Dealer Sees for Himself: Can you Eliminate Remotes and Use all Apps?

Leon Shaw of Audio Advice experimented for himself to see if you really can live without a remote control for the entertainment center.

The Leon Shaw lose-the-remote-and-use-all-apps experiment with Lutron, Directv, Oppo and a VNC viewer for the surround-sound processor. The verdict: No bueno!
Julie Jacobson · March 7, 2014

Leon Shaw, founder and chairman of Audio Advice in Charlotte, NC, says many of his customers think they don’t need a remote control for their entertainment center because individual apps will do the trick.

He couldn’t believe it, so he decided to see for himself, eliminating all of his own remote controls and using instead the apps provided by individual manufacturers.

“What spurred me to do this is we are having a lot of customers push back on a remote for their theater,” he tells CE Pro. “They tell us every component has an app, I like apps, I think I’ll just use apps.”

The Shaw Experiment

“It seems like every piece of gear available at Audio Advice has its own app to enable you to control it with your iPad or tablet,” Shaw writes in a blog (always worth reading). “Some of these apps are pretty slick looking with just about every feature you can imagine.”

Not surprisingly, as he notes, Shaw has fully integrated remotes in his own home, “with all the functions I need easily accessible.”

His experiment entailed ditching his home theater remote and replacing it with individual apps for his surround-sound processor, Blu-ray player, DirecTV and lighting controls. His projector didn’t have an app, he writes, so he dug out the manufacturer’s original remote.

Test No. 1: The Oppo Blu-ray player app

I use the VUDU app on the Oppo quite a bit, so I decided to try this first. Well, the first thing I discovered, is for both the new processor and the Oppo, they have to be powered on for the app to engage them. With my all-in-one remote, this is not the case as a command to power them on will turn them on. So I got up off my couch, walked out of the room over to my rack and pushed the power button on each of them. It went downhill from there.

Check out his blog for the rest of the gory details, and be sure to point your clients to it.

In the end ... no bueno!

I asked Shaw what he thought about using separate apps for home control, which doesn’t seem to be so bad.

He replied: “I think separate apps for home control are OK, as you don’t have a need to bounce around like in a theater/surround system, but part of this logic still applies. We do sell a good amount of Sonos for whole-house audio, Lutron for lighting, and for security/camera and people are OK with the three apps. But it is much easier all in one.”

Secure Your Free Pass to CEDIA EXPO 2019

Register before Sept. 2 to gain free access to the opening keynote, product training & education series as well as the show floor including Innovation Alley and much more. Don’t miss your chance. Sign up today.

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at

Follow Julie on social media:
Twitter · LinkedIn · Google+

Julie also participates in these groups:
LinkedIn · Google+

View Julie Jacobson's complete profile.

  Article Topics

News · · App · DirecTV · Lutron · Oppo Digital · All Topics
CE Pro Magazine

Read More Articles Like This… With A Free Subscription

CE Pro magazine is the resource you need to keep up-to-date on the latest products, techniques, designs and business practices. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!