Review: Unify4Life BlackBerry AV Remote

Unify4Life BlackBerry AV Remote
By Robert Kao on 18 Nov 2008 11:53 am
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What is Unify4Life?

For those of you that have not heard of Unify4Life, in short, it is a company that is transforming your BlackBerry into a universal remote control for your AV equipments, garage doors, lights. Anything you need a remote control for Unify4Life wants to be there to help you control it from your BlackBerry. Unify4Life’s immediate offering is an AV Hub that talks to your BlackBerry via Bluetooth and talks to your AV equipments via IR (infrared).

The Unboxing and Hardware Setup (or lack of)

The Unify4Life AV Hub comes in a sleek black box, making a great gift box set. When I first got it, I couldn’t wait to open the black box up. In side the box is the actual Unify4Life AV Hub itself along with the power cable. Perhaps I missed it when I first saw the presentation at WES back in May 2008, I thought the setup was going to be a major pain due to all the spider wires that I would have to stick on to all the infrared ports on my TV, DVD, Sound system…etc. Boy-o was I pleasantly surprised to find out that the AV Hub itself can communicate with all my AV equipments via IR without setting up spider cables. Sweet!

Unboxing!

Really, all I had to do is find a good place where the AV Hub has an unobstructed view to all my AV equipments and then plug in the power cable, and voila, I’m done with the hardware setup. As I previously mentioned, you can have spider cables setup so the unit sits right beside your AV equipment and the AV Hub sends signals via the wired spider cables.

More Unboxing Fun!

The Hub Connectors

Configuring My AV Equipment

If you are one of those people that save all the manuals you get from TVs, DVD, satellite and cable boxes, then configuring AV equipment on Unify4Life’s owner website is going to be cake. As for me, nope, I am definitely not one of those. What exactly do you have to do to get your AV setup? You need to know the type of equipment (easy as pie), maker the equipment (not tough), and exact model number. The last one was a bit tough. I had to go to lengths and open up the back of my AV center and track down the model number for my TV, Cable Box, DVD player, Amplifier.

Just to be fair, the Unify4Life’s owner website is still in beta form when I tested this in early October. Also, I have since then spoke to Unify4Life and they will have search functions to make setting this up a lot easier than what I went through.

Website Showing my AV Device

A “minor” feature request from the dev team at Unify4Life: If some how I can point each of  my AV remotes at the Unify4Life AV Hub and it “learns” about the AV Equipment that way, it would be make the setup grandma-proof (no disrespect to Grandmas every where).

The Test Drive

I think the following says a lot about the product “value proposition”:

When I showed the Unify4Life TV Listing to my father, he was very impressed that he can search through the TV Listing for the show that is coming on within the next six hours by keywords and phrases, and when my father has found the shows he wanted, he can either change the channel right from the BlackBerry or he can schedule it so the BlackBerry Calendar reminds him when the show of interest is about to come on. People, this is the end of aimless channel surfing as we know it (unless you actually enjoy wasting time surfing through channels without knowing what you actually want to watch).

Now, you might be wondering, is the TV listing local and current? You bet. Now, I don’t live in a small town in the mid-west but rather in a small town in the “Tri-state area near NYC”. What I do know is that Unify4Life subscribe to a 3rd party feed and that 3rd party’s only job is to get the TV Listing feeds right, so I wouldn’t worry.

When I started using Unify4Life, I noticed that can control each of my AV equipment individually using the Unify4Life BlackBerry application. For instance, I can go to my TV control area and change the volume of the TV, change the input source. If I go to the cable box control area, I can change the channel, see tv guide from my cable service provider (not that I would since I can search through Unify4Life’s TV Listing – see above). Likewise, if I go to my DVD control area and control my DVD player. But what if I’m watching a movie that I just got from Netflix and I want to change volume on my amplifier but also control DVD player at the same time?

Unify4Life is one step ahead because they already thought of that.

Unify4Life also categorize your equipment via “activities”. For example, when I am in Movies Activity mode, the screen shows me just the buttons that I would need: button for me to fast forward and backwards for the DVD player, but also the volume for my AV system.

Unify4Life BlackBerry AV Remote
Unify4Life app showing activities and my devices

Overall I think this product is a great gift for the technophile in the family, it is practical and it will literally replace all the remotes in the house. This is just me, but I have many BlackBerry smartphones at home, so one of them is dedicated to being my remote. One feature request is to allow multiple BlackBerry Smartphones to be added to the account so families with multiple BlackBerry Smartphones will entertainment need not wait for that BlackBerry to come back home.

Unify4Life BlackBerry AV Remote
Unify4Life app putting the controls that I need while I’m watching movie

I’m in the process of tweaking my setting so I can control my MacBook DVD player with my BlackBerry. Stay tune for an update to this post.

