For many of us, our smartphone or tablet has become a device that is fundamental to the way we live our lives; it is very rarely far from our hands and we tend to panic when we can’t immediately find it. So how about replacing the pile of remote controls most of us have on our coffee tables (or lost somewhere down the back of the sofa) and using your smartphone or tablet to control your audio-visual equipment?
Manufacturers of audio-visual devices increasingly provide their own app which you can install on your smartphone or tablet. For the purpose of this article I’m going to assume that you’ve checked the appropriate manufacturers’ websites and not found a suitable control app, and that the equipment you want to control is capable of being operated using an infra-red remote.
Global Caché network adapters
Global Caché produce a range of network adapters which allow virtually any electrical device to be connected to (and controlled via) a computer network. Their devices work by of receiving instructions from an app installed on a smartphone or tablet and re-transmitting that instruction somewhere else.
In order to control audio-visual devices we are primarily interested in network adapters for controlling devices via infra-red. These devices generally consist of the following main elements:
- One or more infra-red emitters – which transmit a signal to the device(s) you want to control.
- An electronics module – which connects to your home computer network, receives the signal from an app installed on a smartphone or tablet, and transmits it to the infra-red emitter(s).
Control apps for Global Caché network adapters
To control any Global Caché device you’ll need to download and install an app on your smartphone or tablet. Global Caché don’t produce an app, preferring to partner with third-party app developers (you can find a list here). One of the beauties of this approach is that you can use one app to control a whole range of devices around your home, rather than having specific apps for different devices.
Marmitek’s Invisible Control 6 XTRA SMART remote control extender
If you have read my article “How to use infra-red remote controls to operate audio-visual equipment that is hidden out of sight” you will probably have noticed that Global Caché network adapters have quite a bit in common with remote control extenders. Marmitek recently introduced a remote control extender which has its own app (which communicates with the remote control extender via Bluetooth rather than a computer network) so you can use either your remote controls or your smartphone or tablet. You can find out more about it here.