There have been quite a few messages in this forum about using a Palm PDA as a universal remote control. I thought I'd add my $0.02 worth in a separate thread from the too long "Palm Pilot is an excellent Universal Remote Control" thread. I think I'm covering a little bit of new ground but if not, I apologize.
First of all, let's talk about the Palm or Visor as a universal remote control. I think most users to this site know about OmniRemote and how it can turn your PDA into a URC. There has been a great deal of discussion, some of it a bit emotional, comparing this solution to the Pronto and other URCs. I own a Pronto and I've used OmniRemote on a Palm Pilot with 2MB memory/IR upgrad, Palm Vx and Visor with the Springboard module. Purely as a URC the Pronto has a few main advantages over OmniRemote: The Pronto screen has higher resolution. You can add custom icons to the Pronto. And the macros are slightly more powerful. Unless you have the OmniRemote Springboard module or another IR extender, the Pronto also has significantly higher IR power. Also, unless you have ORDesktop (pardon the plug), the Pronto can be customized on your PC while OmniRemote can't. Overall, the Pronto wins out even over the best OmniRemote combination which is a Visor + OmniRemote Springboard module + ORDesktop. But not actually by all that much in my opinion.
In terms of price, the Visor combination or a Palm III with IR extender, wins by as much as $100.
But a Palm PDA is capable of doing things that a Pronto can't. Others have wondered why that would matter. I'll give you a few reasons:
You can store TV listings. Gist has daily TV listings which you can download to your Palm using AvantGo. I get my TV from Satellite and I use Gist to get a daily restricted listing of the stations I most often watch. It is a lot faster to go through that list than scrolling through the satellite pages on my TV. (Gist could be better. A spreadsheet or database format would be a lot more functional.) AvantGo and Gist are both free.
You can use the calendar to set alarms for particular TV or radio programs that you want to see.
You can keep a list of movies and their ratings on your Palm. Look up a movie when it comes on or take your Palm with you to video store when looking for something to rent.
You can store your CD database on your Palm I have a 300 disk CD changer which currently has over 240 CDs in it. Finding a particular CD can be a pain. But I've catalogued my collection using Keep It Compact on my PC. It uses the CDDB internet CD database to automatically download the CD information. I then export from KiC to an Excel spreadsheet which I read on my Visor using Documents To Go. (There are other, cheaper, Excel readers but I already had this one.) Now I can search for a CD on my Visor. The cost of this solution is about $60, mostly because of Documents To Go. KiC is $20, I think.
I'm sure that there are other similar uses that make the Palm more of an entertainment control center than just a universal remote control.
I really like the Pronto. It is a great remote and there are some really impressive ccf files on this site. But, even though I have one and paid big bucks for it, I use the Visor because of the extra functionality that it gives me.
I'd be very interested in how other people use there Palms as part of their entertainment system.
Peter Sharpe[email protected]
Disclaimer: I'm the author of ORDesktop and so I have a stake in the Palm being used as a URC. However, the reason I wrote ORDesktop was because I was so excited about the Palm as a URC and more.
Links: (Except for ORDesktop and Pacific Neo-Tek, I have no affiliation with any of these sites or companies.)www.avantgo.comwww.gist.com
(Documents To Go)www.microsoft.com