Universal Electronics has announced its own take on Apple’s divisive Apple TV Remote that’s “specifically developers and designed” for cable, satellite, and MVPD (multichannel video program distributor) customers, according to the company (via The Verge).
The UEI Remote uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity together with Infrared to provide universal control, and offers Apple TV users content search and control via Siri and a program guide button for live TV viewing functions, along with separate volume and channel rockers and traditional media playback buttons.
In addition to featuring Apple’s MFi authentication chip for secure connectivity with Apple TV, the remote also packs an accelerometer and ambient light sensor to automatically backlight the keys in low light environments when the remote is picked up or moved.
“We’re excited that customers worldwide will soon be able to enjoy this new remote, designed specifically for the growing number of MVPDs offering Apple TV 4K to their subscribers,” said Paul Arling, CEO, Universal Electronics Inc. “This remote offers convenient features to quickly access the EPG or channel surf live programming available through the MVPD’s app on Apple TV 4K.”
Third-party alternatives to Apple’s deeply unpopular Apple TV Remote aren’t new. Last year we saw Swiss telco Salt launch an alternative remote control for the Apple TV 4K set-top boxes that it includes in its domestic broadband TV bundle. Then, in July, Function101 launched a $30 variant for U.S. the consumer market (there’s no Siri button included on that one though).
UEI’s remote won’t be available for consumers to buy when it launches early next year. Instead, it’s being offered directly to cable companies that include an Apple TV 4K as part of a streaming video package.