What’s Next for Unify4Life

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, Unify4Life has a garage door hub that will allow you to open your garage door using the same BlackBerry that controls your AV system. Now, some of you would say, why would I do that if I already have a garage opener in the car clipped right on my visor? Well, what if you are walking your dog or taking a walk with your family? Do you want to go into your car, get the garage opener, and likely to later forget to put it back for yourself to use the next day? My point exactly!

What I’m really excited about and can’t wait for is to control my thermostat with my BlackBerry. Having thermostat control from my BlackBerry would just make my winter months of getting up in the middle of the night to adjust the temperature a thing of the past!

To Unify4Life: hurry, winter is coming!

To find out more about Unify4Life and pre-order the AV Hub, go to www.Unify4Life.com

124 comments

vx1

now thats pretty cool,since you will never part with your bb anyways - why not be the king of your castle with it and control your tv, and everything else from your BB ! hehe woo hooo #@!

Simon Sage

Nice, mine's in the mail. :)

heavyset04

is it actually in the mail as in theyve told you it has shipped?
ive preordered one, credit card info and everything but still no shipping info.. cant wait for its release

TXBlade

From their Website....

Pre-order now to be one of the first to control your A/V equipment with your Blackberry® smartphone! Our product will begin shipping in December 2008.

http://www.unify4life.com/buy.html

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Thanks for your interest in our offering and your purchase order.

We are currently waiting for our product product to arrive from the manufacturer and expect to begin limited shipments in mid December.

Regards Mike @ Unify4Life

heavyset04

is the limited shipment first come first serve ie people who signed up a long time ago will get it?
i also noticed that there is a pre-order page (with a picture of the phone) where u can, well im guessing, be put on the wait list after giving your name and email address.. however, i stumbled across a page a couple weeks ago that said buy instead of preorder (had a picture of just the av unit) and requested credit card info and all that so i filled it out.. does that mean ill get one of the limited ones? :)

long post, sorry... really excited about this accessory tho

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Yes it is first come first serve for the limited release of our product in December.

Yes, you will get one shipped in December.

Thanks for your business and I believe your going to enjoy the product & service.

Regards Mike

Chris@unify4life.com

Hi...I just want to clarify and apologize for any inconvenience, however, your order will not be processed, as our purchasing site is still under development. We ask that you sign up for a "pre-order" unit. You will be notified when the unit is shipping. Again, thanks for your business!

Bla1ze

I soo need one of these.

kasperapd

I was wondering what happened to this accessory. I had heard so much about it earlier in the year, and then it just dropped off the radar. Thanks for the review!

Mike @ Unify

Hi... We are sorry for the delay, but we've been adding some great new features to our product that we believe add a lot of value for our customers.

In addition, we have gone thru an extensive beta trial period to insure we ship "The Worlds Greatest Universal Remote" to our customers on day 1!

Thanks for the comment. Mike @ Unify

Anonymous123

So this thing only works for the devices that are in its unobstructed line of sight? Don't garage door openers use RF signals?

Anonymous123

n/m about the garage hub question.

Berry Pickin

"As I mentioned in the first paragraph, Unify4Life has a garage door hub that will allow you to open your garage door using the same BlackBerry that controls your AV system." Seems like you get a separate unit for the garage door function.

Minh @ Unify4Life

We have a special garage door opener bridge that is easily installed. The BlackBerry connects to this bridge via Bluetooth allowing you to activate the opener.

The installed bridge does not interfere with any of the original garage door RF remotes or operations. You can also have multiple bridges yet still all selected and controlled from your single BlackBerry with our application.

Within the application, we have a cool "auto activate" feature. Clicking on this feature as you leave work allows the BlackBerry to automatically activate your opener as soon as it comes into range.

Minh @ Unify4Life

stewdaddy

I have 3 children who always loose my remote. This sounds like the fix.

Robert Kao

Yes! Having stuff all over the house, I have a hard time finding my remotes. But with BB on me, I can control the house (well, AV right now :) )

VoltaicShock

I want one of these - :P

CB should have a contest to give one away.

If you watch the trailer (http://www.unify4life.com/trailer.html)

It shows them controlling the temp from the BB.

Mike @ Unify

We'll be happy to work with Kevin to get a contest going for a new device!

Thanks for the kind comments.

Regards Mike @ Unify

Crazydude1405

Will This Be Compatible With The Blackberry Storm?

Navan

I would love one of these...since it's only me and my hubby he can have all the confusing remotes and I can just stick to my BB...oh martial bliss!

NDO

Crazydude this will be compatible with the storm.

Mike @ Unify

Hi... We are currently working on the UI for the "Storm" and will try to get it out quickly. We have just received our development platform and it will take us a month or so, but we should be good to go at CES.

Thanks for your interest.

Regards Mike @ Unify

kasperapd

I'll be looking forward to seeing your booth at CES!

chuckh0308

SOLD! They even claim you can control an iPhone with it. Talk about an opportunity for me to screw around with my S.O. while on the iPhone! :)

In all seriousness, this will be extremely helpful with the A/V system. What I really wonder is if you can get an extra box and control two A/V systems? Be nice to use it in the living room and the bedroom.

