Blumoo Universal Remote Control System

01
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Blumoo Eliminates The Need For All Those Remote Controls

Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Packaging - Front View
A Front View Photo of the Packaging for the Blumoo Universal Remote Control System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Home theater has certainly given us more and better options for enjoying home entertainment. However, it has also given us the clutter of remote controls. Many of you probably have a half-dozen or more remotes on the coffee table. Although there are many "universal remotes" available, not all of them are truly universal and often times they are just too complicated to use.

However, what if you could just replace all of that remote control nonsense with your smartphone? Well, the Blumoo Control System may be just what you are looking for.

Shown in the above photo is how the Blumoo packaging looks upon purchase.

02
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Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - What Comes In The Box

Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Package Contents
A Photo of the Package Contents for the Blumoo Universal Remote Control System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown in the above photo is a look at what comes in the Blumoo package. Starting on the back is the Blumoo Setup Guide. Moving forward, from left-to-right is the Blumoo Home Base, Analog Stereo Audio Cable, and AC Power Adapter. In addition to the physical parts, a required downloadable app is provided that is accessible via a compatible smartphone or tablet.

Here is a rundown on Blumoo's features:

1. Control - Using a compatible iOS or Android device (for the purposes of this review, I used an HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Smartphone), Blumoo provides an app that has access to over 200,000 home theater and home entertainment device remote control codes, including most TVs, DVRs, Cable Boxes, Satellite Boxes, Blu-ray/DVD/CD players, Powered Speakers ( includes Sound Bars), Home Theater Receivers, and Streaming Media Players (See the complete list of compatible brands and devices).

2. Channel Guide - Based on what is available in your area, Blumoo provides a complete channel guide and even allows you to set reminders to alert you when your favorite TV programs are on.

3. Music - In addition to its remote control and channel guide capabilities, you can stream music, using Bluetooth technology, from the iOS or Android phone to your home audio system(s) via Blumoo Home Base (the home base, in turn, needs to be connected to your audio system via the provided analog stereo cables).

4. Customization - You can use the standard Blumoo visual interface, or create your own custom pages, such as adding or subtracting buttons, as well as the ability to create macros, which allow you to activate several control functions by touching one button. For example, you can set up a macro to turn on the TV, switch it to the correct input for the Blu-ray Disc player, then turn on the Blu-ray Disc player (or course you need to insert the disc), and then turn on the Home Theater Receiver and switch it to the correct input for access the Blu-ray Disc player audio (or audio and video depending how-how your components are physically connected).

03
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Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Home Base Unit

Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Home Base Unit
A Photo of the Home Base Unit for the Blumoo Universal Remote Control System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown above is a close-up photo of the Blumoo Home Base unit.

On the left side is the main unit which receives remote commands from your iOS or Android device, and then retransmits those commands in IR form to your home theater/entertainment devices by bouncing the "beams" off walls or other objects in the room. The Home Base also receives audio via Bluetooth from your compatible iOS or Andriod phone or tablet.

On the right side is the permanently attached cable system for the Blumoo, the inputs, from left to right are for the AC Power Adapter, IR Extender Adapter (optional - cable not provided), and Audio output  (cable provided).

Note: Taking advantage of the IR Extender option gives users the ability to hide the Home Base Unit out of sight as the Extender will shoot out the necessary IR control commands to the selected components.

Blumoo Setup

Getting the Blumoo system set-up is very straight forward.

Position the Blumoo Home Base in a convenient location near your TV or home theater components.

Plug in the power adapter to the Home Base. If powered, the LED indicator on the Home Base will glow Red.

Plug in the analog stereo audio cables to your home theater audio system (optional).

Download the Blumoo App to your compatible iOS or Android Smartphone or tablet.

Using the Blumoo App, pair your phone or tablet with the Blumoo Home Base. You will need to pair the App and Home Base for both Remote Control and Bluetooth music streaming functions.

If pairing is successful, the LED indicator on the Home Base will turn blue. At this point, you are now ready to access the music streaming, channel guide and the remote control functions of the Blumoo App.

First, you will be asked to select your local TV service provider (If you receive your TV programming over-the-air, there is an option for that also). This action chooses the appropriate channel guide.

Next, you just go down the list of devices, TV, etc... and then find the brand name for each device.

For each device, you will be prompted to make the proper choices to activate the remote control functions for each device. The Blumoo database has remote control codes for over 200,000 devices - However, it makes take several steps to find the proper codes for a specific device.

If you are unable to find the proper codes, contact Blumoo customer support for additional assistance. On the other hand, before contacting customer support, if the Blumoo App indicates and available firmware update, perform that task first as part of the update may include addition remote control database entries.

04
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Blumoo - Music, Channel Guide, and Please Choose Remote Option Menus

Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Music, Channel Guide, and Please Choose Remote Option Menus
A Photo of the Music, Channel Guide, and Please Choose Remote Option Menus on the Blumoo Remote Control System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page are three photos of the Blumoo Menu System as displayed on an HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Smartphone.

Running along the bottom of each menu are icon selection categories for displaying the Home, Guide (Channel Guide), Music, and Settings (Blumoo app info and setting menu).

