Universal remotes have been both a blessing and a curse. Instead of having three or four remotes to lose between the couch cushions, now it’s quite common to use a single device to control the TV, cable box, and sound system. All that functionality just makes the pain of losing that remote all the more exquisite. So, it’s with some trepidation that we look forward to the universal remote of the future, which will include smart home controls, too.
Neeo is getting into the game already, with a recently launched Kickstarter. It’s certainly not the only player in the space; Logitech has the pricey Harmony Ultimate Home remote ($350), for example. Neeo’s remote looks like it will be a bit cheaper; early bird backers can snag one for $199, but once those run out, it looks like it will cost $249 for the system.
The complete package comes with both a remote and a “brain,” which is essentially a hub. It works with everything from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to Thread to ZigBee to Z-Wave. It’s that flexibility that allows Neeo to claim it works with “more than 30,000 devices,” including Sonos, Apple TV, Roku, and Philips Hue, as well as cable boxes and satellite systems. The remote will be able to turn off your lights, lock your doors, and adjust your thermostat, according to Neeo. All that is in addition to the remote’s compatibility with 55,000 TVs and 19,000 DVDs players, thanks to its infrared technology.
If you’re parked in front of the TV and want to turn down the lights, it could be handy to have that capacity at your fingertips. But if you can’t picture yourself toting the remote from room to room (especially because it has a range of 160 feet), then you can always use the Android or iOS app. However, the system supports up to 10 remotes, so that could elicit some interesting duels between the kids.
The aluminum remote has a Gorilla Glass touchscreen and apparently recognizes who’s holding it and adjusts the settings accordingly. Should you lose the remote, the app can send out an SOS. Hopefully the batteries, which last several months, haven’t run out at that point, so it can answer back.
The project already reached its Kickstarter goal and will start shipping in March. The retail price is not yet available.