I went back and looked. They say multiple rooms, so I pre-ordered two of them so I can have a control box in the living room and the bedroom. Sweet!

Mike @ Unify

Hi thanks for the interest and questions.

You can purchase as many "box's" as you like. When you set up your account on our web site you can define rooms and those rooms will show up in the menu on the Blackberry.

Whichever room your in, just select it (as an example you may want the family room as the default but have one in your master bedroom or basement theater) and the AV equipment you list for that room will be available and you will automatically connect to the system and control the CE equipment in the room you choose.

I hope that helps and answers your question.

Thanks Mike @ Unify

chuckh0308

Thanks! I signed up for two, but I guess I can't actually do it until you get the softward out for the Storm.

imann101

I would really love this... but you would have to carry around that little IR box... may as well just use the remote. It's not like I have a fancy IR light controller or anything like that. I'd love it if the box was smaller and more portable.

imann101

alright, it can control an ipod too... its pretty cool. I just wish the box wasnt so big.

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Unfortunately we designed the product to be used in one room. The box size is relatively small (about the size of a Bold) however it's not really recommended for portable application.

Thanks for the request and we'll consider looking into a portable solution in the future.

Regards Mike @ Unify

Minh @ Unify4Life

We feel the "box" approach provides some significant advantages when looking at the typical household. Since the AV Bridge resides with the equipment, once configured, any user with a U4L enabled BlackBerry can control the devices. If a family member connects with the Bridge, they can automatically control all the equipment without any further setup. This holds true for guests, however, you must enable that feature.

This allows the personal BlackBerrys to store personal settings, such as favourite shows, channels, lighting levels, audio volumes, etc... regardless of room.

Having the AV Bridge reside by the equipment and connected via Bluetooth has the ultimate advantage of creating a non-line-of-sight RF remote. This allows the ability to connect to other rooms within the house but also, in our soon to release WiFi extension, the ability to remotely access when outside the house.

A possible answer to the mobile problem is to ensure all the places you're visting have an AV Bridge....did I mention the AV Bridge makes a great gift for all your friends and family?

Minh @ Unify4Life

mungera

Carry around the little box? Does it not use blue tooth to control the IR box? maybe i misunderstood....

Mike @ Unify

Hi... You are correct, you would need one AV Bridge per room full of AV equipment you want to control.

Thanks for the question.

Regards Mike

sunburned

It says the price is $100 for a year of service. This isn't permanent, but annual? Pretty sweet, but I don't have a garage or a digital thermostat in my apt, so I'll pass and get a logitech universal remote instead.

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Our product sells for $99.00 and includes the forst year of service.

After that, the service price is $19.00 per year.

I'll post some more information later tonight on the benefits of using our product.

I hope this helps you make the right decision.

daridgwa

Awesome, now I can make my remote ring or vibrate when I lose it in the sofa cushions!

Minh @ Unify4Life

Yes, our engineering team prides ourselves not for the feat of controlling all your equipment but for solving the age- old problem of how to find your lost remote!!!!

Thanks for this great comment!

Minh @ Unify4Life

brownie415

so do we have to connect all our products to this one little box...and how can we control the garage if the door is closed and it has to be in an unobstructable view

Robert Kao

garage door function will be via another "hub" that sits with your garage door. But all controlled from the BB.

Hope that helps.

Robert Kao

Miek @ Unify

Hi Rob correct. We'll have a very small box that will interface to your Blackberry and your Garage Door Opener that will retail for $29.99.

With very simple installation and pairing of our device to the Blackberry (just like a Bluetooth headset) you'll be able to control and program your garage door opening and closing, all within line of sight per the USA UL requirements.

Thanks for your interest in this product. Miek @ Unify

AUtigers350z

As one of the winners of the Schwag Contest on here, I received the beta version of Unify4Life about a month or so ago.

When it came in, I was very excited to get everything set up and be able to control my AV equipment via my BB. As mentioned above, the package looks very nice and professional. The instruction manual was also very easy to follow.

Before I get into the positives and negatives on this device, I must mention that I have been using my Logitech Harmony universal remote for almost a year now. Therefore, this is all I have to compare the Unify4Life to.

First and perhaps most importantly, the list of supported AV equipment is pretty small compared to the Harmony. I have a Vizio TV upstairs and since there is no Vizio available on Unify4Life, I can't control it with my BB.

Second, in my bedroom as well as my living room, an Xbox 360 is the main DVD player. The Harmony remote was made specifically for the 360 and easily integrates it into the preset actions I have set up. Unify4Life does not offer support for the Xbox 360 at this time (or as far as I could find). This makes using the "Watch a DVD", "Listen to a CD", etc. functions basically obsolete for me.