Left Photo: Bluetooth Music Menu - Displays the compatible Apps on your iOS or Android phone that can be stream through Blumoo Home Base to a physically connected audio system.

Center Photo: The included TV Channel Guide - This is set according to your location and TV signal access service. Also, if you have your TV, cable/satellite box set up with the Blumoo, the channel guide can be used to change your TV channels. In other words, if you are accessing channels using the TV's tuner (Over-the-air broadcast or no box required cable) you have the option of the either scrolling or directly selecting desired channels using the remote control screen for your specific TV, or, if you rely on a cable/satellite box, you can scroll and select desired channels using the channel guide.

Right Photo: The "Please Choose" Menu - This function provides options for adding devices you want to control (or deleting them if you have selected them), customizing features of your remote interface, or reordering how you want your remote controls to appear on your smartphone/tablet screen.

05
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Blumoo - Adding a Device, Select Manufacturer, All Remotes Menus

Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Adding a Device, Select Component Maker, All Remotes Menus
A Photo of the Adding a Device, Select Component Maker, All Remotes Menus on the Blumoo Universal Remote Control System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page are steps provided to setup the remote control functions for each device.

Left Photo: Adding a Device is the menu where you choose which type of device you want to control. The categories provided include TVs, Cable/Satellite/DVR boxes, DVD/Blu-ray Disc players, CD players, Speakers (actually this should be better named "sound bars and powered speakers", Receiver (Stereo, AV, Home Theater Receivers), Streaming Players (network media players and media streamers, Projector.

Center Photo: The photo shows an example of the list of brands that appears when you select one of the categories shown in the Add a Device menu. In the example shown, you simply scroll down to the brand name of the TV you wish to control and it takes you to a sub-menu (not shown) that provides you with additional options. However, in many cases, once you click on the brand name, Blumoo asks you if your device (TV) turned on, and if it does, you should be set to go (more details on this will be illustrated on the next page of this review.

Right Photo: Once you have made your selections, icons are added to the Blumoo "All Remotes Screen". From this point, anytime you want to control a specific device you have set-up just click on the icon and your set to go.

06
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Blumoo - Samsung TV, Denon Receiver, and OPPO Remote Menus

Blumoo Universal Remote Control System - Samsung TV, Denon Receiver, and OPPO Remote Menus
A Photo of the Samsung TV, Denon Receiver, and OPPO Remote Menus of the Blumoo Universal Remote Control System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page are three photo examples of preset remote control screens accessed via the provided Blumoo database, as displayed on an HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Smartphone.

Left Photo: Samsung TV Remote (for the purposes of this review I used a Samsung UN55HU8550 4K UHD TV).

Center Photo: Denon Home Theater Receiver (for the purpose of this review, the Denon AVR-X2100W).

Right Photo: Oppo Digital Blu-ray Disc Player (for the purpose of this review, the OPPO Digital BDP-103).

It is important to note that although the graphic interface looks pretty basic (it would have been since to add some color), the touchscreen buttons displayed actually provide you with access to all (or most) of your device's operating menus - unlike some Universal Remotes that only provide access to basic functions. For example, using Blumoo, I was able to access both the basic and advanced menu functions for the Samsung UN55HU8550 4K UHD TV.

Reviewer's Take

The Blumoo system definitely enables you to control multiple devices using just a single control. Using a smartphone or tablet, you definitely don't have to wonder where the remote control for that specific component is. Also, the added bonus of being able to add music streaming to older audio components by simple analog stereo cable plug-in is a really nice touch.

On the other hand, for me, there is a drawback using a small touchscreen, hitting the correct "buttons" which are represented, with closely spaced, small icons, sometimes resulted in me hitting the wrong one, thus accessing the wrong function that I did not intend to activate. As a result, I sometimes had to backtrack to previous steps.

Also, when trying to locate the brand name of the device you intend to control, sometimes the scrolling action results in accidentally "clicking" on the wrong brand name rather than scrolling through the list to get to the correct brand.

It is important to point out that above issues aren't necessarily the fault of the Blumoo app, but more of a function of the interaction between your fingers and the touchscreen of your phone or tablet. However, if you have difficulty using a touchscreen (especially the smaller ones used on many smartphones), these are factors to take into consideration. I suggest using Blumoo on a smartphone with a large screen, or a tablet.

Also, the Blumoo system isn't totally unique - when using it, I was reminded of Logitech's Harmony Remote Control system. The Harmony system also provides a similar database of devices, as well as fairly straight forward operation, and is available both in app form, as well as in a physical remote control form factor that provides both button and touchscreen operation.

Also, it is important to point that for many newer TVs and home theater components, manufacturers also provide free downloadable remote control apps smartphones and tablets - However, this method a separate download of each app and placement on your app list or display. Also, with separate ​apps you can't jump for one to the other as easily (or setup macros that allow combined functions between the apps) - as you can by using a system like Blumoo that provides access to multiple remote controls within a single app.

Taking all into consideration, if you are sick-and-tired of shuffling, misplacing, and even having to periodically replace old remotes because some of the buttons have worn out (getting access to the actual remote control replacements for older gear can be quite expensive), then the Blumoo is definitely a universal remote control system worth considering.

Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon