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Remote controls are so last year, or at least that's what Panasonic thinks. It's about to launch apps for the iPhoneiPad and Android devices that mean you'll be able to chuck your existing remotes out of the window, and control your home cinema with your phone or tablet instead. 

Panasonic told us that the apps would be released "soon", but we've seen the iPad version in action and photographed it for your edification. As you can see from our photo gallery, the app looks really slick.

The apps will be free and will connect to your Panasonic devices via Wi-Fi. That means all your devices will need to have Wi-Fi connectivity. If they don't have it built-in, you'll need to invest in some dongles.

As much as we loathe most remote controls, we question the practicality of using a phone or tablet to control your home cinema, especially if your devices aren't all made by one company. It could make things even more confusing than having multiple plastic controllers lying all over your gaff.

Panasonic's decision to create a remote-control app follows Sony's introduction of a similar app last year. For now, Panasonic's happy to push its iPad app, but we reckon all that will change when the company launches its Viera tablets later this year.

If you're looking for a universal remote-control app, then we highly recommend Gear4's funky little UnityRemote, which won our Editors' Choice award for being all kinds of awesome.

The controls for changing the volume and channels are large and easy to press.
The main functions of the TV are controlled on this screen. It offers 3D controls and access to the Viera Connect online service.
One of the app's most useful features is that it lets you type with the iPad's keyboard. As TVs are becoming more reliant on text input, this is very handy.
Channel buttons are presented on their own screen, for those who use them. We do wonder if the iPad app might have been better if the screen space had been used more effectively.
You can also control your recorder via the app.

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