Ever sit down in your living room only to juggle through half a dozen remotes until you find the right one? Can't stand the sight of all those remotes sitting around the place cluttering things up? Wish you could easily stream music through your existing home theater system without having to replace it completely? While there are some options out there that will offer you one of these options, Blumoo does all this and a little bit more, and it does it extraordinarily well too.
Blumoo is a small, rather unassuming looking little device that's shiny on the front and metal around the rest of the body, and has a good amount of heft to it for a device of such a size. The moment you take the Blumoo out of the box you can feel the quality construction, and it both looks and feels right at home in your entertainment center. As you can see from the picture the Blumoo is designed to be placed pretty much anywhere near your TV or entertainment center, and it seems to work no matter where you place it too. We'll cover this in a bit but it sort of feels like magic when using it.
Blumoo has a thick cable coming out the back that has three ports at the end: Power, IR and Audio. The IR port is used to extend the range of the IR blaster contained within the Blumoo, and the Audio jack is used to plug into your audio system via standard red and white cables. Once you get the Blumoo connected, which is super easy since it's really only a power and audio cable to connect, you grab the app from the Google Play Store and get the device connected. Since Blumoo is connected with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth 4.0 it only takes a few seconds to pair with the device.
This is about the only place I actually had issues with the Blumoo. For whatever reason my LG G2 would not see the Blumoo at all. It's not that it wouldn't pair with the device, it literally couldn't find it whatsoever. Using a Nexus 4 and a Galaxy S III proved no problem, and Blumoo's tech team wasn't sure what was going on either. This was unfortunate and would have been rather frustrating if the only device I had was the LG G2. Thankfully it wasn't and I was able to carry on with using the device.
Launching the app and connecting to the Blumoo lets you set up a number of remotes, and Blumoo claims to support over 200,000 devices TVs, home theater receivers and more. Blumoo interacts with these receivers via some crazy IR blaster situated on the front of the unit and was able to control all my home theater equipment without even being in front of it. This was the part of the product that felt magic, as I had always thought that IR had to be straight point to point communication.
Each virtual remote that you create looks like a standard remote, including power, volume, channel buttons and more. What was really cool was that you can create your own buttons as well, ones that include macros and multiple button presses in one. Blumoo has an excellent set of support videos here at their website that show you how to do all of it. The interface itself is simple and shows all of your remotes when you first turn it on, clicking on each will give you a full screen view of the remote, and swiping from the left side of the screen will bring you back to the home screen of the app. You can also access the home screen from the buttons on the bottom of the app.
Blumoo gives you a nice TV guide that'll automatically change your TV to the channel selected, so you never have to use that ratty old DVR remote again, or if in my case if you don't have cable it makes finding something to watch just that much easier. Music control is another easy feature of the Blumoo and behaves exactly as a Bluetooth speaker would. Music is streamed from your phone to the Blumoo via Bluetooth and as such is a battery drain, albeit a minor one since it's Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. The advantage here over something like the Chromecast is that you don't have to keep your TV on to use the device. Some may have receivers that have HDMI ports on them so they can get around this, but in my case my receiver is older and doesn't have that, meaning the Blumoo was a saving grace for my poor TV that's often on more often than not during the day just for music streaming.
There's not much I would change about the Blumoo. It's already an excellently designed device with a great app, and it's very feature rich too. I'd love to see an update that brings remote support to the notification shade a la LG, HTC or Samsung's built in remote software so you wouldn't have to open the app every time you want to change something on your TV or whatever. This would bring the convenience factor of the Blumoo to a new level, and that's pretty amazing considering how convenient the device already is. Overall Blumoo is an incredible product, and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a way to easily stream their content to their existing home theater system. Don't forget being able to use your remote from anywhere in your house to control your entire home entertainment center without hassle, which is enough to make a product about on its own! Blumoo is $129.99 from their website.