Perhaps you know that guy, the one whose love for sports has eclipsed nearly every other aspect of his life. He has two TVs in the same room because he needs to watch different games simultaneously. The largest credit card bill he’s ever had was a ticket for a sporting event. He’s the star of almost every beer commercial ever made. Heck, if you’re reading this, perhaps you are that guy.
The ESPN Ultimate Remote is a remote control tailored exclusively for that guy. Unlike a regular remote, a mere tool (to him) for flipping through various forms of sports entertainment on TV, ESPN’s Ultimate Remote is like a handheld sports command center, cramming every ongoing intricacy of the sporting world into one all-powerful scepter. It uses a Wi-Fi connection to deliver sports news, scores, game updates, box scores, standings, fantasy leagues, stats, schedules, and more onto an embedded LCD screen in real time.
Not surprisingly, the mundane black design of your average television remote has been given a radical makeover for ESPN’s revamped version. Swathed in metallic red as a warning sign to the ladies of the house that it should not be used to tune to Dancing With The Stars, the Ultimate Remote features a 2.2-inch color LCD screen dominating its upper portion, with a rather petite numeric keypad and other controls down below. Although it’s a full 7.5 inches long, in a more compact form it could definitely be mistaken for a modern cell phone.
The hardware running the Ultimate Remote makes it a sort of remote-control-PDA hybrid. It pulls off all the usual functions of a universal remote, including controlling TVs, DVD players, DVRs and other equipment, but there’s also enough computing equipment inside to run a specialized version of Microsoft Windows.
This powerful PC-like backbone gives the flexibility to function above and beyond its sports-inspired design. While you could use it to check the score on one basketball game as you take in another one on ESPN, you could also use it to check the weather before heading outside, or to thumb through a few news headlines. You can even browse the Web and send text messages or e-mail with it.
Although the Ultimate Remote ‘s Internet connection makes the a multi-tasker, it also helps improve the TV-watching experience by offering full-featured TV listings right on the remote. This not only eliminates the need to pay for a cable box (and service) that does the same thing, it also makes it possible to see what’s on other channels without disturbing the one you’re watching. And since the listings it uses are culled from the Web, and not from your television service provider, it will work with any form of cable or satellite, and even regular old broadcast stations.
All this functionality rings up for $300, a price right on par with other high-end remotes that offer similar versatility. If you still have trouble justifying that money for a remote control, just remember that it’s still a relative bargain next to Super Bowl tickets (of course, watching the score pop up on a two-inch screen might be different from being there in real life). More information on the ESPN Ultimate Remote can be found at the ESPNRemote.com and Amazon, the sole retailer for the device.