Boing Boing is proudly sponsored by Ray, the super remote!
About a month ago, Boing Boing received a Ray Super Remote in the mail and for a moment we thought we were looking at a new smart phone. From the clean white minimal box it was packaged in, to its sleek glass face, we were impressed by the simplicity and beauty of this new take on an outdated, but important everyday object… the TV remote.
One of the most striking aspects of Ray is that it's not cluttered with a bunch of plastic buttons. Instead, it is a touchscreen. Ray sports smooth Gorilla glass on its front and back, and has an elegant machined aluminum sidebar on the right with just three buttons, which you can use to easily turn the device on and off, hit mute, and control the volume.
The Ray's packaging did not include an instruction booklet. Instead, Ray walks you through the set-up process with its user-friendly touchscreen after you turn it on. It asks about your program and channel preferences as well as more basic questions in order to customize your Ray to work with your equipment. Which premium movie channels do you have? What types of shows do you watch? What are your favorite channels? Who is your cable provider? What devices (TV, DVR, Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox, etc.) do you use? You answer by simply tapping on icons or "yes" and "no" boxes, depending on the question.
Ray is so easy to navigate that even the biggest technophobe on the planet could tap through this process without a sweat. It took 10 minutes before we were completely set up and ready to go with a new remote experience that offers more control, and search and discovery that is lightyears ahead of competition.
So, how well does it work? The answer is very well, indeed. To use Ray, you first wake it from sleep mode by pressing the top button on the side. The touchscreen displays a menu to choose which device you want to use or which genre you are in the mood to watch. We set up our Ray to display TV, DVR, Apple TV, and Fire TV, but you could have a much longer list that could also include things like Roku, DVD, On Demand, Kids (a kid-friendly Ray app), Sports (a sporty Ray app), Soundbar, Media Player, Xbox, and, well, Ray can actually connect to thousands of devices and is constantly upgrading through its built-in WiFi radio as new devices enter the market.
Let's say you choose TV. Ray's touchscreen then displays thumbnail images of what's playing right now on your favorite channels, from HBO to ABC to Syfy. You can also click on the menu icon at the top of your Ray screen to access a general TV guide, or to see a list of what's currently on in a specific genre, such as arts, news, kids, sports, and documentaries. If you instead choose DVR or one of your other devices, you can tap and swipe Ray's touchscreen to control the devices' menus on the TV screen.
Ray works from up to 33 feet away from your home entertainment center, but make sure you don't have anything blocking the way from your Ray to your devices – the infrared signal needs a clear line of sight to control them. Ray comes with a USB power cord and adapter, as well as a simple black charging stand that'll fill up Ray's lithium-ion battery for 10 days at a time. As an added bonus, and stepping stone into the world of smarthome control, you can also control Phillips lights and the Nest Learning Thermostat, but we don't have these family room luxuries so we can't tell you how that works.
Using Ray is remarkably easy, intuitive, and user-friendly, and after four weeks of uninterrupted fuss-free boob-tubing, we are ready to toss our other four remotes in the trash bin. It's our first universal remote, and we're glad we found it.
Learn more about the Ray Super Remote!