Use Any Handheld as a TV Remote with OmniRemote Pro

Long before Sony released the T series with a built-in TV/stereo remote control, Pacific Neo-Tek had developed OmniRemote, which let any Palm OS handheld control a TV with its infrared port. The company has now released OmniRemote Pro, which offers numerous new features. It now supports Palm OS 4, color screens, 320 by 320 displays, and thumbwheels. It is available now for $25.

OmniRemote Pro acts as a programmable remote. This means it can be taught to use the IR signal from almost any remote, and not just from TVs. It can be used to control stereos, VCRs, just about anything with an IR remote.

The app comes with several pre-created button layouts but users can design their own, using as many buttons as they like and putting them anywhere they want. There any bitmap that can be put behind the buttons as a backdrop. Multiple button layouts can be stored.

The hardware buttons or thumbwheel on the handheld can be used to control the TV, stereo, whatever. These can be programmed as part of each button layout.

Users can also create macros, which perform a sequence of actions with a single key-press.

A remote control isn't very useful if the signals can't reach the TV. Pacific Neo-Tek did a study on the range of the IR ports on various handheld models. According to it, some models have a truly impressive range, with the m500 and m505 topping out at 50 feet.

OmniRemote Pro supports all Palm handhelds, Handspring Visor models, Sony Cliť models, the Handera 330, the IBM Workpad30x, and more

Thanks to Jonathan Jackson for the tip. -Ed

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.

Down View Full Comment Thread

Too Expensive!

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:24:17 AM #
$25 for a remote control? I'd pay $10 for it.
RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:26:27 AM #
Remotes are supposed to make things easier -- why is it easier to use a remote with two hands (one to hold the PDA the other to use the stylus). Too much of a gimmick for me.

As for the price, $25 is steep. Perhaps it can be bundled with software that turns the PDA into either a metal detector (to find coins on the beach, with the Fellows "PDA Extension Stick") or wine corker.

RE: Too Expensive!
Mathrocks314 @ 4/19/2002 10:43:15 AM #
It is steep. But itís cool to be able to turn on your TV with your palm.

RE: Too Expensive!
Kaitou @ 4/19/2002 10:48:50 AM #
does this, or will this take advantage of the long range IR port found in the T and NR Clie models? I realize Sony doesn't have an API out for it, but it should still be possible to accomplish, and thats the only way I would see it worthwhile for me to purchase.

RE: Too Expensive!
Follower @ 4/19/2002 10:51:49 AM #
There is a standalone product that basically does the same thing as this program. It's called the Philips Pronto. The black and white ones sell for $400 and the color one, last I saw, was $1000.

Info at

The main deal that both accomplish is they can do macros. That is, one button can be programmed to turn on the amp, switch the input to the DVD player, set the amp to Dolby surround, turn on the DVD player, eject the DVD tray, turn on the TV, set the TV's input to the DVD player, and adjust the picture settings or whatever else you want. Again, that's ONE finger tap.

Myself, I'm going to pay the $25 and check this out. The last time I tried OmniRemote, I didn't have an m505... :-)

Pretty good compared to alternatives
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:53:42 AM #
When I way alternatives, I'm talking about professional "programmable IR remotes". They run up to 300 bucks so this is actually a pretty good deal.

All you nay-sayers should learn some restraint the next post/article you're about to bash.

Not Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 11:01:52 AM #
Too many palm users have this idea that all pallm apps should be $10. Maybe its because handhelds are so small compared to computers you think the software prices should also be much smaller. It's as much work to create a palm as as it does to create a pc app. Maybe more.

You need to get over it. This is keeping developers from writing good apps because they know they won't be able to sell them for more than $10 and its not worth it at that price.

RE: Too Expensive for piece of mind
Dearman @ 4/19/2002 11:09:12 AM #
I used the old omniRemote with my 3xe and m505 I'd be glad to use the upgrade on my M505, anything to keep the wife from flicking channels at subliminal speeds, and the macro functions are worthwhile, besides it can play with lego to

Fire pretty Tree bad

RE: One Handed Usage
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 11:43:13 AM #
You can use OmniRemote with one hand since you can program the hardware buttons any way you want to. I use the Date Book and Address Book buttons to control the volume, and the Page Up and Page Down buttons for the channels. No stylus needed. OmniRemote works very well.

