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. We use it for sending and receiving messages, keeping up to date with our social media accounts, checking the latest news or weather forecast, deciding where to go (and working out how to get there), stalking our friends (and former-friends, & enemies!), watching video, listening to music, playing games, and more! So how about replacing the pile of remote controls most of us have on our coffee tables and using your smartphone or tablet to control your audio-visual equipment?
If you want to use your smartphone or tablet to control your audio-visual equipment, then one solution to your problem is a relatively simple device which we generally refer to on the ReallyCleverHomes website as an IP controller.
IP controllers – the basics
IP controllers are devices which are capable of receiving instructions from an app installed on a smartphone or tablet and re-transmitting that instruction somewhere else. They generally consist of the following main elements:
- An electronics module – which connects to your home computer network, receives the signal from an app installed on a smartphone or tablet and re-transmits that instruction somewhere else.
- One-or-more outputs which connect to the devices you want to control – that might be an infra-red (remote control) connection, a serial (RS232) connection, or a contact closure (on-off) connection .
Advantages and disadvantages of IP controllers
- One of the main advantages of IP controllers is that they can be used to address each of your audio-visual devices separately (thereby overcoming one of the disadvantages of remote control extenders).
- The main disadvantage of IP controllers is probably the fact that installation is not ‘plug-and-play’ to anything like the same extent as it is with remote control extenders. You will need to connect the IP controller to your network and set up the app on your smartphone or tablet – though neither of these is particularly difficult.