Windows Phone 8 is more than capable of providing you with music and video entertainment, but what if you’re sat in front of your TV or console? Well, rather than waste valuable movie time looking for the remote control, you could use one of these apps to press play and enjoy your new album or movie.
Why Would You Use A Remote App?
If you have easy access to your handheld TV or media center/streaming remote control, using a remote control app on any platform might seem a little pointless.
Then again, how often do you lose your smartphone down the back of your chair, or drop it in your magazine rack? Probably (we hope) a lot less than you would lose a remote control. So having the remote app either as a backup controller or as your new main point of access to your media center would make perfect sense.
Windows Phone 8 has several apps available to support a wealth of media player options, from standalone devices running XBMC to games consoles and desktop apps.
Let’s take a look at the options, which all use WiFi to establish connections and control your media apps.
Several remote control apps for XBMC are available in the Windows Phone store, but this free option seems to be the best of the bunch (which includes an official XBMC remote app). Compatible with XBMC 12 (Frodo) and XBMC 13 (Gotham), the app also features multiple connection profiles for accessing XBMC installations on other devices.
XBMC Remote will work on any XBMC device you have running, whether it’s an old PC, a dedicated high-end media center or a Raspberry Pi with OpenElec or RaspBMC installed. Connection across your home WiFi network is simple, and requires enabling in your XBMC settings. You should be up and running with this in minutes.
If you’re more inclined to watch movies on your desktop computer, your media player of choice should be VLC, at least for the reasons explained previously. Enjoy watching movies in the dark, but can’t see your mouse and keyboard? Don’t worry…
VLC Mobile Remote is a free remote control app for the hugely versatile media player, and along with the expected stop/play/pause/shuffle controls also includes options to toggle full screen, aspect ratio and subtitles, adjust playback speed and can be used on multiple computers.
Setting up the remote is a little fiddly, but the app provides a detailed pictorial step-by-step guide to achieving this.
The free version is ad-supported, but you can upgrade to a premium ad-free version with extra features (such as opening files from your phone) for $1.99 with an in-app purchase.
Whether you have an Xbox 360 or an Xbox One, there is a Smartglass remote app for you!
The Xbox 360 Smartglass app puts your Xbox media tools in your hand, enabling you to swipe and tap to navigate, use the software keyboard to enter text, browse the web, play, pause, forward and rewind, and search the Xbox media catalogue and much more.
Xbox One Smartglass, meanwhile, offers all of this and adds some “on the go” features, such as achievement tracking, game help and messaging. Note that there are no push notifications for messaging, a strange oversight that means you will have to leave the app open for ongoing conversations.
Both apps are available free and require Xbox membership to work.
Roku media box owners can rely on this popular free app as a replacement for their existing remote device.
Featuring the usual remote functions, a keyboard, mouse and support for third party services such as Amazon Instant Video and Hulu, Remote for Roku comes with a choice of skins to more accurately resemble your physical remote control.
The app is ad-supported, but you can enjoy an ad-free version for just $0.99 with an in-app purchase.
Put Windows Phone In Control!
These remote control apps make great use of a Windows Phone that is left idle while you watch a movie. Better still, they give you a good reason to keep your phone close, especially useful if you’re watching a film that isn’t quite your thing, such as a movie with your kids, or your partner’s favourite film that doesn’t quite meet your movie loving standards.
Have you tried any of these apps? Do they put you in control, or have you found that they’re lacking in important features? Perhaps we missed one that you feel should have been included? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: K?rlis Dambr?ns Via Flickr