Quick Impressions: The PS4 Finally Has a Media Remote

Posted Fri Oct 23, 2015 at 05:13 PM PDT by
PDP Universal Media Remote PS4 news

And it does control the power.

Ok, this is going to be quick and rough. I finally got my hands the PDP Universal Media Remote for the PS4, and I have been able to do just enough to be able to pass on some useful information for our readers.

Although well far from perfect, this $30 dollar remote can control the PS4 in a respectable manner, and not (like early remote options) like a keyboard. It can (as promised on the box) power the PS4 on and off, and without the need for a DS4 controller. Power for the PS4 is done just like it is on a DS4 or on a PS3 Remote through the PS button.

Here's a shot of the paired remote:

PS4 PDP Universal Media Remote Paired

I had some early trouble pairing the remote, but I think the problem was that I didn't press the tiny PS4 button on the top left first. The remote (unlike something actually made by Sony) does not come pre-programmed to control Sony devices. The remote has an auto program function, but the codes in the back of the manual are a lot more useful. I was able to program in a TV, AVR, and Uverse box. The Volume punch through function does not work with the an AVR, which seems pretty silly.

PDP Universal Media Remote for PS4 face

There is a green input button, which works for the TV. There is also a dedicated TV power button. I can sort of change inputs on the AVR (with the numbers oddly), but not to any useful inputs. (I'll have to try the learning function).

Most of this secondary device stuff is moot. Really, it's controlling the PS4 that I'm after. Although it occurred to me that it would be nice if this remote could also control a PS3 as well.

Anyway, I was able to use the PS4 Media Player app, Store, Gallery, Netflix, and Amazon Instant without any trouble. In the Media Player app, the remote can be used in the PS4's Quick Menu as well. The remote worked well enough to use HBO GO with the exception of the Options button (which is used for Watch Later and is non-essential for viewing, naviagting, and searching). Play, Pause, FF & RR worked as well.

In Twitch, the Enter button didn't work, but the X button did. That spells usable in my book. A quick look at Hulu (the free tour) should basic navigation and Enter working, but not the Play, Pause cluster. (Furthermore, it seems that Hulu is currently not operable for playback with the remote.) The NBA app worked fine. The FUNimation app worked well.

Spotify worked. The Play, Pause cluster isn't used, but everything works through the directions, Enter, and Circle buttons. If accessing Spoty through the PS4's Quick Menu, the Play, Pause cluster becomes operative.

The YouTube app, however, was a no go, All I could do was start and close it. The same for Vudu.

The remote has Triangle, Circle, X, and Square buttons. (These buttons are laid out in a row, and are used with the other remote functions.) As well as Share, Options, and the PS button; however, there is nothing for L1, L2, L3, R1, R2, R3. Nothing works in YouTube, so I hope that gets updated.

I popped in my Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics Blu-ray disc, and was able to do everything without issue. (Menu navigation, Play, Pause, Stop, Prev, Next, FF, and RW all work just fine.) Moving onto 'Dredd,' and I was a little sad that the remote lacks dedicated buttons for Audio and Subtitle. I was also dismayed to find that the button marked 'Pop Up' under menus, didn't do anything. (In contrast, the Top button under menu does work.) Fortunately, the Square button brings up the Pop-Up menu. Likewise, system level access to the Audio and Subtitle tracks in order is available by pressing (not holding) the Options button. 

PDP Universal Media Remote for PS4 front

Potential buyers will want to know that the remote does not come with batteries. It uses two AAAs, and also puts the PS4 functionality to sleep after 30 minutes of non-use. (The remote requires that the PS4 be at least system 2.55 to work. I'm naturally at 3.10) This sleep function could be a little annoying for media watching.

The Eject button does in fact make the PS4 eject discs.

PDP Universal Media Remote for PS4 angle

One thing that was annoying when programming, and will likely be trouble during use is the size of many of the buttons. The device buttons, for example, are tiny, and I have small fingers. The remote apes a Sony design, but only to a certain point. In terms of media, however, it's already the best thing I've used on the PS4. (Not a fan of the HDMI-CEC). I'm hoping to have a more in-depth write-up after I've had a lot more time with it.

So far it's great to be able to power on and use the PS4 without having to use a controller (with its shy battery life). The remote is Bluetooth to the PS4, so no line of sight is required. Fixing the audio punch through for amps (which would let the volume and mute controls always operate the AVR) should be a priority to fix. Beyond that, I would prefer a more generous layout and button sizes. The materials used could certainly be improved. I'm fairly certain the button labels on the device buttons will wear off sooner rather than later.

If anyone is interested in how the remote works in a specific app, please ask in the comments below and I'll give it a shot.

Tags: games, Review, Media Player app, store, Gallery, Netflix, Amazon Instant, YouTube, pairing, HBO Go, Blu-ray, Twitch, FUNimation, NBA (all tags)