Nov 09 AT 8:15 PM Taylor Wimberly 57 Comments

Peel Smart Remote knows TV better than your cable provider

Peel Smart Remote

Do you hate your cable or satellite TV channel guide? I have a feeling the guys at Peel do because they built the ultimate remote application that just destroys the boring-old-school listings. Peel Smart Remote is a free application in the Android Market that helps you find what to watch and controls your home entertainment devices (if you have the Galaxy Tab Plus 7.0).

Today we got some hands-on time with the Peel app and we walked away surprisingly amazed. I just moved to Austin and have Time Warner Cable at home and it’s always extremely frustrating to flip through the channel grid and find what’s on. Google TV helped this problem a little with it’s superior search, but even that experience has not impressed me.

With Peel I was setup in minutes and instantly discovering TV shows and movies I wanted to watch. I’ve only been using it a single day, but Peel sets the bar for how a touch-enabled smart remote should work.

Thanks to the IR port on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, you can easily scroll through suggested content or browse listings for TV, movies, and sports and then tune to the channel with a single click. Everything is customizable so you can pick the content channels that match your taste. Over time Peel learns what types of shows you like to watch and can recommend similar content you might enjoy.

Each show listing allows you to view the channel number, read the episode description, favorite or cut the program, and share it via social networks. Hardcore TV watchers like Clark will enjoy the First Run filter which only shows new episodes.

Unfortunately, the smart remote part of the app only works with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus at the moment. We tried it on the Sony Tablet S that also features an IR port, but it was a no go.

That means most of you will have to look at the channel number and then physically punch the numbers on your remote. This might not sound that bad, but after using Peel it makes using my old remote feel like I’m walking over to the TV and changing the channel.

Peel sells a universal remote controller that works over WiFi for $99, but it only appears to support iOS at this time. I suspect Android support is on the way and hopefully Peel can add support for Google TV so no additional equipment is need.

Only 5,000 Android users have installed the app, so be sure to go grab it and send in your feedback. What kind of features would you like to see in the ultimate smart remote app?

Update: According to Hong the “droid dude at peel”, Google TV integration is already underway.


Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Ray

    This should be something that could work without ir. I control my directv receiver with my Android phone. Why isn’t this a solution for more web enabled receivers? Seems like a no-brained.

    • Hong

      Ray, the problem is companies like DISH, Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner, etc. they don’t open up their APIs to 3rd party developers. DirecTV is probably the most “friendly” among them but it’s still not a full-featured API.

  • Hong

    Yes, a DEEP GoogleTV integration is underway.

    BTW, thanks for the awesome review!

    More goodies are coming out ;)

    droid dude at peel

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Google TV integration on the way? I wonder if you beat Logitech and their Honeycomb update for my Revue haha!

      • Hong

        We are also waiting Logitech to update Revue box.

        However, our Sony GoogleTV has the latest OS already.

        So… stay tuned…

    • thenefield

      Does this mean the application will support being installed on Google TV or will include the ability to control your Google TV directly from the application on any device (not via IR)?

      • Hong_Peel

        Control GoogleTV directly from within the Peel app

  • WarDrake

    sounds great, when will you have support for other devices with an IR port?

    • Hong_Peel

      When other devices w/ IR port opens up their IR API, we will support it.

  • tCynic

    Hmmmm… Android market is telling me that the app isn’t compatible with my Xoom. But I’m not sure why that is… it’s seems to be tablet compatible.

    • Hong_Peel

      Current model of Xoom does not have a built-in IR.

      We are releasing future updates for all other honeycomb tablets :)

      • ZRod

        Any ETR when I can use this with Google TV =) I would kill to have this right now!

        • Hong_Peel

          Sorry no timeline but we are hard working on this. Plus, we need a few more GoogleTV SDK APIs to make it truly awesome ;)

          • ZRod

            Ha I figured but thought I’d give it a shot. I can’t wait though for the day I can use this w/ my Logitech Revue!

  • _j_

    You missed to mention that it only works with US providers..

    • Hong_Peel

      Yes, EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) data is US only.

      Canadian EPG support is coming.

      As for other countries in the world, the licensing of their EPG data is outrageously expensive.
      It’s simply not economical to provider EPG support outside North America at the moment.

      This is not a technical issue.

  • falltime

    Honestly this app is horrible – you cant even get a standard grid of listings. Are you sure this post isnt an advert?

    • Hong_Peel

      We at Peel think grid of listings is a horrible way to discover content.
      If our recommendation algorithm is good enough, you should never need the grids.

      • falltime

        Well that would be fine if your recommendation algorithm was perfect – it isnt. In fact it seems pretty limited; it appears to be based mainly on broad genres, not individual show choices and while the recommendations may improve over time – until that happens, it would be nice to have the OPTION of a grid to easily find non-recommended shows.