So far, the only feature I have been able to test is controlling my digital cable box. I do like the way Unify4Life integrates the TV guide. It was easy to scroll through and find a program I wanted to watch on my phone instead of having to go through the cable box. The BB interface is also very clean and easy to navigate.

Bottom Line: Unify4Life is definitely taking a step in the right direction. I believe with more device manufacturers offered and support for the Xbox 360, I could definitely be swayed to put away the Harmony.

Mike @ Unify4Life

Hi... Thanks for helping us with the beta evaluation of our product.

The reason we ran the beta program and contest was to help us create the "Best Universal Remote in the World". We believe we are well on our way to accomplishing our goal!

We now have a complete database for you (over 1M devices and 6000 brands) that covers 99.99 % of the electronics equipment out there.

We're working on the Xbox 360 interface, I'll check with our engineering etam and pst another update eon that shortly.

We'll send our final production version shortly, as a thank you for the kind comments and your help with our product development.

Regards Mike @ Unify

AUtigers350z

Awesome sounds good. I really like the way this is going, but as with any new product it can't be expected to be 100% right the first time it comes out. I understand it takes you guys lots of time and research to get this thing going and it's definitely on the right track. Keep up the good work guys.

Minh @ Unify4Life

We appreciate your participation and patience with our beta unit.

One of our key goals is to provide as much coverage of the major brands and models of AV equipment. With launch, the full list will be available including custom integration with special devices such as the Xbox 360, TiVo, PS2 etc...

Again, we thank you for your patience, and hope that you'll be happily surpised when you're able to control your Xbox 360 and Vizio TV.

Minh @ Unify4Life

sailboats

i like the attempt here but as with all "universal" remotes I think it falls a little short. This tech has been around for a very long time if you have the money to shell out you can get something that can communicate with any device in your home from door locks, lights, electronic devices, etc. Personally all the fans in my house run on remote even the heater/fireplace thing is temp controlled by a remote. Its all a matter of someone just writing the program and rigging the necessary equipment. I think unify4life does have a decent sounding product for people who want a quick fix. But I can't really be sold on old tech with the one novelty being that i am able to use it on my blackberry.

Mike @ Unify

Thanks for the comment, even though you don't feel there is a need for our product. The reason we got into it, was to try and create the Bill Gates home control system of the future but at a greatly reduced cost.

By leveraging the power, communications ability, ergonomics, display, and full QWERTY keyboard of the Blackberry we believe we are on a path to achieve our goal and make this functionality available and actually better than systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars (all for $100.00 and less depending on the module). In addition but not needing batteries for the remotes moving forward, we will also provide a positive impact on the environment.

We hope to be able to convince you of the value of our product over time, and truly believe what we're bringing to market before the end of this year will be the norm for Smartphone's in the next 4-5 years.

Regards Mike @ Unify

tech42er

The vast majority of people do not have every fan, door lock, light, and temp remotely controlled. And that's an understatement. Purchasing and installing that is either insanely expensive or a LOT of hard work. A "universal" remote control means it can control more than one A/V device; it doesn't mean it can control a home of the future where every appliance is remotely controlled. Sorry to attack you out of nowhere, but I think your criticism of this product is wholly unjustified because you're setting the bar far, far too high. This is not some inferior technology with a cheap gimmick; it's actually pretty revolutionary.

someone

I completely agree. Calling this product inferior and old technology is a complete understatement. Yes "smart" houses have been around for years now, but being anywhere NEAR this affordable is definitely new. Keep up the great work Unify!

Anonymous

What a dumb, dumb idea.

swoyekr

Have to pay for a service fee? That brings up the question, are you providing me with a service. The answer is, not really. This is a hardware device, so i don't really see the point in a subscription. Even if it's $5.00 a year. Plus, if I'm going to be requested to pay a service fee, the GUI should look sexxyyyy and run flawless. Personally, I think I'll wait for an itunes remote hack or wifi remote of sorts before I spend $100.00 + $20.00(over x years). Sorry guys.

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Our intent was to reduce the cost of a full featured Universal Remote to the point anybody could afford one. In keeping the up front costs low, we need to pay for a data feed to provide the Interactive Program Guide.

To enable the low front end cost and cover our additional costs of the Program guide coupled with maintaining the service, it is necessary for us to pass some of those costs onto our customers.

As an example, our Garage Door Opener ) product will not have any service fees associated with it (Our MSRP is $29.99) because it does not require the same type of data management.

We do believe you will find tremendous value in our Interactive Program Guide (UnifyGuide (TM) as a time saving method of finding programs that you have an interest.

Thanks for the comments and hopefully we'll eventually be able to convince you some of our offerings will add some value in your home.

Regards Mike @ Unify.

Mike @ Unify

We like to think some people will find our application useful, however we know that not everybody will find value in it. There are several compelling reasons you might want to use your BlackBerry to control various parts of your home environment and I plan on posting some of those over the next couple days.

In any case we wish you the best and believe some day you may find an interest or value in one of our offerings.

