By Quinten Plummer — A new spin on an old concept, Ray Enterprises is launching a universal remote control that gives users touch-screen controls to any of the more than 200,000 devices it is compatible with. Things may be different from this universal remote control, as Ray Enterprises has partnered with Dish Network to launch it.
The Ray Super Remote looks a bit like a slightly dated smartphone, bearing a 4.6 inch screen embedded in a form factor with a thickness harking to the handsets of yesteryear. But Ray Enterprises and Dish are banking on the Ray Remote's extensive listing of device compatibilities, its expandability and its intuitive software to help the remote control gain the widespread adoption other universal controls have lacked.
Ray Enterprises' smart remote looks to move into homes that have multiple remote controls, kicking out the rivals as it does all they can do, and more. The Ray remote can be used to control cable boxes, game consoles, streaming hardware and smart devices.
David Skokna, Ray Enterprises CEO, says the inspiration for the Ray remote was from his desire to unify his living room devices with one remote control. He says he also wanted the universal remote control to deliver personalized search and discovery tools to help him and others find new content.
"The Ray Super Remote grew out of my frustration that despite living in the Golden Age of television, I was struggling to find content across proliferating platforms and using a multitude of archaic TV remote controls to do so," says Skokna.
With the Ray remote, users can discover new content via the device's search software and they can also browse for trending programming. Content delivery can be shaped around themes, such as sports and kids programming.
The Ray remote is compatible with wireless technologies that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, infrared and ZigBee. Setup requires Wi-Fi, a cable box and a few minutes of a user's time, according to Ray Enterprises.
Though the Ray remote supports all pay TV services, it enjoys enhanced compatibility with Dish. Ray Enterprises was granted access to the application programming interface used by Dish's Hopper DVR systems.
"We give trusted developers, like Ray, access to DISH APIs so they may create new search, discovery and control experiences for our customers," says Vivek Khemka, DISH's senior vice president of product management. "The Ray team has integrated our APIs to create a compelling universal remote compatible in the Hopper ecosystem."
While gaining the backing of Dish Network was a major milestone for the Ray Super Remote, the product is coming up on possibly its largest hurdle. Somewhere in May or June, the $200 Ray remote will go on sale to the public.