        Sorry the app is terrible as it is currently configured. I’ll try it again when and if it is updated. Good Luck

    • andy

      This app is virtually no use to me until it can display a standard grid of listings as an option. I dont mid the app suggesting programs but I rarely like any of the recommendations or want to see what else is on and must resort to a grid listing on to search every channel . Peel also by default takes me to non HD channels of its recommended programs rather than the HD channels.
      . I’ve selected soccer as a favorite but it finds nothing. Is it even searching the soccer channels like GOLTV or Fox soccer+/Fox soccer channel? I’ve no way of knowing. Even if it was it would need to be able to pick English football and pick the few teams i want to watch to be useful So have to resort to titantv.

      Ideally i want a listing grid like titantv combined with remote control in my android app. I havent found an android app that combines a usable tv guide with a usable remote yet. I’m waiting for the first company to produce oneone.

  • Dylan Andersen

    Please just get it working with Google TV, Peel. IR is still shitty because it has to be pointed at the TV. Ugh.

    • Clark Wimberly

      Doesn’t the Revue use IR?

      • ZRod

        The revue uses IR to communicate with your TV/AVR/STB. It uses wifi to communicate w/ phones and tablets. Thus, no pointing needed.

  • Carol Epstein

    It’s 11-11-11 and yesterday evening I heartily announced, “tomorrow is 11-11-11!” to my roommate. “I wonder what I’ll be doing at 11:11?” He then asked me, “will you be doing something epic?” and I said, “Nah, I’ll probably be just watching tv.” Well, today, on 11-11-11 I downloaded PEEL onto my Android, so now I can be more informed as to what to watch!! How cool is that?!

  • pritams

    This device really has some potential..just released too early..

  • Tizzle

    Does PEEL allow the device to store multiple TVs (and cable boxes) in memory, or do I have to go through the set up process again when I switch rooms or go to a friend’s house?

  • CharlieBoy

    Of all the apps I have ever encountered on any platform, Linus, Windows, OSX, IOS or Android; the Peel implementation on the Galaxy 7.0 is the most useless and poorly thought out i have ever had the misfortune to encounter. I bought the Galaxy 7.0 to use as a universal remote control.
    1) Unfortunately i do not live in the USA and no where did the reviews mention that in order to change channels on your cable or Sat you had to be in the USA.
    2) My Onkyo amp is not fully supported so only about 20% of its features are usuable. Same with my new Samsung smart Hub TV.
    3) There is no piece of equipment that i own that i can get to be fully controlable by the peel software. This is mainly due to the crazy notion of not using remote codes for specific kit but just using the power button.
    But where it really does it is because of this trully appaling software, Samsung did not write a universal remote app themselves so the IR in the Galaxy 7.0 cannot be used as a remote control for 95% of the planet. If i want to use my Galaxy 7.0 as a remote i need to buy something like Touchsquid software and then buy an IR dongle as only Peel has the ability to use the IR in the Galaxy 7.0.
    If anyone out side of the US is looking at Peel forget it. If you want a universal remote do not go near peel. If you want an EPG for the USA that can do basic things like change channel and volume on a limited set of kit them you might be ok. What a real shame……

  • Gru

    Any updates on Canadian Guide being available? Galaxy Tab 2 started selling in Canada, and Samsung included Peel app with it, however it doesn’t seem to work for ‘smart’ guide. Thanks!

  • kats

    How can I use this on my telus satellite? Don’t know the box brand can’t find it!!!! set up my t.v but not satellite!

  • Steve

    Still no Canadian bell tv support…does not work correctly

  • peter

    just bougvht galaxy tab 2 10.1 and gave peel a try, wasnt what i bought it for but saw the app. took no time to set it up and it found my sony tv, the motorola dvr box and set up my eastlink channel system for my canadian location. tryed playing with it for about an hour and had no problems . it is fun and easy to navigate.
    The only ploble i have is it looks like it only loaded the basic cable guide and i do not see any way of adding extra pacages that are purchased throught the cable provider. ie: movie network or kids packages.
    I can still bring up the regulalar cable menu and search like the old remote, but the picture apps would be soo much sweeter if i could add the extra packages.
    *** so far , i give this app a 9,, but i havent tryed any other to compair.

  • mike

    This is a great app. My only complaint is I haven’t been able to figure out if it’s customizable. Meaning I don’t like just having the very limited pop up controls that are enabled by default. If I was to use this idont want to have to constantly reach for my other remote.

  • bell viewer

    Looks like a great app. Doesn’t work with my Bell 6131 though.