Regards Mike @ Unify

Willy12351

Now, if you can design it to send out a strong electric *ZAP* to that I can zap the elephant living in the apartment above me every time she starts grazing, well then I will buy several.

Neat gadget though.

wagonis

This sounds like a great product, especially now that you have support for 99.99% of electronics out there and the garage door opener coming in to play here soon.

My problem is I need something that I can take with me. I travel every week for work and every week i'm in a different hotel. Now, my thought about hotel remotes (warning, this is gross): hotels offer xxx movies that people rent, watch, do whatever they will and then USE THE SAME HAND TO HANDLE THE REMOTE. Yeah, like I said, gross. So I carry around my own universal remote every week where ever I go.

At first when I read this I thought my need to carry that remote was over, but reading this I see that it's not. Any chance on something like that in the future? I know my dillema is not a common one (or maybe it is now that you all read it), but I think there are others that would like to see something they can travel with.

Either way, nice product and I am a future customer.

chuckh0308

I never thought of that...lol! I don't think I'll ever be able to touch another hotel room remote again!

Minh @ Unify4Life

We completely understand your dilemma.

Hopefully in the future all the hotels will be U4L enabled and you won't have to carry our AV Bridge. Until then, we hope that our design efforts have made it just as easy to carry and use our solution to that of your universal remote. Our AV Bridge is about the size of a pack of cards and your BlackBerry is already carried with you. The setup of the solution is very simple and within minutes you should be ready to control the equipment in most hotels. If you're travelling to the same hotels, you could even preset up to 16 devices translating to 16 different locations.

With our listings features, you can change the location and provider allowing you to plan your viewing even before you get to your destination.

Minh @ Unify4Life

manderly

Wouldn't it be easier to travel with a can of Lysol?

wagonis

I use a cheap $5 remote that's probably smaller then the can of Lysol...and I know where that remote has been. :)

Guzman

hopefully they dont make it TOO expensive ... if they price it right i'll be buying at LEAST one for me, if not one for my mother also!

Mike @ Unify

Hi thanks for the interest in our product.

The current pricing structure is $99.00 for one AV Bridge and that includes the first year of our UnifyGuide (TM) service.

After that the UnifyGuide & support service is $19.99 per year.

Our GDO (Garage Door Opener) product will have a MSRP of $29.99, per Garage Door.

We have made every effort to keep our costs low, while trying to create the "Best Universal Remote in the world" for our customers.

Thanks for your interest and kind comments.

Mike

bighap

As soon as the Storm is supported I will be getting one :)

cjmjmm2006

This seems like a really nice app, but looking at the preview from the BB conference, I was under the impression that this work with no additional hardware. I would pay the $100 no problem to be a true universal remote, but its not. I still think its awesome and I will do some more research, but I was sold at what I thought it did. I was mistaken. =( Also, is the garage door opener available now?

bitrate

I love the idea of a garage door opener! I'll definitely be getting that! I hate never having batteries and losing the remote, so the AV control module is on the list too! :)

_John_

Just wanted to post some encouragement for your product I think it is a good idea. Don't mind the negative nonconstructive feedback. If it is a quality product I would definitely want it when I am able to purchase a Storm for myself. For people who have gripes about paying a subscription I am curious to whether the device would still work for changing channels etc if you discontinued the subscription and you would just lose the data services. Yes you could use a logitech remote but if you don't have that already (I don't) options like this are appreciated as an alternative.

I think using the Storm as a remote with its large touch screen has lots of potential and would be enjoyable. If you wanted a similar logitech touch screen remote the logitech harmony 1000 retails at $500 although can be found cheaper but still comes out more expensive then this option. Have other people done similar ideas? Yes. Does that mean people shouldn't put in their best effort to deliver their own quality product to compete in that field? No. If there was one area of connectivity I would request (don't know if its supported or not) I would request PC connectivity for controlling apps like popular media players (VLC, Itunes, Winamp, WMP) etc. Then it would really be the all around multimedia controller.

Lastly I leave a couple comments just to show I am not only trying to focus on the positives. Yes if you have a current logitech harmony remote it might not offer enough for you to upgrade just yet. If you own an older blackberry it probably isnt very appealing to use as an remote control. I think this product has the most potential with the Storm since the large touchscreen should allow for more customizable controls. Best of luck to you.

Mike @ Unify

Thanks for your interest in our offering.

With respect to the "Storm" we should have a great UI, however our current product using the trackball is without doubt the best channel surfing experience available today (Per-Storm) from any remote (universal or the one that comes with the equipment). We had a great time designing the UI for 8800's, Curve's, Pearl's, and the "Bold", and got very creative with respect to how a customer (and we're all customers) would interface with our product to enhance the TV viewing experience.

