You either have four or five remotes on the coffee table, or you spend a hundred plus bucks on a ‘universal’ remote control. My luck with universal remotes is that they are either smart and have to ‘learn’ from your other remotes or they like to power up the TV while it powers down the Cable.

While on Amazon looking for something completely unrelated, I happened upon the ‘RI Universal Remote‘. Which isn’t really a remote, it is instead a transmitter that plugs into my iOS device (my case, my iPhone4) and allows the device to become a Universal remote.

The free RI app doesn’t ‘learn’ from your other remotes. Instead it supports over 225 most popular brands, over 72 Different device types, and over 845 devices. All of which you find in the app and choose to use the ones that match your hardware. The developers promise to continue expanding the list of supported devices. Just to be sure, you may want to grab the free RI remote app, load it and check for the entertainment hardware you use.

To get my AppleTV2 covered, I just switch over to the Apple Remote app which talks to the AppleTV2 via wireless. Now, the only thing sitting on the family room coffee table is the little RI Hardware plug which whoever gets to the room first plugs into their own iOS device and controls everything.