Daily Blog – Sumit Chawla – May 9, 2008: BLUETOOTH IN THE HOME THEATER.

My first encounter with Bluetooth was when the PS3 found a place in my home theater.  I, like many consumers, was upset with Sony’s move to disinclude an IR receiver which rendered the use of an existing universal remote impossible.  This spawned a new market for devices which would enable IR compatibility with the PS3.  I did not go down this route, instead opting to purchase the optional Bluetooth remote from Sony.

The remote was difficult to get used to. It was not backlit, and the button layout was different from the remote I was used to.  It took some time to gain familiarity with the location of the freqeuntly used buttons in the dark.  The part which I found amusing was that, out of habit, I kept leaning forward to point the remote at the PS3 when I first got it.  This was of course unnecessary: Bluetooth does not require the device you are communicating with to be in the line of sight.  There is a distance limit, typically 30 feet or so, but that’s all.  This part I found refreshing.  Yes, there are aftermarket options that you can use, IR repeaters and such, but here was something new and simple which made the operation convenient.

The question is whether Bluetooth will be embraced by other A/V manufacturers.  IR control is mature and probably cheaper compared to a Bluetooth implementation.  But with the proliferation of Bluetooth devices in the mobile space, cost of such devices will come down eventually.  No need for line of sight is but one benefit.  Two-way communication is another advantage which could open up a new realm of possiblities.  We’ll see if the PS3 ends up being a trend setter in this regard!