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Philips' iPod-friendly universal remote

In addition to controlling six devices in your home theater system, the Philips SJM3151 controls a docked iPod--and mirrors its screen on the built-in LCD.

Philips SJM3151 iPod Remote with Docking Station
The Philips SJM3151 controls your iPod--and your other home theater gear as well.

It's easy to hook up your iPod to any home audio system, but finding a good remote solution--one that doesn't require you to scurry from the sofa to the stereo every time you want to change a song--is a bit more of a challenge. Personally, I'm only interested in those that let me completely browse the iPod's music collection: the DLO HomeDock Music Remote, Belkin TuneSage 2, and Keyspan TuneView come to mind.

But why clutter the coffee table with yet another remote? That's where the Philips SJM3151 comes in. The remote does double duty as a standard six-device universal remote and a full-service iPod remote, complete with a built-in LCD screen that mirrors that of a docked iPod. Based on the Philips SRU9600, the remote can be programmed to control via infrared the usual bevy of home theater gear--TV, cable/satellite box, DVD player, AV receiver--but it also uses the Zigbee RF wireless standard to communicate with the included iPod dock at distances up to 300 feet. That means you could have the music cranked up a couple of rooms away and still be able to navigate to a new song, artist, or album at the touch of a button.

Look for the Philips SJM3151 to hit stores in the fall of 2007 for $180. For those who wish to control PC-based music files instead, a similar version that ships with a USB dongle instead of an iPod dock is also expected.