New York –
a Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup, introduced here this week a hardware
control component to its popular iPhone-app personal universal TV control
The hardware kit (available now at a $99 suggested retail) features
a battery-powered IR transmitter shaped like a pear and a Wi-Fi connection
cable. Together with the iPhone app, the system brings a new level of universal
home-theater control and program navigation to A/V entertainment enthusiasts.
The system will control most TVs, cable boxes, Blu-ray players, A/V
receivers and more.
Advanced content listings are tailored to viewer’s personal
tastes and provide suggestions about shows of interest on multiple platforms at
any given moment, from channels on cable and satellite TV systems to IPTV movie
services. It also allows new ways to engage social networks around TV watching.
“This is not just a remote that replaces all the other remotes on
the table — it is a new way of experiencing TV,” said Alec Marshall, Peel
Technologies marketing VP.
To date, the Peel iPhone app has been available for users to
browse on their phones, but the hardware kit, which is available through retail
partners now, delivers the system functionality to the home theater.
Peel executives said more than 500,000 iPhone users have already
downloaded the program.
For social networking, the system currently offers simple chatting
and Twitter, but the
capability will be updated later in the year to all users to send TV program
recommendations to each other, among other things.
Marshall said the Peel Personal TV is a portal to the discovery
of available content from multiple sources that helps users quickly find
programs they want to watch by presenting content tailored to user interests.
This is achieved using metadata gleaned by analyzing user viewing patterns to
determine frequency and length of time spent watching certain types of
Combining that with user like/dislike input (similar to the way
TiVo works), the system is then able to recommend programs that fit with the
user’s tastes and interests.
The expedited set-time is expected to be a big draw to most
users. Marshall explained that Peel’s goal in designing the platform was to cut
down the setup time to less than five minutes — the setup demonstration actually
took less than 2 minutes — including finding and matching system components
and TV service providers. In contrast, setup times for other brands of
universal remotes on the market can take 20 minutes or more and a PC
The Wi-Fi capability enables using the phone app without the need
to even be in the same room as the TV set.
The free Peel app is currently compatible with iPhones and iPod Touches,
and an iPad app is expected to arrive in June. In addition, the company is
working on an app for Android-based products.
After choosing a show, the Peel interface switches to an
intuitive gesture pad. Volume changes can be made by swiping a finger up or
down. Swiping right or left rewinds or fast-forwards a DVR. Tapping the middle of
the screen will pause the DVR.
Marshall said the kit is positioned to give retailers an
attractive profit margin, and is being distributed through Navarre.