You can even share the remote control layouts you create with others. And you get good range with the Palm m505/m515. Very impressive.

RE: not Too Expensive!
c_blue @ 4/19/2002 11:50:48 AM #
I even programmed it to clone my car remote, so now I have a spare remotefor my TV sets, my car key , vcr, etc...

nice product


RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 12:04:16 PM #
"does this, or will this take advantage of the long range IR port found in the T and NR Clie models?"

You're so confused... Those clies don't HAVE a long range IR port! Previous Clies had a terrible range compared to most other PalmOS devices (see range table on the Omniremote site). Their "long range" IR ports just bring them up to par with the rest of the pack. You don't see Palm hyping about "long range" IR, but for a while it's been the best in the pack. Pacificneotek bench tested to 55 feet (for IR remote purposes, not inter-palm beaming).

RE: Too Expensive!
cyruski @ 4/19/2002 12:38:34 PM #
omniremote can do macros too by the way

Clie long range IR
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 12:54:02 PM #
Somewhere in the PacificNeotek site there was a discussion about the Clie. Charlie Payne, the OmniRemote programmer, explained that the Clie has two IR emmitters, one short range Palm compatable and one long range Sony proprietary. Sony would not give him the API for the long range but he was able to figure it out and has incorporated it into the OmniRemote software. There's a picture in there, somewhere, showing the two different IR LED's.
T615 IR
sbabcock @ 4/19/2002 1:16:17 PM #
True, the Sony basic IR for file transfer is pathetically small.

The high Power IR, which is not used for file transfer, only the Clie RMC program does have better distance. Sony refused to give information on how to use the high power IR, but Pacific Neotek did manage to figure out how to use it, so Yes, OmniRemote does use the high power IR. It is about equivalent to reasonable IR range.

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 1:24:48 PM #
Also, check out They have a Windows program that lets you design OmniRemote screens for download to your Palm device. This software can also convert the Phillips Pronto IR codes and other IR codes for use on OmniRemote.
RE: Too Expensive!
Kaitou @ 4/19/2002 2:12:34 PM #
First of all, I am not "confused" the T and NR series have a second beam-only IR port not used for data, which is the "Enhanced" one, your flame was pretty pointless. The 55 feet distance is quite misleading, and will by no means indicate performance. If you look at the to cablebox chart, the distances are more equal.

To the person who responded to me, thank you, thats what I needed to know. I guess once my NR comes in, I will be ordering this.

RE: Too Expensive! Let's do it open source !
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 2:55:54 PM #
I've found an IR Lib on for the Palm.
I could be used to make an open source version of OmniRemote ?

If you have any idea, post your comments on forums to reach me.

RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 3:43:16 PM #
Anybody else notice the size of the pdb's that hold the button shapes and sizes? By the time you get done making a cool looking remote control, the thing will use more RAM than Datebk4.
RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 3:52:58 PM #
Excellent PIC equivalent for (programmable) remotes:

BTW, if you work in an office with IR controlled lights like I do, you can have great fun during boring meetings with this app. Well worth $25. :-)

RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 7:06:47 PM #
>Too many palm users have this idea that all pallm apps should be $10. Maybe its
>because handhelds are so small compared to computers you think the software
>prices should also be much smaller. It's as much work to create a palm as as it
>does to create a pc app. Maybe more.

It also takes as much (or more) work to design and manufacture handhelds compared
to desktop computers. Does that mean you are willing to drop a couple thousand
dollars for one? Didn't think so...

RE: Too Expensive!
martopiggus @ 4/19/2002 10:12:49 PM #
I thought a programmable remote control from Sony or Marantz would cost about USD 100, can you call a $25 similar product expensive? You people are too pathetic.

RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2002 9:50:20 AM #
> It also takes as much (or more) work to design and manufacture handhelds
> compared to desktop computers.

You need to be careful when using an analogy because, more often than not, analogies are incorrect.

What you are missing is that, for hardware, the cost of design isn't close the the primary cost. In software, design is just about the only cost. While it may cost more to design a handheld than a laptop, a laptop's screen costs about a $1000. Compared the that, the cost of designing the laptop is negligible. Then you have to add all the other parts, many of which cost hundreds, even when bought wholesale. The most expensive handheld screen,s on the other hand, costs about $100 -- $200. Hardware costs determine the price of hardware, not design.