  • mo

    This was a selling feature for me to buy a samsung galaxy tab2….but will not control by bell expressvu 4100 set. Sony tv works fine…..shame it looks like an otherwise great appp….
    Samsung needs to put a big disclaimer stating only some devices are supported…
    Dissapointing to say the least.

    • SamsungTVuser

      Yeah, mine works during initial setup of the TV and Stereo, and then stops working. I have to keep deleting the data files from the app, and starting over. I don’t know why this is happening, but if anyone knows how to work around this place contact me via

  • pburt01

    Is there any way to input a specific vendor code into the Peel app? I have a Yamaha Natural Sound RX-E100 Stereo that Peel cannot find. However, I know the code that works but cannot find a way to enter it into the app. Using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

  • Cassy

    I just purchased a Galaxy Note 10.1 which has the Peel app pre-installed. I went through the setup, it was a very user friendly process. My 3 year old TV was found no problem, but when attempting to connect my cable box (enTone powered by HickoryTech) there were only two codes that I had to keep “retrying” and on about the 12th “retry” the channel would change signifying that the setup was complete and the app would start. Trouble is, all the buttons are unresponsive and every so often a random button sends me to channel 1. I did not purchase the tablet for this feature nor was I aware of its existence prior to buying it so I cannot justify being upset over it not working for me. From what I can tell, this app is pretty awesome, but it would be even more awesome if I could get mine to work! Does anyone know what the problem could be? Is it a programming error within the app or could it be something that I am doing wrong?

  • Harry C

    I am trying to play with it. But the last two days is giving me “unfortunately smart remote has stopped”. Any ideas? Is this a h/w or a s/w problem?

    • joey

      Same thing is happening to me please help

  • Tim

    How do i change the channel and volume on my tab?

  • Axis Mann

    Works great some of the time. Not so great at other times. I’ve had my peel app crash on several occasions. I continue to experience trouble configuring the app for my Phillips TV. It works sometimes but not others. I tried using it with my Roku box but it wasn’t intuitively obvious what to do to configure it to work with both Roku and my Phillips TV. Something still screwy with that combination. I have it set up for two different TV’s in two different rooms. The transition between devices isn’t quite seemless. For some reason tablet doesn’t stay in sync with the seperate devices so might require some fiddling with setting when you switch devices. However, the crashes are the most annoying feature. Despite the problems, I give them an A double plus for their effort so far! I like it!

  • Axis Mann

    Single digit channels don’t select very well on my little GE TV. For example, a zero needs to preceed the 9 when I select channel 9. However, the peel app just sends the code for 9 which isn’t sufficient to change the channel. As a work around, I send zero using the little slide out tray before tapping the tile for a single digit channel tile. It’s a little crude but still effective. I haven’t figured out yet if the feature that allows for trying other codes for a particular function can be used to correct this particular problem.

  • joey

    I was real impressed but now my peel will not open at all only downside to this app

  • kwyjibo

    Any update on if smart guide support for Canada is coming? App works great but not being able to bring up the guide is painful. Im using it on a cisco set top box with telus optik

  • marcel durango

    No hay el codiggo del lcd riviera les agradeseria si me pudieran ayudar gracias

  • Evie

    I can’t find the brand of my Telus pvr to continue set up. Anyone know what it is?

  • Diego

    None of my home devices are on the list, it will be good a way to test all the codes to see if someone is compatible, but you can’t try all the codes.

  • rue

    i got a skycable digibox and it does not work how to fix it? wat brand was i suppose to put?? help

    • sonny

      Yes me too!
      I also have Skycable Digibox.
      I tried choosing “Digibox” then tried “Skycable”.
      Both didn’t work.

      • Karla

        Me too! I tried selecting Sky Cable and it tried to set up but the codes didn’t work. When I selected digibox it didn’t even go to the set up

        • Emy Pena

          Skaycable Digibox is not really a Digibox but a rebranded CoShip box.
          So choose Coship instead of Digibox

  • Martin Lorberg

    Unfortunately, Peel Smart Remote has stopped. I have cleared the cache. It won’t uninstall so I can reinstall it. How do I fix this error?

    • peelme

      Same problem… Tried everything I could come up with. Why I’m on this site????

  • sonny

    Help w/ Skycable Digibox!

  • Board

    Might be nice if Peel would ever answer… I reported that the “select” key for time warner’s scientific atlanta box/remote doesn’t work AND that their app won’t control a Coby t.v.. And they’ve never bothered to reply. Sad!!!!

  • Deb Sheffler

    So the remote won’t work with Dish?

  • tin

    For the skycable digibox, coship worked for me. Just keep searching for the code, i had about five tries then everything worked.