Open your garage door with your iPhone

A new line of garage door openers announced at CES12 use a RF transmitter, Internet gateway and iOS app to allow you to operate your garage door from your iPhone.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

One novel thing that caught my eye from CES 2012 was the announcement of an iPhone-compatible garage door opener -- of all things.

Liftmaster announced its new 8360 and 8550 garage door openers (below) at CES12 with built-in RF transmitters. Called MyQ, the included radio communicates with other MyQ-enabled devices in your home.

The brains of the operation is the 828LM Internet Gateway accessory (below) that plugs into your Internet router via Ethernet (video). The 828LM is the bridge that puts the 8360 and 8550 openers on the Internet where, of course, anything is possible.

In addition to sending signals to a MyQ-enabled garage-door opener, the 828LM can also control the Liftmaster Remote Light Control (825LM) and Remote Light Switch (823LM) enabling you to turn on the lights in your house from your iPhone. It's fun, but pretty rudimentary as far as home automation goes.

Liftmaster mentions that more MyQ-enabled accessories are in the works in this video by Information Week's David Berlind at CES12:

My garage door opener's remote is on the fritz (tried everything) but the the opener itself still works from the button inside the house. It's making this new Liftmaster rig is looking sexier by the minute. The problem is that the radio and gateway that enable the iPhone control isn't backwards-compatible with my old-school opener (or any other opener for that matter).

If you want the cool, new features, you'll have to pony up $350-$500 to have it installed by a Liftmaster dealer.

But, is it worth it? It depends.

It's probably worth splurging on a new Internet-connected Liftmaster unit if you're building a new house, replacing a garage door opener that just died (ahem!), or if you're independently wealthy. Personally, I'm going to research the (much-less expensive) DIY Arduino route first.

What do you think? Do you want one?

Update: The installation video (and product page) mentions that an "annual activation fee is required." Liftmaster tells me that the first year of service is free, and that each additional year is $14.99 -- or roughly just over a dollar a month starting with year two.

Seriously, an annual fee to open my garage door? You've got to be kidding me!

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