elements in your own config files. Does Demopad have this ability to import and export graphics in a usable format?

    The lack of hard buttons would take a bit of getting used to. Your TV on the iPad solution sounds like an excellent idea. If it comes together, maybe you could put it up on the app store, or sell it in another way? Can you package the relevant bits of the app as a plug-in?
     
  18. ralphmalph

    ralphmalph
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    I use a NewKinetix Re with my iPhone, but it also works with an iPad. Basically you buy the ir dongle (45 auid odd) then download the app from the itunes store and away you go.

    I have not picked up my harmony since and if you are using an iPad you get a whole load more screen space to put all you favourites and devices on.

    Any questions please feel free to ask.
     
  19. clockworks

    clockworks
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    That looks like an interesting device, and probably a simpler solution. I guess it's suitability depends on the software, as well as the power of the IR emitter. I never got on with my Harmony 1000, as the software was too restrictive.

    I'll have a look through their forum.
     
  20. Planet__

    Planet__
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    It sounds like your experienced and up for the challenge! I imagine you'll have something up in no time at all. To famillarise myself with the design progam, getting codes and using the ipad I jumbled up all the necessary commands, stuck buttons on the screen and sent it to my ipad in about 5 hours on off iirc. Some bugs and usability to deal with but now I'm on to the design stage.

    It does come with some very basic graphics and sample projects available on their website to get you started. You can import your own graphics (PNG format recommended) and even configure demopad to pull "change in state" graphics for buttons from a webserver instead of the usual highlighting. This is extremely powerful! I'm using Fireworks to create my GUI, pages and change states. It's a simple matter of exporting the spliced images like a jigsaw and then rebuilding it in demopad. I'm interested if having many change of state graphics will slow the app down or not, not at that stage yet.

    Indeed it does. The tv on the ipad wasn't my idea. I saw it on an example project, wondered how it was done and forum member Porcelain Gods pointed me to the answer :smashin:. No app needed (thankfully because I don't think you can have app-in-app with apple hardware). Here's how it works - demopad has the facility to have a window (or the whole screen) to be assigned an URL to view a webpage while still in the demopad app. When in portrait mode this takes me to a tv listings website, but I'm still in the demopad app. Rather than have a website, point it to an aviosys device which is a video server of sorts. Plug your composite out from your sky/virgin box in to the aviosys, connect the aviosys to your network and it will stream the captured video. Create an url window in demopad, point it to the aviosys and there you have a live feed of your tv. It may only be composite and low res, but since it's only going to be a small window in the pad and not used for main viewing it should suffice. I'm waiting on delivery of my Aviosys device now :).

    As ralphmalph says, there are other solutions out there that use dongles of sorts and most are mentioned on this thread I'm sure. As I don't have line of sight to all of my kit I chose the global cache and demopad route.
     
  21. magnu

    magnu
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    I've got a Panasonic DMP-BDT110 & an Ipad. I've just read about the Ipad app for the Harmony Link. Will I be able to make my player region-free with Harmony Link, & if not, any other options (I've tried logging onto Firmwareinfo, to no avail, so I'm not going down that path)?
     

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