Controlling your BlackBerry PlayBook from the couch with BlackBerry Remote

By Zach Gilbert on 8 Mar 2012 03:47 pm EST

We're well into week two of exploring all the new features in OS 2.0 on our BlackBerry PlayBooks.  I am really hoping that you've had a change to try out the BlackBerry Remote feature among all the other new features to play with.

Let me paint a little picture: You're sitting on the couch having a drink, maybe even eating your favorite snack and you want to play some movies that you've bought on the PlayBook via the Video Store. In a typical tablet world you would get up (since your tablet would be tethered to your TV,) walk over and select a movie, go back and get comfortable all over again. We BlackBerry users, however, have a little BlackBerry magic in play and it comes courtesy of the new Remote feature found in BlackBerry Bridge 2.0.

With BlackBerry Remote you are able to actually control your PlayBook from the comfort of your couch. Once connected, the app mimics the PlayBook screen allowing you full control; even bezel swipes work from your touchscreen BlackBerry smartphone. 

If you are digging for that one killer feature, then I think this may be it - using your BlackBerry as a keyboard for the PlayBook. So many times I've found myself with my PlayBook connected to my big screen surfing YouTube for hours on end, swiping and typing with ease all from my Bold 9900 because of the keyboard and swipe features in the app.

Now that I've covered all the good points with the current implementation of the BlackBerry Remote, I thinks it's time I run though a few of the noteworthy limitations.  In my mind the most noteworthy would have to be the inability for you to use Remote while in games. I kind of think it would be cool to plug the PlayBook into the TV, grab a BlackBerry and have a little family time playing Uno or another card game. The second limitation is side scrolling, and it's most evident within BlackBerry App World. When RIM redesigned App World on the PlayBook they added a feature screen where you need to scroll left and right to see all of the featured application. Currently the Remote app won't let you two finger horizontal swipe to scroll left. So, while I know we already have a winner with this feature and OS 2.0 on the PlayBook. Once RIM works on the issues I've found we will have hit it out of the park with the PlayBook and the BlackBerry Remote.

Download the updated BlackBerry Bridge app

How are BlackBerry Bridge and  BlackBerry Remote working for you? Let us know in the PlayBook forums

Reader comments

Controlling your BlackBerry PlayBook from the couch with BlackBerry Remote


I posted before this, but since a broken collarbone has kept me home the PB + Torck using remote has been the only media centre I've been using.

The PB hooked to LED TV, plugged in and Wi-Fi on. I surf the net, watch movies and even manage to play some games (I agree, not all of them work great with BB remote).

I only get near my MBP to download torrents (no video rental directly to the PB here Down Under) and send them wirelessly to the PB.

If the Remote App gets overhauled to the D-pad shown on the previous post, it will cover up all bases.

And just for the record, while a two-finger swipe won't work horizontaly, pressing the trackpad or the screen until entering into "drag mode" does work for scrolling horizontally (and yes, I tried it for the App World hahaha)


Hey I'm using my Torch to control my PlayBook, my laptop, other tablets, just about any bluetooth HID enabled device. It is freaking awesome! RIM just saved me a bundle having to buy a keyboard/mouse bluetooth setup. The remote is incredible.

Thanks RIM!

Typed from my PlayBook and torch9810

Hi @edyb,

Ty from RIM here. Thanks for your feedback. BlackBerry Remote gives you two things—compatibility and control. By using your Torch 9810 as a wireless keyboard and mouse, and your PlayBook as an HD screen, the result is increased functionality and greater portability. Now you can leave your laptop behind.

For a full look at the features of BlackBerry Remote, check out this Inside BlackBerry Help Blog post that goes over BlackBerry Bridge in more detail:


Ty, RIM Social Media Team

I'm waiting for the "media-video" settings for the remote.. (like the slide < > screen) with play, pause, ff, rw, mute.. etc.. having to move the mouse icon around the screen is way to much hassle. :P

and one to do music would be nice too.. :)

..."Once RIM works on the issues I’ve found we will have hit it out of the park with the PlayBook and the BlackBerry Remote. "

who's "WE".....?

What resolution settings are you using on your PlayBook to make it fit so nice on your tv? I have a Samsung 46" lcd tv and it always seems to cut off the borders off my PlayBook while plugged in through hdmi.

On my TV, 720p@51 hz worked perfectly when OS 1.0.8 was running. I now have the same problem you describe no matter which output I choose on OS 2.0

I've settled for 720p@61 hz


I had this on my Sony too until I turned on the pixel mapping for the specific input (HDMI 2 in my case). Not sure about Samsungs but see if you can find the settings for the input.

Nice. I got a friend of mine to buy a Torch and she does presentations all the time. This last Tuesday, I showed her the Remote and went from slide to slide by just clicking my BB and she was pretty impressed.
I think we may add another happy BlackBerry user to the Playbook team.


If you have a rooted android phone, you can use BluePutDroid.

I have been using this to control my playbook since OS 1.08! Yeah, OS 1.08. While you guys were dreaming of this feature, it was reality for me. Check youtube for a demo video from the author of the program who used it with a playbook OS 1.08.

Keyboard control using Android keyboard. Full mouse support including gestures (two finger tap and hold for gesture control).

The software is actually more generic as it is supposedly turns your phone into an HID device. Android doesn't natively support this so that is why you need to be rooted and it also hasn't been tested with all devices so it may or may not work for you. You need to check the website for the list of tested devices.

AirPlay works really well, use it on my iPad all the time, but it's nice not having to buy a $100+ accessory device to make it happen.

Not sure why it's not listed or nobody anywhere, but my mkv movies due now play on my Playbook. only have 6 or 7 mkv movies, but they all due play. Note, with 1.08 they did not.

I definitely love the bridge app! It is a shame really that this feature is not getting that much attention in the mainstream media. Probably almost all non-blackberry users in the netherlands do not know this killing feature.

I still need to fix myself a micro hdmi cable to truly experience the Power of Blackberry Bridge!

Though, I am missing how the presenter mode worked in 1.0.8 and now it doesn't. Thatd be a nice thing to have back and pinch to zoom would be sweet although the more I think about it the harder it seems to implement

Does someone know if there are steps posted somewhere to let you know how to hook this up to your tv? Looked in the forum but maybe I am searching wrong.

Honestly... while i think this is a great enhancement..what RIM needs to do is get DNLA enabled . I currently have my ipad and apple tv..and having the ability to wirelessly connect to my tv and use my device is amazing. I do love the ability to type on my keyboard instead of the playbook though.

The one thing I am missing so much is the zoom capability of non touch screen trackball models.. like the bold 9000 ///

BOLD 9000

Can anyone tell me if they have successfully used the "share on" or the "open on" feature? i tried with opening the link, it worked. when i try with picture it doesnt work!
can anyone tell me whats the issue?

I couldn't use open on with 1.0.8 but once I upgraded to 2.0 and rebridged, all was well. Try delelting and re adding your phone to the PlayBook.

Remote is great but u could also grab a 15ft type d hdmi from china on amazon for 7 bucks lol.....

Which doesn't work well for presentations. Or where the dog likes to wander round the living room.

Given that the new iPad really adds nothing new, I really can't understand why RIM isn't promoting this capability heavily. It is a genuine differentiator, and emphasises the tight integration between phone and tablet.

It's easy to swipe on the BlackBerry Bridge Remote:

Just press and hold on the touchscreen and it will switch to 'drag mode' until you tap the screen again.

So, that's one thing fixed already!