Thanks again... Mike

Bruce Wayne

this program sounds nice, and i can't wait to purchase it, but, in my house i have a 5 computer network set up, and i was wondering will Unify4life, work with one or all of my computers, to help you understand my question, i use one of my computers just to watch movies and shows online kinda like a DVD player..if this is possible, i'm sold...
thanks..

Minh @ Unify4Life

If your laptop computer came with an IR remote or has IR remote control capability, our AV Bridge can control it. Otherwise, we have another solution, soon to be released, that will allow you to control your PC as you've suggested.

Updates regarding this solution will be available on our webiste shortly.

Minh @ Unify4Life

meagain

Looks like an awesome product! But NOT liking the service fees.
I use a harmony remote at home and I couldn't live without it. Logitech doesnt charge me a yearly fee. How much does it cost to store a few bytes of data for a profile????
I really, really want this product but may pass due to the fees.......

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Unfortunately we have a significant cost associated with providing the interactive guide to our customers. In a world of infinite choice (1,000's of TV channels including IPTV, and mobile TV) it is going to take some time for consumers to find what they want and plan their entertainment experience. With our interactive UnifyGuide (TM) we can provide full search capabilities thru the QWERTY keyboard on your BlackBerry allowing you to rapidly find shows of interest.

Many of our beta users, claim they will never us the guide on their TV screens again.

We believe the service is a high value part of our overall product offering.

Thanks for the comment and the interest in our offering.

Mike

wcihlu

dats crazy! just yesterday i couldnt find my remote and was wishing there was a way to control my tv with my bold!! im seriously considering buying this!

manderly

I was wondering if this will somehow allow me to control things when I'm NOT at home, or is it short range IR only?

Could I program my DVR to record something that I forgot all about when I'm at work?

I noticed some comments about fans and lights, will that be doable? My ceiling fans do run on remotes (came with them) and it would be nice to be able to turn on my living room light without tripping through the room to the remove on the wall.

someone

I would love it to tell me if my garage door is open or not.. T.V. on or not. As in, if I left my garage door open during the day and I am at home ready for bed, I would love to be able to look at my BB and know if it's open, then close it. Same with the TV. Will I be able to know if the TV is on and I can just shut it off? ... the more I think about it and type this the more I realize that would probably be near impossible.. as a remote does not "know" the status of the TV.

Mike @ Unify

Hi... Stay tuned we're looking into an optional accessory for our GDO (Garage Door Opener) that can let you know if the door is open.

We'll check into the TV status, it's a good idea.

Thanks for the questions. Mike

Mike @ Unify

Hi... We will implement an add on module (We plan to show it at CES, and release it in May @ WES) that will allow the AV Bridge to remotely program your PVR.

We plan on implementing fans and lights in the near future.

Thanks for the comments and questions. Mike

dlnmorrow

OK, this is pretty nifty!
My family laughed at me when I was sitting on my bed one day, laptop in front of my chattin on BBM, scrolling thru my iPod all at the same time when I tried to turn the volume up on my TV, I pointed my BB at it (fully intending to grab the remote.
HA....in their faces!!!

sandydurst

This looks like a great product. My question is, will the regualr remotes that came with the TV, DVD player, etc still work? We have lots of family coming and going and babysitters, etc and would hate to habe the TV "disabled" while i'm out. Does U4L work in conjunction with the facotry remotes?

Thanks

Mike @ Unify

Hi.. Great question. Yes the product will continue to work with any orginal or universal remotes you may have.

Mike

sandydurst

Santa, if you're listening, this is what I want!

cadsystems

With the PS3 with no real IR support can you leverage the Bluetooth of the blackberry device to send remote codes for the PS3. Right now the only few solutions are to buy a Sony Bluetooth DVD remote, or use IR devices with a dongle hanging off the PS3 (i don't like the dongle so I wouldn't buy such a device).

MBW

I'm running Unify4Life here and one of the features that I don't think I've seen here (confession: I only skimmed) is that you can buy extra little hardware hubs (each about the size of a deck of cards) and put them in other rooms. I can work at the desk in my basement, flip my monitor to HDMI and use U4L to control my amplifier and cable box, then hit a second setup in the kitchen so I can grab a snack and the TV there will already be on and on my channel, or fire up the big screen in the living room on a third box and hit the big, comfy chair without missing a thing.

I was thinking of loading a matter transporter application to cut down on that transit time, but I think I'll wait until it's out of Beta.

STYLN

This sounds pretty sweet!!! I'll b looking into this in the New year once it's been out 4 a bit.

rulasiu

Would i be able to pair up the GDO with multiple blackberries? in my family everyone has a car and everyone has a blackberry so that would be pretty cool. Also about the A/V and GDO would it be available on amazon.com or just on your web site, and will the GDO be available before?

sorry for all the questions, whatever the response you give me im getting both of this!!