However, I know you were trying to be obnoxious (and succeeding, BTW) but I have to point out that there are low-end PCs that you can buy for less than the cost of a high end handheld.

RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2002 10:28:22 AM #
I thought this product was too expensive too, but one simple word changed my mind: MARMOSET
RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2002 2:50:41 PM #
lol ^)
RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2002 2:38:49 AM #
"$25 for a remote control? I'd pay $10 for it."

Well think about the poor guys who were not able to get a refund for their T415. They paid about $300 for a remote control!

RE: Too Expensive!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/30/2002 2:51:48 PM #
What is Marmoset? is another Remote software
waydwnsouth @ 4/12/2004 2:52:56 PM #
MARMOSET is the registration key for OmniRemote 2.02, though i can't get it to work. i get the message "Your OmniRemote Pro upgrade code has been accepted. Thank You." It still shows an experation (now 10 days). Please Help
RE: Too Expensive!
;-( @ 4/13/2004 3:59:13 AM #
Try this code:


It's massive. Massive.

My Clie n610c would suck!

big_raji @ 4/19/2002 10:30:08 AM #
OMG! A range of 2 feet for the Sony Clie?!??! Gah. I had no idea the IR was so weak.

Why is the Palm m5xx so strong? That's unreal. Palm should've included Remote software with their m5xx PDAs.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

RE: My Clie n610c would suck!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:50:28 AM #
> OMG! A range of 2 feet for the Sony Clie?!??

Huh? I don't know what chart you were looking at but I see 8 feet. That's pretty weak but 4x better than what you said.

RE: My Clie n610c would suck!
big_raji @ 4/19/2002 12:26:38 PM #
The chart with the stats on "Omniremote to Cable Box"

You're quoting the 8ft range for sending to a "Lego Mindstorms" thing.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

RE: My Clie n610c would suck!
Altema @ 4/19/2002 12:48:25 PM #
I don't know why they would have it so strong either, then not even mention it in their promos. If you really want to have fun with the range (regardless of handheld model), and you have a MiniDisc deck, check out MD Titler from Ellams Software. It seems like the app overdrives the IR transmitter to boost range. I could get 40 feet out of my old IIIc with this program... I can't measure the 500 series because I don't have any rooms big enough. Anyone want to donate a house so I can test? :)
RE: My Clie n610c would suck!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/21/2002 11:39:38 AM #
MY N610c easily got 10 feet. In fact, standing on the 2nd floor of my house, I was able to control the TV, reciever, etc. on the first floor. I got great distance with the N610c.

Is this possible?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:37:58 AM #
I was thinking of using my TV remote as a remote control because it seems to have all the right buttons for one-handed use, then using my Sony or Palm as a PDA. Is this possible?
RE: Is this possible?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:46:20 AM #
I'm totally certain that no application is used by everyone. If this isn't for you, fine, but criticizing it because you don't need it is pointless. Tell us your favorite program. I'll bet someone will be able to post a reason why they think it's a stupid waste of time. Would that make you stop using it?
RE: Is this possible?
nategall @ 4/19/2002 11:05:12 AM #
yeah, but that's pretty damned funny.

nategall says "blah!"
RE: Is this possible?
Altema @ 4/19/2002 1:03:30 PM #
I thought it was funny too, but what I'm looking for is a rubber button overlay for my Palm, and a digitizer for my tv remote...

Seriously though, my kids keep taking batteries from the remotes, so OmniRemote would be useful for me. Much better than hunting down GameBoys and Walkmans to get the batteries back.


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 10:55:05 AM #
where is the treo in this study?
RE: treo?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2002 11:06:51 AM #
I wonder if the software will allow the Treo to be used as a remote but triggered from a phone call. Say, if you're in another state and want to change the channel on your TV, you could have the Treo sitting in front of the TV, call it from another phone, and punch in commands to change the channel.
RE: treo?
GregGaub @ 4/19/2002 11:39:37 AM #
I tried it on my Treo, and couldn't get more than about 4 feet away before my TV stopped responding. YMMV.
Top View Full Comment Thread
Achtung! Only the first 50 comments are displayed within the article.
    Click here for the full story discussion page...


Register Register | Login Log in