What is Apptui?

We’ve taken a different approach to smartphone remotes. Apptui makes your touch device automatically aware of what’s happening on your computer. When you switch applications, you get a new remote (assuming it has been made). The same thing happens in your web browser: go to YouTube, Netflix, 8tracks, etc. on your computer and your phone automatically switches to their custom remotes. It kind of feels like magic.

How do I get Apptui to work?

Things you need:

On your computer:

  1. Apptui desktop application
  2. Apptui browser extension/add-on for Chrome, Firefox or Safari (to get remotes for websites)

On your device:

  1. Apptui mobile app from the App Store or Google Play

You can find detailed setup instructions here.

Why can’t Apptui find my computer?

Things to check:

  1. The Apptui desktop application is installed and running on your computer.
  2. Your phone/tablet and your computer are on the same Wi-Fi network and have access to the Internet.
  3. Your firewall/antivirus software are not blocking Apptui.
  4. Restart your router. Sometimes Bonjour caches the wrong info on your router and restarting it (unplugging the power, waiting a minute or two and plugging it back in) will do the trick.

Windows Firewall troubleshooting

Sometimes Windows Firewall will block Apptui from communicating properly. Make sure that Apptui services are allowed through your firewall if you are having problems connecting.

Windows 7

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System & Security > Windows Firewall
  2. Click Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall
  3. Click Change Settings
  4. Make sure Apptui_socketIO, Apptui_tcp, nw, Wireless Portable Devices and Bonjour Service are checked for Private and (optional) Public

Windows 8 and newer

  1. Press the Windows key and search for “firewall”
  2. Click Windows Firewall
  3. Click Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall
  4. Click Change Settings
  5. Make sure Apptui_socketIOApptui_tcp, nw and Bonjour Service are checked for Private and (optional) PublicWindows firewallStill having trouble?
  1. While in Windows Firewall in the Control Panel, click Advanced Settings
  2. In Inbound Rules, make sure the Apptui_socketIO, Apptui_tcp, nw and Bonjour Service rules are enabled
  3. Make sure that you don’t have any rules/programs blocking ports 8088, 5353, or 5173

OSX Firewall troubleshooting

If your firewall is running (System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall), make sure that you allow incoming connections for node-webkit Helper.

Why is my Apptui icon green/yellow/gray?

ConnectedIf your Apptui icon is green, that’s good. Green means that Apptui is communicating properly. If your icon is green but you can’t see your computer in the app, refer to this troubleshooting topic.

WaitingIf the icon is yellow, Apptui has lost its connection to the network. Make sure you’re connected to the internet (i.e. your Wi-Fi is still working).

LoadingIf the icon is gray, Apptui is attempting to connect to the network. If it stays gray, Apptui can’t connect and you will get a blue error screen and Apptui will quit. If this keeps happening, it means that your system is either blocking Apptui through its firewall or antivirus, or there is a network conflict between Apptui and another program installed on your computer. To unblock Apptui on Windows, read the topic on firewall troubleshooting.

What sites/apps work with Apptui

You can find the full list of remotes here. If that list is missing something, you can always email us a suggestion and we’ll see what we can do! We’ve already built user-requested remotes for Google Music, iHeartRadio, Grooveshark and Spotify.

How do I get website remotes?

To get remotes for specific websites, you need to install your browser’s Apptui extension.

Can I right click?

Yes, and more! The following mouse controls are supported:

  1. Basic mouse movement.
  2. Double click: Click twice.
  3. Right click: Press and hold until pad changes color, then release.
  4. Drag: Press and hold until pad changes color, then drag your finger.

I’m pressing a button and nothing is working! Is it broken?

Maybe. Stranger things have happened. We would greatly appreciate you sending us an email detailing your specific situation so we can figure out what’s going on and fix the problem.

How do I get a remote for a particular site/app?

If a site or app you like to use doesn’t have anything other than Apptui’s default remote then please let us know.

I have a suggestion.

That’s not a question, but we would love to hear from you. Please contact us.

YouTube Remote: Control YouTube With Your Phone

YouTube remoteIt’s kind of frustrating. YouTube has been around since 2005 and is a major part of the modern world in many countries. It probably contains most of the moving pictures and music that you care about. That’s kind of scary, actually.

But when it comes to watching YouTube in real-life situations, no-one seems to have figured it out. We thought we’d take a stab.

