The powerful new HTC One M9 is packed full of impressive features and a stylish two-tone aluminum design, but the phone can also double as an easy remote control. Just like the Galaxy S5 last year and a few phones from LG, the HTC One M9 can act as a remote control for any room and multiple devices in your house.
Sporting a new two-tone all aluminum unibody design, Android 5.0 Lollipop, and a new theme engine to change the software is nice, but that isn’t all it can do. It also can control your entire living room with the Remote Control app, powered by Peel. Here we’ll explain how to set up and use the HTC One M9 as a remote control.
Read: HTC One M9 Review
Like most traditional TV remotes, there is an IR blaster on the top of the HTC One M9 for sending all the right signals. This will let you control your HDTV, Smart TV, cable box and other home theater equipment like a receiver with ease. The pre-installed app works wonderfully, but it’s essentially the Peel Remote app which is also on the Google Play Store, just bundled and tweaked by HTC. Read on to see how to use it, and how to setup and use the One M9 as a remote control.
In a similar move as Samsung, HTC is using the popular Peel Remote app as the default application on the HTC One M9. It has tons of neat features, show reminders and customization. One of my favorite features is the floating transparent button that instantly lets you open the remote to change the channel or volume, then minimizing it. It floats just like Facebook Messenger icons, but isn’t as distracting. Another option is having the remote in your pulldown bar, as well as on your lock screen for easy access.
Whether you’re vegging out on the couch, or don’t want to get up from your bed to find a lost remote, the HTC One M9 has you covered. Here’s how to get started.
Simply go to the application tray and find then select the Peel Smart Remote app, which is a yellow icon with a circle-shaped P icon. Before you get started you’ll put in your location, as well as a zip code, followed by the cable provider you’ve chosen to pay way too much each month. This actually pulls information from your provider so your phone can give you exactly what’s airing on your TV, when, and much more.
Follow the setup steps listed to personalize your channels and favorite programs as well as connect your HDTV and other home theater pieces to get started. The Peel Remote app supports almost all TV brands, and most cable boxes as well. I’ve set it up with my Vizio in the living room, Emerson Black Friday special TV in my room, along with my entire home theater, which lets me control the cable box and my Denon receiver. It’s rather nice.
The app will instruct you to turn off each device, then walk you through trying to hit the power button, volume up down, or other things, until it gets the right code. If you’ve ever configured a remote before you’ll know what to expect, only the app does it all for you. If the code works you just hit yes, if not, try another. No typing them in, it does everything. Once completed you can control channels, volume, input and more. Meaning I can toggle input to HDMI 2 for my Chromecast or Fire TV stick and do everything all from the phone.
We also really like that the Peel Remote app recommends shows you might like. It has a TV Guide, Top Picks, and even a personalization tab where you can uncheck what you don’t like, then get large tiles showing shows based on your interest. You can even input if you’re male or female, and your age range. It’s extremely customizable, and there’s a profile you can setup to set favorites, check live TV, and change the settings. Show reminders is one of my favorite features, tap on a show and hit the remind me button, and you’re all done. At any time just tap the remote icon at the top right to go back to your remote to control what’s needed.
As we mentioned above, the remote control can also be added to the notification pulldown bar, as well as your lockscreen. In the Remote Control app simply head into settings and scroll down to check the box for “Show remote control on notification panel” and “Always on Remote Widget” and you’re all set for any occasion.
We like that the remote controls work right from the lockscreen, but it’s small and not as usable as Samsung’s method. Then, the notification bar is half-full with the persistent notification if you enable it, and it can’t be minimized like Samsung offers, either. The lock screen controls are small but it does have power, input, and volume controls in small little boxes, then an expand button to unlock directly to the app.
Our only complaint is there isn’t an option to add a quick toggle for the remote in the notification bar shortcuts at the top of your pulldown shade, and that we can’t minimize it when it’s in the notification bar. This feature is provided by LG, but HTC chose not to put this up top for easy toggling on/off. LG’s remote is their own app, while HTC uses the Peel app so it doesn’t integrate with the software as well.
All said and done though, the Peel app does just about everything you need, and does it well. The guide above is all you nee to know. That’s all there is to it. So get it setup, and enjoy!