Since we recently purchased an Apple TV, one of the most pleasant surprises has been the ability to use our iOS devices as a remote. Appearing to be a minor footnote, the Apple TV is burdensome to use with the stock remote. Check below the jump for our reasoning.
As an avid user of TiVo for years, we have become accustomed to using quality remotes. The Apple TV's remote certainly looks nice, but makes using the Apple TV cumbersome at best. Using the included remote means that you must be within the line of site of your Apple TV and have the patience to use the tiny buttons. Anyone with slightly normal to large hands we think will find the included remote a real burden to use. While we certainly appreciate the good looks of the Apple remote, its super thin design means that it is very easy to loose in a couch and never find again. Worse still, if you are a real techy, it is just another remote that you have to keep up with unless you spring for an expensive universal remote.
Thankfully, Apple's free remote app means that we can use our iPhone or iPad as a remote for our Apple TV obviating the need to keep up with the thin aluminum model it came with. Where the iOS remotes really shine, is in text entry. If you have every tried setting up, much less searching for, movie titles with the old hunt and search method, you will appreciate being able to use your software keyboard for text input. That feature was a pleasant surprise when we were using our iPhone as a remote late one night while trying to search for Top Gear.
What we suggest is ditching your Apple TV remote and using your iPod, iPhone or iPad as a remote. That way you can pause and play your television from anywhere you have your home WiFi. Doing so will make the Apple TV experience far better and remove the frustration of moribund remote design.