Here’s our solution: you get Apptui, you lean back from your computer and Apptui gives you a custom YouTube remote. No need to get up and adjust the volume or press the spacebar to pause. You can watch videos with friends, family, or even just not hunched over a laptop alone for once. We think it works pretty well!

But here’s the real solution: Apptui is more than just a YouTube remote, way more. We know you aren’t going to change how you use your computer or finally show your loved ones that video that you alluded to over Christmas just because you can pause YouTube with your phone, but if you could control everything, that might be worth a look. You can take such a look on our homepage.

Some videos to test your YouTube remote with:

We’ve heard that there are other videos on YouTube, but we have not yet had a chance to check them out. We will let you know if we find any more.

Apptui is available for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. It is also free. If you have any questions/comments or if you have ideas for remotes you’d like to see, let us know at support@apptui.com.

VLC Remote: Control your media files with Apptui

VLC remote

VLC is a great app that has yet to be challenged for the revered title of App That Will Play My Video No I Don’t Know What Format It Is In Nor Do I Care. That being the case, we made sure that it was one of the first remotes we built for Apptui. Along with a bunch of others*, we’ve redesigned our VLC remote and think it’s about time it got its time in the blog spotlight– bloglight. To use the VLC remote, all you need to do is install Apptui, our remote app which is free and cool. Download it here. If that’s not enough, Apptui also has remotes for a bunch of other sites/apps that switch as you go!

 VLC Remote Features

  • Pause/play
  • Fast forward/rewind
  • Fullscreen
  • Open file button for easy access
  • Subtitles toggle

Now I know I said that VLC can open a lot of files. To prove this, I’ve collected information from VLC’s official site and assembled this easy-to-read list showing all the available input and file formats supported:

UDP/RTP Unicast, UDP/RTP Multicast, HTTP / FTP, MMS, TCP/RTP Unicast, DCCP/RTP Unicast, File, DVD Video 1, CD / VCD, SVCD 2, Audio CD (no DTS-CD), DVB (Satellite, Digital TV, Cable TV), MPEG encoder 4, MPEG (ES,PS,TS,PVA,MP3), AVI, ASF / WMV / WMA, MP4 / MOV / 3GP, OGG / OGM / Annodex, Matroska (MKV), Real, WAV (including DTS), Raw Audio: DTS, AAC, AC3/A52, Raw DV, FLAC, FLV (Flash), MXF, Nut, Standard MIDI / SMF, Creative™ Voice, MPEG-1/2, DIVX (1/2/3), MPEG-4 ASP, DivX 4/5/6, XviD, 3ivX D4, H.261, H.263 / H.263i, H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC, Cinepak, Theora, Dirac / VC-2, MJPEG (A/B), WMV 1/2, WMV 3 / WMV-9 / VC-1 1, Sorenson 1/3 (Quicktime), DV (Digital Video), On2 VP3/VP5/VP6, Indeo Video v3 (IV32), Real Video 1/2 , Real Video 3/4, MPEG Layer 1/2, MP3 – MPEG Layer 3, AAC – MPEG-4 part3, Vorbis, AC3 – A/52 (Dolby Digital), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus), MLP / TrueHD”>3, DTS, WMA 1/2, WMA 3 1, FLAC, ALAC, Speex, Musepack / MPC, ATRAC 3, Wavpack, Mod (.s3m, .it, .mod), TrueAudio (TTA), APE (Monkey Audio), Real Audio 2, Alaw/µlaw, AMR (3GPP), MIDI 3, LPCM, ADPCM, QCELP, DV Audio, QDM2/QDMC (QuickTime), MACE.

So if you’re like me and have thousands of encoded .nut video files showing timelapses of deciduous tree growth, you’re good to go. Happy VLC Remote-ing!

* More on this soon, but the current list of redesigned remotes is Google Music, 8tracks, Songza, Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, VLC remote, Prezi, Spotify, Pandora, Grooveshark, Soundcloud, Facebook, Tumblr, Hulu, Twitch and Pinterest. Others on the way soon!

Twitch Remote: Master Twitch.tv With Your Phone

Twitch remote

Yesterday I was walking to my local grocer and a 40-year-old woman turned to me and said, “I wish there was a Twitch remote so that I could watch all my favorite Let’s Players, Speedrunners, Marathoners and emergent interactive chat bots from the comfort of my bed or couch.” This happens nearly every day.

So here it is! Search streams, browse channels/games, pause/play, volume control and more, all at your fingertips.

