I have never liked the sleek Siri Remote that Apple delivered with the fourth generation Apple TV HD in 2015 and continue to offer as a standard option for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K. But only recently did I spot a replacement that seemed worthwhile: Feature101 Button Remote for Apple TV.
Function101 Remote control Positive
This $ 29.95 infrared remote control offers almost all the features of the Siri Remote when you control an Apple TV – or at least the ones I care about. Your list can vary significantly! Because the Function1
(Siri Remote includes an infrared transmitter that lets you control the volume of supported devices. However, Siri Remote lacks a silent button, and unless you have a chain of HDMI-CEC supporting devices configured correctly, you can not use it to beat others. devices on or off.)
The Function 101 remote control lacks a touchpad, which is a big bonus for me. I always have issues with Siri Remote’s touch controls. Even though I use Siri Remote for five years, I rarely press the fast forward / fast forward area / fast forward. I have no problem with other touch devices, including the Remote app on an iPhone, so I do not think it’s me.
With the Function101 remote control, you can press the honesty-to-goodness buttons to skip 10 seconds forward or backward, as well as separate buttons to fast-forward and rewind – which move forward while you hold them. A compass design with four arrows near the top controls navigation and other functions, with an OK button located in the middle to make selections or confirm actions.
The molded, rubberized device has a great hand feel, and I love the push of a button, accuracy and flexibility. It is among the finest remote controls I have ever owned for any device, and it is a manufacturing achievement to combine this level of quality with such a low price.
Function101 Button Remove Negatives
A few things are missing due to technology and design limitations. Because the Function101 remote depends on infrared communication with Apple TV, it cannot support Siri voice control. (The technology to enable such support will pay off significantly.) I rarely asked Siri to do things on the Apple TV. One of the most common was “rewind 10 seconds” when I was frustrated with the trackpad – and I no longer need it. Other people I know use voice control all the time, and that makes this replacement a no-brainer for them. (On the few occasions I want to use Siri, I just swipe down to reveal the Control Center on the iPhone and bring up the Remote app. You can also use regular old Siri in iOS, iPadOS and macOS to issue commands to Apple TV. Also .)
You also can not swipe to scrub back and forth over a streaming video the entire length, something my younger child says is what makes her continue to use Siri Remote. I do not mind holding down a button on the Function101 remote control for the same effect.
Because it is an infrared controller, you need a line of sight for your audio system or TV and for your Apple TV. This may mean rejecting your layout. There is also no TV button on the control, which means you can not use Apple TV’s app switches, which is a bit annoying, but which is not offset by the many other benefits I find with it. You can also not press any button, as you can with a light touch on the Siri Remote’s touchpad, to see the current screen saver’s location.
Although the Function101 remote works out of the box with any Apple TV, initial setup with TVs and sound fields and the like can be cumbersome because the remote lacks both a way to program it remotely and the number buttons. On numeric input remote controls, typically look up your model on a TV, receiver, or audio bar in a manual or electronic guide, and then enter a series of numbers and tests until you find the correct infrared control set. Each consumer electronics brand typically has multiple sets used across devices.
Some vague instructions on the Function101 website explain that to achieve the same effect, first put the remote control in setup mode, then hold down or press a button repeatedly while carefully making sure you have a field of view of the device. If the volume control works with a given code that the remote control cycles through, you are ready and press OK. I tried this repeatedly with an old Yamaha receiver where I directed all A / V audio output, and basically failed to make it work.
I contacted customer support, who was overwhelmed by questions due to the volume of first shipments. It took two weeks to get an answer, but in the meantime I used all the Apple TV features for the remote. When I finally got an answer, it included an ugly apology, a direct phone number and step-by-step written advice that was somewhat easier to understand than the instructions on the company’s page. I had it to check the receiver just a few minutes after that. Yes, it was a user error, but magnified by the support page’s poor documentation.
(The trick that solved my confusion? You have to watch your audio device carefully while holding down or pressing the right button to promote codes. There are many codes to go through, so holding down a button makes the most sense. If you miss adding notice the volume change within a two second window, or if you do not release the button quickly, you will need to scroll again.)
Is the Function101 button remotely right for you?
The rest of my family does not love the Function101 remote control, because they want the Siri voice control and the app switch. Luckily, I did not follow my instinct and took a hammer to our Siri Remote after receiving the Button Remote, so that family members can still use the one that came with the Apple TV box.
But for anyone who wants to comfortably press a well-designed button to control the Apple TV, I highly recommend it. It’s my favorite purchase in 2020 that did not come from Apple.