Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ReTUNES. The Android iTunes remote control review.

I like my new HTC ONE M8 but I really don't have any music on it. I know it has an awesome audio processor and it probably sounds good but it doesn't carry my large iTunes library. More importantly, it doesn't stream music to my 12 speaker set-up like my iPhone. For me, Google's Music is not a suitable substitute for iTunes. You can't Chromecast to multiple audio receivers simultaneously or have multiple clients play your library at the same time (through Match or Network sharing). Thus, iTunes is still relevant. At home, I still rely on my multi-room, multi-speaker iTunes Airplay set-up. I like to listen to music across my three floor house in various rooms and I use my iPhone or iPad to control the music. Now, there is an option for Android and it works pretty good with the HTC ONE. That app is called ReTunes.

ReTunes is basically a smartphone remote control for iTunes. Meaning, it will allow you to control a computer running iTunes. It is the Android equivalent of the iOS Remote Control app that Apple provides for i-devices.If you have a centralize iTunes server with multiple AirPlay set-up, this app is pretty much it for Android users. The user experience is comparable to Apple remote app.

I think it is best to go over screenshots to discuss some of the functionalities.

First of all, you need to enable the iTunes remote control via a numeric key pairing. Simple set-up. You also have to be on the same Wi-Fi subnet.

You then select the paired iTunes machine/server. You can pair multiple computers and I've paired it to three. I don't know what the maximum number is but I doubt most people will have more than three iTunes servers running in their household.

Playback, track, searching, selection is the same as you would use on your desktop but in a smartphone UI. You can even enable visualization, shuffle,etc. 

It does an excellent job as a remote control. What else would you want? Well, for  me, the primary reason to use this is to control my Airplay speakers. I love how I am listening to music in my living room and select the basement to simultaneously play in the basement. As  I walk down the stairs, I can shut off the living room while the song is still playing. Once I free up the living room, my wife or anyone else can initiate control over the living room.

Lastly, one surprising feature is how ReTunes picks up my iTunes Radio station.

There you have it. One really good iTunes remote app for the Android ecosystem. If you are Android user stuck on iTunes, this is the app you should have on your primary homescreen. It is that good.


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