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Does Bluetooth Have a Future in Remote Controls? |

Currently, IR remotes are standard on almost all consumer electronic devices. IR technology is dirt cheap, doesn’t require a “pairing” step, and is universally standard.

Bluetooth, on the other hand, has a few advantages

  • No need for direct line of sight
  • Two-way data transfer
  • Higher bandwidth: devices can transmit audio feeds, Internet-quality video feeds, and all kinds of data files.
  • Wide device support among remote headsets, microphones, and cell phones.


LG recently announced a Bluetooth-oriented HDTV, and is touting the benefits of Bluetooth remotes, but outside of that, in the two years since PS3 and Wii launched with Bluetooth remotes, there has been very minimal product support as an IR remote replacement. I would have expected the high end universal remotes to offer hybrid IR/Bluetooth products, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

So, what is your vote?

  • John

    There are probably some licensing or IP issues preventing the adoption of bluetooth.

    There are lots of cheap RF-based mices and keyboards using proprietary schemes, but very few bluetooth, and they’re all expensive. IMO it’s not the tech, it’s the legalities.

  • James

    I love my PS3 BT remote. not having the need for line-of-sight is real nice, especially if you have multiple components hidden behind cabinets. leaves for a cleaner setup

  • James

    i think mostly its because BT is relatively new considering how long IR has been around

  • I love my PS3’s Bluetooth remote!
    My Surround Sound center speaker is in the way of my IR sensor, so I have to move around whenever I need to change the input. Most of the time I have to stand up and walk to my TV!
    It’s unbelievable.

  • @john: Yes, I guess the licensing scheme and approval process is costly, they definitely need to lower that, there’s an abundance of propriety dongles to work with non standard rf peripherals, and I don’t like that mess. I’m still looking for a cheap Bluetooth KB/Mouse combo, I could find none..

  • Darrin

    Licensing can’t be that bad: there are tons of dirt cheap cell phones and headsets that use Bluetooth.

    I just think the tech hasn’t caught on in keyboards and remotes for some reason… Yes, I hate having separate dongles for every wireless device.

  • I don’t think licensing is the problem at all… I think it is price. RF doesn’t cost a dime and the tech is dirt cheap. BT costs licensing AND the chips are more expensive PLUS the software engineering needed to make it all work.

    I like my PS3 BT Remote very much. It doesn’t use too much power (more than usual RF remotes though), it can be used on normal PCs without extra (well, you have to have BT, but who doesn’t^^) hardware, no line of sight…

    Thing is, those Logitech Harmonies don’t have BT, even the VERY expensive one, which makes no sense to me at all. It might be simply the protocol used, as they don’t have to have a standard one (they could use simple HID, but which buttons do what needs to be guessed).

  • I love my bluetooth remote as well. I thought I remember seeing that some Sony TV coming out was going to have a bluetooth remote, but not sure if the did it or not. But ya, bluetooth would need to be built into the device, I hate dongles too.

  • mcloki

    I love my bluetooth remote for it’s non line of sight operation. what i would like is an iPhone App that would control my PS3. It’s bluetooth after all.

  • Sinlock

    The PS3 remote is a must have. I’ve found many Blurays that do not work with the standard buttons on the PS3 controler, requireing you the open the DVD/BR control menu with the /\ button and manualy pausing the movie.

  • MCloki, that’s a very good app. In fact, it would sell quite well!

  • George

    The blu-ray remote is essential, but only because there is no IR remote for the PS3.

    I do like how it does not require line of sight, but to be honest that has never been a problem in the past.

    The batteries seem to wear out faster than in IR remotes.

    It’s annoying that I have to have one remote for the PS3 and one for (everything else). Not annoying enough to dig up an old PS2 IR adapter to see if it would work though.

  • I bought the Buzz Quiz for PS3 and would loved to have paided the stupid BT-license and Tech-cost if I did not have to use the stupid (and way to big) dongle..

    So yeah give us the expensive BT! and give us the choice for the cheaper stuff too.. then my wallet can decide if I can buy the BT or the RF/IR version..

  • mpz

    wish my amp used something other than ir – sick of trying to hit the sensor over crap on the coffee table!