SeanGardner

I've been reading this thread and one piece of functionality that has not been highlighted is the ability to stream audio from your BB to your receiver or other audio equipment. This is over and above the primary UR function. This is done purely over bluetooth so NLOS and distance is very reasonable...

jforce

Wow, this is the first I've heard of this, but I was really hoping for it. As a true Crackberry addict, I talk up my BB to anyone I get the chance. I've said multiple times, "The next thing you know, we'll be controlling our TVs and Garage Doors with these things. Amazing! And the garage door opener feature with this comes with an "auto activate" feature!? So it opens when you get in range. Simply outstanding!

So to buy this, is it a one time charge or is there some kind of monthly payment?

srd05c

Can you use this device without the monthly service fee? And if so would the device work as normal, just not with the interactive guide feature on the blackberry?

TheReclinerJockey

I have a Pearl 8100 and I have been finding lately that the OS on my Pearl isn't new enough and there aren't any updates available for it at this time.
I would love this product because I hate trying to find the right remote for what I'm doing, but I don't want to purchase it just to not have the minimum required OS. I've looked everywhere and I couldn't find anything about it.
Maybe I just overlooked it?
Thank you!

Bob G

"manderly" asks, " ... Could I program my DVR to record something that I forgot all about when I'm at work?"

If you have TiVo, you can select programs to record from anywhere using their web site. You don't need the Unify4Life box for this.

Also, I would love to use my BlackBerry instead of my Harmony remote, but the annual fee is a show-stopper. I get great program guide information from TiVo, so I would like the option to buy a Unify4Life box without paying another subscription service. Based on the fact that several people have asked this question and "Unify4Life" has dodged it, I can only assume that their box will not work without the subscription.

However, I am very interested in eliminating my garage door opener!

7horn

Finally got over to their site and reserved one.
If this thing works out then I will be buying more thats for sure.

JavaDevelop

If all this is true, for $99 and $19 each additional year, sign me up. I'm heading over to unify4life.com to reaview the deets.

My current system at home includes:
Sony (old) SDTV
Marantz home theater receiver
RCA DVD-R
Xbox 360
Toshiba projector (for fun Rock Band gaming)
Comcast cable/DVR

I have a Wii too, but I'm not asking for miracles here.

If Unify can control all of these on the Storm (I will need two software licenses + the hardware), one for me and one for my wife.

FusionMaster

I have been reading with interest, but like many others don't need or require the program data guide. - so a subscription for something that I won't use = dealbreaker.

I am interested in the usefulness of the device and software, however is this going to be sold worldwide? IS it going to be available to us here in Australia?

Edit: I for one use mythbuntu, with excellent local program data, so IF this device and or device software could interface with my mythTV PC without having to pay for a 'service' to do so...

AND, for those that use TiVo... how about interfacing with that to scrape the EPG??
cheers
FM

Anonymous

I don't need the programing guide so after the first year which is free, is it required to pay the $19.99 in order to use it as a universal remote features?

adam4281980

I want this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

davidhp#CB

I am a recent blackberry convert/addict and since waking up to the reality that Win Mob sucks and I am limited in more ways than not with it, I converted to Blackberry with my Blackberry Storm. I am always looking for new ways to utilize the potential and fun of the storm both professionally and personally. This is the next step!

JamBaki

well time for my morning fix of some crackberry. Finally this thing out. too bad I can't afford to buy one of these. Oh well.... well to the people that can. enjoy sitting on your couch and controlling tv with your blackberry.

JamBaki

well time for my morning fix of some crackberry. Finally this thing out. too bad I can't afford to buy one of these. Oh well.... well to the people that can. enjoy sitting on your couch and controlling tv with your blackberry.

Joelie

As I understand only one bluetooth device may be connected to the blackberry at any time. If I pull into my driveway and I'm on the phone having a conversation on my bluetooth headset, does this mean it will not connect to the Garage Shadow until I disconnect the headset?

macoba

this is a sweet little device that can combine so many applications into one.

macoba

this is a sweet little device that can combine so many applications into one. hope i win

Accidental Post

That I have been looking for since the days of WinMo and PALM and now that I have 2 Crackberries this looks sweet.

jmbel13

I think this is going to take off
I have been trying to achieve the same results you get with this since hub since I got my bold and I have to a certain level but it's not a practical set up. I have bluetooth controlable electronics at home and software on my laptop to control then. I also use remote desktop manager so I control my laptop that way. It's great for kicks and to show to your friends but practical it's not. My laptop needs to be at least on standby for RDM to work, I need to use diference software for the TV and audio system and it takes a lot of time, about 7 or 8 mins just to turn on my TV and and tune up a channel.
I think products like this will become standar

check this link

http://bluetooth.com/Bluetooth/Press/SIG/NEW_iBLUETOOTHi_STANDARD_BUILT_...

spidermonkey242

This device would save me sooo much hassle. I am tired of having to pick up 3 remotes to play a dvd, change the tv volume, and play XBox... My wife would fall in love with this as well... WE need it!!

sgoodwin3

This looks like a really nice product cant wait to try it out w/ my storm.

dav1boy

like everyone else here on CR, i really want this device. this would be awesome to have and would definitely get me some cool points amoung my BB peers(friends). awesome product unify4life!

