ThinkFlood Red Eye

I’ve been eyeing one of those $300 universal remotes for years now, but at the back of my mind kept thinking about the marriage of the iPhone/iPod Touch and all of my other devices around the house. You can have the Red Eye for $188.

The future is here, it’s cool and affordable. Most of all, it’s straightforward to use. Well, it’s almost here. The Red Eye from ThinkFlood will be in stores sometime in October, just in time for the holiday shopping season. While you are picking one up for yourself, I suggest buying one for anyone in your family that has more than two remotes laying on their coffee table; they will love you for eye products

The only catch is that you need an iPhone or iPod touch to use it. Even if you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch, I’d suggest jumping off the cliff for at least an iPod Touch, as you can pick them up refurbed on the Apple Store for about $150. Who cares if you don’t need an iPod, this is the most exciting thing I’ve seen since AV gear started coming with remote controls attached.

Those needing an extra rationalization to buy the latest cool thing, here’s a point to ponder: If you have about seven remote controls lying about, that’s at least 14 AAA batteries you are throwing in the garbage once or twice a year. (Maybe more, if you are a mega channel surfer) If you are buying Duracell’s in a four pack at Walgreens, the Red Eye will pay for itself in two years and that’s about 50 icky batteries you haven’t dumped in the garbage can. See, now you’re an environmentalist and an economist; how cool is that?

The principle behind the Red Eye

Once you program the Red Eye for your devices, when it gets a signal from you iPhone/iPod Touch, it’s base station (that is no bigger than a standard iPod dock, but in a cool transparent blue) will send the corresponding signal that used to come from your remote control, to your CD player, preamplifier or other device. The Red Eye dock also serves as a charger for you iPhone/iPod, so that you will always have it charged and easy to spot. More organization, great stuff!

By the time the Red Eye is out on the market, they should have a large database of built in remote control codes that you can easily download. But for the companies that don’t release their remote codes, or the occasional off the radar device, the Red Eye will “learn” the commands by a simple push of the button. You only need to go into the setup screen and push the “learn command” button on your eye products 3

Easy networking

In the event that you don’t have a wireless network in your house, your iPod device can connect to the Red Eye via an “ad hoc” network. There are complete instructions for that on the Red Eye website, and it usually will not take more than going to the System Settings>Wi-Fi and selecting the Red Eye network. Now your iPod device will see the transmitter. However, if you do have a wireless network, you can link the Red Eye to your network and expand the range of where you can command your empire. This can be very useful if you like to listen to music on the system downstairs while you are lounging in a bubble bath upstairs. When the phone rings, just push the pause button and carry on!

Now the real fun begins

Once you have all of the remotes in your world entered into your iPod device, you can customize how you use these devices and tap the full power of the Red Eye system. The next step is to set up activities for each one of them. The more complex your system, the more you will appreciate the Red Eye, as will members of your family that aren’t as technically savvy. red eye products 2

It’s worth mentioning that the Red Eye will integrate into your lighting system if you have one, so when you want to “Watch a DVD”, you can program your system to open the drawer, change inputs to play the disc player, eject the tray and dim the lights. I told you that you needed one of these.

Even the staunch 2-channel enthusiast will love this. You can mix devices on one panel. For example, as part of the control structure with my Naim CD 555, I added a volume up and down button (that actually control my Burmester Preamplifier) so I don’t need to switch screens when listening to this player. I’ve done the same thing for all three of my disc players and it has made my system much easier to use.

Accessory of the year

With the rest of the accessory articles in the queue for the year, I can spill the beans and let you know the outcome in November right now. The Red Eye will be getting our Product of the Year award in the accessory category. This is by far the most useful HiFi accessory I’ve ever come across. Almost anything that is controlled by an IR device can be managed with the Red Eye. Now you can kiss all of that remote control related clutter goodbye.

If they can only make it control the garage door opener, I’ll be in Heaven.

The Red Eye will hit the market in early November, just in time for the holiday shopping season. You can get more information from their website at: