The bane of any home entertainment system is the multitude of remotes that you end up with. One for each device, which adds up to a minimum of three if you have one for the TV, one for the AV receiver, and one for a disc player of some kind. Add in a cable PVR or Apple TV and you’ve got a coffee table littered with remotes.
Enter Peel. Designed by a group of former Apple engineers, Peel is an iOS app and a hardware IR blaster ‘fruit’ that sits on your coffee table. Through your iOS device you control all your AV components, and the Peel fruit ‘learns’ each of your devices, and then takes care of the rest. No dongles to attach to your iPhone, as communication to the Peel fruit is done through a small transmitter connected to your Wi-Fi router.
Initially offered directly through Peel’s own website in a pay-what-you-want pre-order promotion, it is now available through the Apple Store for $99.95. Just this week, Peel announced that they had received $16 million in funding, and will be expanding their offering to more mobile platforms and retail locations.
Not only does the Peel app give you control over your home entertainment system, it also offers a content guide so you can just find a show that you want to watch, tap it, and begin watching it. Over time it will learn the shows that you like and recommend shows based on your watching patterns. Peel also hopes to add more social features to the app as well.
While universal remotes like the Logitech Harmony have been around for a while, the promise of a remote that lives on your iOS device (without having to attach something to it) has been just that, a promise. With the Peel app and fruit, it looks like the solution is here.