So what is Twitch? Twitch.tv is one of the best (and definitely biggest) livestreaming sites out there. Primarily focused on gaming, Twitch.tv is an offshoot of streaming pioneer Justin.tv and home to 45 million viewers watching over 600,000 broadcasters. If you go there right now, you’ll see a few channels with tens of thousands of viewers. It’s always like that. People love games.

Although it’s old news, one of our favorite streams is Twitch Plays Pokemon. What started as thousands of users controlling a single instance of Pokemon via chat commands has now evolved into a monster multigame interactive betting/adventure experience. It’s pretty crazy. It doesn’t stop there: randomized M.U.G.E.N. automated battledome/play casino Saltybet, 13-year-old fantasy MMORPG RuneScape streamers and fancy brand new turn-based virtual trading card game megahit Hearthstone. That’s a whole lotta words that just barely make sense.



What is Apptui? Apptui is the app we made that lets you control your computer (and everything on it) with your tablet or smartphone. We also build custom remotes like our Twitch remote that automatically switch based on the site/application you’re using. You can get Apptui for free here.

Alternatives to Cable TV: A World of Options

The Internet is really cool. It used to be that to entertain yourself in front of a screen you had to pay a big company every month to get a wire installed that let you watch a handful of  channels. Now, you can pay that same big company every month to get access to history’s biggest network of enjoyable content, on demand and 24/7. The choice appears to be a no-brainer, so why are people still paying for cable? Aren’t there alternatives to cable TV?

It turns out that Big Cable still has a few powerful advantages: initial runs of expensive, well-produced TV shows and live sports broadcasting.

Things are changing, and this post will explain why these advantages are quickly eroding and show you some of the more popular options for cutting cable.

Alternatives to Cable TV



  • You probably already know about Netflix
  • Thousands of commercial-free movies and TV shows for a reasonable price
  • More and more original and exclusive shows
  • Only available in select countries and some catalogues have poor selection



  • Lots of shows and movies, often added at a faster pace than Netflix
  • Free and Paid accounts have commercials
  • US only

…and more!

  • There are lots of shows that are streamable for free on broadcaster websites, Amazon Prime, iTunes and more. Navigating these is a bit of a pain, but thankfully sites like CanIStream.it help streamline the process.

Sports are a different beast. At this point, live game broadcasts are really the only thing holding most sportsfans to cable. Thankfully, most major sports have realized that they’re missing out on a large number of fans who really don’t want to get cable.

Unthankfully, sports streaming packages are subject to what they call “blackouts,” where local market or nationally televised games are unavailable. It is unfortunate. Still, if you live outside of your favorite team’s local market, these options could be ideal.

NBA League PassNBA League Pass

  • Live, archived, condensed games and highlights
  • Multi-game viewing, stats
  • Note: NBA International League Pass is not subject to blackout restrictions!

NHL GameCenter LIVENHL GameCenter LIVE

  • Access to the NHL Vault, with Classic games and full-length replays

NFL GamePass

NFL GamePass

  • NFL RedZone, condensed replays, archives
  • For Canadians, check out this post which has some tips on getting the full experience


  • Multi-game viewing, live DVR, and more
  • MLB.tv Premium with mobile device support and home/away choice

Football/Soccer/World Cup?

  • Right now this world is still a minefield
  • For the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, this post should help you find where you can watch the games online in your country

HDTV Antennas

  • Did you know that there are dozens of completely free HD channels broadcast over the air? They’re practically waiting for you to watch them; an ideal example of alternatives to cable TV. To take advantage, you’ll need an HDTV over the air (OTA) antenna. The Wirecutter has a great rundown of the best ones to get.
  • You can even get an OTA DVR like Tablo to make your cable-less experience even more like (the good parts of) cable.
  • Your computer
    • We really think that you might already have all you need to watch your alternatives to cable TV.
  • Set-top boxes
    • Roku, Apple TV, etc. with some restrictions.
  • Mobile devices
    • If you don’t have a TV or like to watch stuff on the go, most if not all of the services mentioned above have mobile apps available on all major platforms.
Getting Control

If you decide to use your computer as a replacement for a set-top box (or even as a replacement for a TV altogether), you’ll find that controlling everything at a distance is a bit of an issue.

That’s why we’ve created Apptui. Apptui turns your phone or tablet into a remote that can control your entire computer. Not only that, we’ve built Apptui so that you get specific remotes depending on what app/site you’re using. Watching something on Netflix? We have a remote for that. Same for Hulu and many more.

Alternatives to cable TV