Peel has announced a new hardware accessory that allows iPhone users to control their home entertainment system from the company’s Peel TV discovery app. Released in October, the free Peel app provides a simple TV guide based on personalized content using user preferences and tailored recommendations to allow users to view programming and discover shows that they are interested in. The application provides detailed show information such as time, channel, lead actors and a synopsis and also includes integration with Facebook and Twitter for sharing favorite shows. The Peel Universal Control accessory allows the Peel app to be used to control a home entertainment system in a program-oriented fashion instead of simply channel-surfing. Rather than connecting directly to the iPhone, the Peel Universal Control is a separate device that is placed within line-of-sight of the user’s home entertainment devices and communicates with the iPhone application over Wi-Fi to transmit IR commands to the system. Users can simply fire up the Peel app and use a simple gesture-based interface to select programming and control volume, menu systems and more right from the iPhone. The app can recommend top viewing choices from a user’s available sources based on their individual viewing patterns and preferences and once a show is selected the app is designed to be used intuitively for adjusting volume and navigating PVR functions without having to look at the iPhone.
Peel has not yet announced pricing for the Peel Universal Control and is currently running a social media campaign to help determine hardware pricing based on user feedback. A limited quantity of units will be directly available from Peel for auction and once that quantity has been sold Peel Universal Control will be available in major online and retail stores. Peel Universal Control works with iPhone OS 3 and above and supports controlling a wide variety of home media devices ranging from traditional TVs and set-top boxes to the Apple TV, Tivo and Roku. The Peel discovery app is available from the App Store as a free download.