Blumoo aims to help you eliminate your remote control

Yesterday I talked about the trend we have these days to consolidate our many single purpose items into one multipurpose item.  Well, another way we're doing this is with our remotes.  We have so many remote controlled items in our home that there's a whole industry around the multifunction remote.  The best of course is the Logitech Harmony.  A great item if you have many items in your home system.

Since LG started to put the IR port in their devices it's been really nice to have the ability to control my TV functions (and others) with my hand held device (no more searching for the remote).  And I loved how the Roku TV we reviewed and the Roku 3 I have also are able to have a remote that's not IR based.  But a lot of our stuff still is based on an IR blaster.  You want to turn on the stereo downstairs, you have to go downstairs and point your remote at it (or phone, or whatever).

Enter the Blumoo... something I am surprised hasn't been around before.

It's a simple IR 'dongle' that you can place somewhere in you room, and it will connect to your phone or tablet via bluetooth.  Now, so long as you are with in BT range of the blumoo, you can send the codes to the device and it'll operate your TV... DVR, etc...

Back when I was in retail we used to sell remote extenders, but it still meant you had to bring your remote with you from the one room to the other to operate.  This eliminates that as you usually will have your phone with you.

The app for the device you set up initially to pair with the blumoo, and then it sits in that kind of 'always connected' low power mode like your Android Wear device... at least while app is running.  Exit the app and the device isn't connected anymore.

The app is actually pretty friendly.  It helps you find what device you have, and you troubleshoot through the screens to find the codes that works for that item.  Something I could trust with even my older parents to use.

I like how it lets you use swiping for navigation controls

Now it's not perfect.  I have a very old TV that has some issues, and my receiver's code doesn't have the front option "Video" selection available... but for the most part it works.

If I really wanted to get serious I could set up custom remotes and have it learn the signals and what not... what's even nicer then is that the blumoo will store those custom remotes so any other phone that you want to connect to it will share those custom settings you set up (really smart!!  I'd hate to have to set it up for my phone, my wife's, my son's, our tablet, etc...).

If that was it ... it would be pretty cool... but it goes further.

Included in the device is an audio out port that you can then connect to an amp or whatnot, and use it to stream music from your portable device into your home stereo.  Very handy.

Except that to do so you have to then tell it to 'connect' (yes, a second time) for the BT audio stream, and to do that you have to go into the BT settings of your phone... I wish it were simpler than that (potentially you could make an NFC trigger to do it ... but I'm lazy).

From there you have a few audio options to choose from, which is great, and it works like a charm.  Couple that with your remote features and you can set up the downstairs speakers to start blaring some 80's rock while you're upstairs listening to CBC!

What else is included on the cable is the option for an IR extender, because this is where it gets a little tricky.  Because everything is still IR based, you have to place the blumoo somewhere in the room so that the IR sensors can see it.  Mostly I end up placing my separate items on shelving units and it'd be hard to have it placed next to the TV and it still reach the DVD player.  So placing it somewhere near the couch area is ideal... however, it's then now hard to get the audio cable to reach to the amp...

So, you have to find a way for it to work for your room.  Tricky sometimes.

I wish that switching between remotes on the app was a little smoother, and more intuitive (if you're on your DVR remote and want to switch to the TV, you can't hit the 'back' button, you have to hit the 'home' and then pick TV.  Little things.

Also, the 'guide' feature doesn't work for me... I don't know if it's just a Canadian thing or what (I couldn't get the Shaw HDPVR option to work, so I picked Motorola... so maybe because it didn't know I'm on Shaw).

Outside those 2 issues, it's a neat little device, that if you can make work for your room, I'd highly recommend.

Source: (~$90 on Amazon)