Rynac

I love this idea and cant wait to get my hands on one.

haole hula

i would love to tell you im a paraplegic and how much only having one device to help me do things in life would make it that much simpler. truth is im just a lazy bastard and this would be one step closer to doing nothing in life and still being entertained to the fullest. so im hoping to win for nothing more then being honest. thanks crackberry i truly am a addict.

bsinc

Gotta love anything that allows me to use my Blackberry more. Winning one of these remotes would be sweet.

Antofsteel

This phone would replace the 5 remotes to my entertainment system...lol I need one now!!!

JJwoooo

Wow this is an amazing thing that is put out for the BB devices...we can't wait until we can control everything with just our BB!!!!

GardenState

OMG I would love this! My kids are always losing the remote. How great would it be to control it all from my BB! Very cool!

pskipper

Just saw the video.
Hope I win one! :-)

BB_nut

The folks at Unify4life have created the most useful product ever for a integrated lifestyle, I would love one of these!!!

TuRtZiLLa

Its always with you....

fsp

I've been looking for a universal remote for a while. Almost got the new logitech one but for some reason that doesn't suit me. This is killer and cool. My BB is always with me... remotes are always elsewere it seems!

dosdad

Looking forward to the Garage Shadow too!

nemiller55

I am a habitual reader of crackberry.com and have found some great apps and accessories but I have to admit, this one stopped me in my tracks! Maybe becuase I have been researching universal remotes lately as I am tired of juggling three remotes to watch a DVD. Also my components are behind me and in a closet, because it uses the bluetooth functionality it will mean no more waving the remotes behind my head trying to "hit" the components and I am guessing allow me to actually close the closet door! But one of the most enticing things is that I will more easily able to justify to my wife what I am doing with my crackberry as she and I are spending "quality time" together. When she glares and asks if I am messing with my crackberry again I can simply say, "No dear, I am just setting a reminder for a great chick flick that is on later so you and I can snuggle and watch it!". Then I will secretly go back to texting, emailing, facebooking or one of the million other things I obsessively check! Great product, incredibly innovative, I am guessing only the beginning from unify4life.

dcmarch

Looks like a nice tool at least maybe I would be able to hang on to it. My phone is one of the few items I haven't lost.

sideshowkustoms

this is amazing since i just started using bb i love them and to own this would make my bb experience complete. crackberry ur badass

snackslapper

has anyone got this yet? i have yet to find a customer review. i know crackberry did a review, but i would love to hear from other people who have got this already. i'm excited about it, but i haven't been able to find a customer review. could someone please tell me how it has worked for them. besides one post on this story where the person is unhappy and a guy on a remote control website saying he's having some problems, is all i can find.

Music Life Soul!

Hi!
I have recently bought a Blakcberry Storm (my first Blackberry) Unity4lif looks brilliant and with my 6 remotes to control my tv/video/xbox/set top box/surround sound/Ipod dock it would seriously cut down on me tracking down and finding where the dog has left my remote!!

The thing is i live in england (is the product available for us) and im in the British Army so taking this to wherever the hell they move me to would be great! is this product for me??
would be good to get an answer from the U4L team!

Cheers Guys!

Dami1

So I got home today and saw that my unit was here. I've been so excited and have been discussing the technology with co-workers. Well... Well...

Can't get past the freakin registration! I guess the geniuses with this idea want you to input "license" on the registration page. However, there is absolutely no mention as to what this "license" is! The half way put together "manual" instructs you to go online and "USE" your blackberry pin and "serial number located on the bottom of the av/shadow". Use it to do what! Use it where?

Ok, so let's try using this serial number as the "license". Wrong, nada, nuthin, zilch! Give the people at unity4life a call? Forget it! And I quote, "we are on the line with other customers, please leave a message". Ridiculous. Nobody is home (in body or thought). I have called them 8 times!

Oh, well, I guess I will scrounge the website, packaging box, paper slips... for a number that might work. Ridiculous!

I shudder to think how well thought out the rest of this gadget is.

I've got a funny feeling the good 'ol folks at "unity" will be seeing this very unit sittin right back on their doorstep. You can bet there will be a nice little note attached requesting a full refund and a suggestion or two as to what to do with their device!

WTF do I have to "register" for anyway? I really have no use for their tv guide.

Dami1

So I got in touch with the Unify4life people. Appears there was a mix up with the e-mail which led to the problem. I found out that the license # is sent with a confirmation e-mail which I did not receive

After speaking with the representatives with the company, they seem like nice people. Seem very helpful. The guy even worked with me after hours to get the system up and going.

As for the application. I feel like it is as sweet as it sounds. Really makes you feel special to have that kind of control right in your cell phone. Still have a few things that they need to refine, but bottom line, I'm glad I bought it.