How To Video: Set up a Peel Universal Remote
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How To Video: Set up a Peel Universal Remote

5:56 /

The Peel Universal Remote Control is a unique mix of hardware and software, giving you control of your home theater from your smartphone or tablet. It can be tricky to hook up and configure, though, so let Brian Cooley walk you through it.

Home entertainment remote controls, they're so antique. All those buttons cryptically labeled, too small to read, too small to get on without bumping the one next to them, and even if you do master this interface, it's a dumb device. Well, today, thanks to a nice growing friendship between tablets, smartphones and your high-def television, we can actually get to the point where you can control your TV in a way that it feels like it's part of the 21st Century and not a technology that was cool when Eisenhower was in office. I am Brian Cooley. Here's to show you how to set up the Peel Remote System for a whole new level of advanced discovery and control of your home AV System. Now, here's what you need for this How-To. First of all, an HD-TV. You probably already have that. You'll need to have access to your wireless router. This is kind of the key. You need access to the port of the back. You probably have several and it's gotta be hooked up, of course, putting WiFi around your house. Next, you're going to need the Peel Remote System. That includes this obscenely shaped thing called the Fruit and this rather odd-looking thing called the cable. Very creative. You'll also need their app which is free. You can load that up on either an iPhone or an iPod Touch, an iPad, many Android tablets and in fact, the Galaxy Tabs often come with this pre-installed but note, the Kindell Fire does not yet support it. Now, we've got all our stuff together. Let's do the set up. First off, go to the App Store on your mobile device and install and launch the Peel App. And bear in mind, we're gonna be using WiFi, as well as Zigbee Technology to put this all together. I'll explain as we go. First thing it asks you is the zip code to find your TV Service. Enter that. It loads up several choices in most areas. Pick the one that you actually have a subscription or an account with. And it will say configuring providers pulling up some channels. It will do a quick channel test to make sure it has the right program listing by asking you if you see a channel or two on your television. Go through that by saying help me pick the right channels. Once you get the basics set up, it will ask you if you want to personalize your experience. This is part of what Peel does, so I would definitely say yes, personalize. And it is gonna ask you a few questions about the kinds of shows you like to watch. And then you get to the screen that shows all these tiles of different shows. Now, you've set up the app. Now, to set up the actual hardware, hit that little gear on the top which gets you in to settings. Select set up room. And we're gonna call this room something, it's the living room in this case. Now, follow the directions very carefully. The sequence can be a little tricky here. You plug in this cable here to power first and then put the ethernet end of it into a hard wire jack on your router. This is one of my gripes with this product, you can't plug that in to a HUB or a switch elsewhere in your room. It has to go to in to your actual router and it's gotta be within about 25 feet of where you watch TV. For a lot of us, that doesn't work. So make sure you've got the hardware set up and it will accommodate these distances and that port requirement. Then, set up the cable as plugged in once you have that done. The light on the cable is gonna go blue and then green, now it's ready for the next step and that is to pair it with this thing called the Fruit. This is what talks to your TV and issues infrared commands out of this black base down here. Take off the top. Put the battery in and while you're in there, take a notice of that code right there, the pairing ID. Mine is 46395. I'll put the cover back on. And I am gonna enter that right here on this screen. Position this thing so it's aimed towards your equipment, your television, your AV rack, kinda where the big fat belly, pointing that way. That is where the infrared comes out of. And then answer the questions about brands or brand of television or other gear you have. It's gonna do a test by turning your TV on. So you turn it off with your remote and then hit this button to turn it on to make sure the codes are correct. Okay. Now, the TV is working. You continue the same process using Add New Device to set up all your other stuff, your AV receiver, your DVR, your Blue Ray player, what have you. You can put it all in here and that all goes under one room profile, living room in this case. Now, that all the gear is set up, it was a little bit complicated, I'll grant you that, let's see what we got for our effort. First of all, if you tap right there where it says the day and time at the top of the app, that will bring down the ability to flick through a wheel of day and time program listings. It's sort of a really easy to use program guide unlike that nasty one you may have on your cable box. But, the really interesting stuff comes in this little white flick wheel we have here. Under top picks for example, you see just for you, things which the Peel technology has recommended based on some of those references we put in earlier. You've got your friends' favorites in here as well because it's a social component to this. Your favorite channels you can program and your favorite shows. Along the bottom, you can search by show to find out when and how it's available. Same thing for movies and sports and you can make this thing part of your social network. That is that last tab on the right if you log in through Facebook, your friends' choices on television will start to filter in to some of your preferences and suggestions and you can let friends on Facebook know what you're watching 'cause that is what I dream of doing. Okay. Now, if you're in to this idea of really rich exploration and discovery and control via your mobile device, I commend you on that. There are other ways to do this. You ought to check out Logitech's Harmony Link which uses a remote IR blaster like the Peel or the Digit App which works through the Beacon IR Blaster made by Griffin. If you don't want something like the Fruit sitting on your table, there is the My TV Remote which uses an IR dangle that plugs in to your iPhone directly and offers similar discovery and recommendation or the really simple L5 IR Dangle that plugs in to the jack on your iPhone or iPod Touch and gives you pretty basic device control without all the discovery and recommendation part. So there are many tiers, many ways you can move your television control and discovery experience forward and do it with existing thing you own, your SmartPhone, your iPod Touch or your tablet. I am Brian Cooley. Thanks for joining us for this How To.

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