As a lazy dad who believes that the invention of the remote control is truly proof of God’s existence and New Testament beneficence, we had to try the Griffin Beacon. Griffin Beacon, using technology from Dijit, turns your iPhone or iPad into a universal remote control.
This is a trick that is harder than you might imagine. Griffin had to create a piece of hardware that sits in your living room and needs to pair with your phone over Bluetooth. The Beacon has all major hardware codes within it, allowing your phone to talk to the DVD player, PVR, TV, Cable box without an IR transmitter.
In practice, the Beacon works pretty well, though you might not want to throw out your main remote quite yet. In our experience, we found it a bit cumbersome on the small iPhone screen and while we liked having a universal remote, we gravitated back to our simple Comcast remote for ease of use.
Additionally, sexy features like a functionality to view our Netflix queue, still don’t yet integrate with actually viewing movies on the device or controlling the Netflix feature on our devices.
Still, Griffin is onto something here with their partner app developer, Dijit. Clearly, this app gives us all a taste of Dijit technology is in development and future updates will make the app far stronger, especially when it runs on iPad with more screen space.
Set up after you get the Bluetooth pairing down is very intuitive, making adding components a snap
Online program guide is good and future iterations will allow complete integration with social media. This is just the beginning for Dijit and Griffin.
You’ve got one more little device (the Beacon) on your coffee table, and while unobtrusive, it’s another piece of clutter
The Beacon uses batteries which will need to be replaced under heavy use
You have to click the Beacon if you change devices, say to your wife’s phone or to the iPad
Our recommendation: Postpone purchase until you download the app and see what you are actually getting since the sizzle may pull you in before you understand the current limits. Even so, we think this technology has legs for the near future.
Griffin Beacon Specs