In time for Father’s Day, ESPN has made its WiFi-enabled Ultimate Remote available to sports-loving TV viewers nationwide, for the rather stinging price of $300 MSRP. The Ultimate Remote, developed by tvCompass, features a 2.2-inch QVGA LCD screen built into its face, as well as 802.11b/g WiFi, all in a 6.5-ounce enclosure running an unnamed Microsoft device OS.
Aimed to compete with high-end remotes like the Harmony One, the Ultimate Remote requires a PC for set up, recharges via USB, and even has an Internet browser with real-time access to scores, fantasy sports information and broadcast listings for satellite and cable TV. Perhaps sensing that most set-top boxes have those tasks amply covered, ESPN and tvCompass have included a few more tricks in the Ultimate Remote: if your buddies are also Ultimate Remote owners, you can text them from remote to remote, send email, or text to a cell phone. Presumably this is so you can talk smack to your buddies when your respective teams go head-to-head, but an expensive remote seems like a poor substitute for getting together at a local pub, or even getting that smack-talking dialogue going via a good ole fashioned phone call. If you’re a dedicated TV lover and sports nut, however, the Ultimate Remote might be requried equipment no matter its degree of practicality.CD