The two are not competitive in our view. We even added specific features to allow screen viewing with Remote Buddy as well in the same release. Going forward while there is some overlap in functionality right now, the two solutions have very different goals.
Remote Buddy will continue to be the best solution for all the things it does best which is controlling specific apps on OS X that aren’t designed otherwise to be controlled remotely. For example if you need to control Safari, Adobe products, etc. then Remote Buddy is what you need.
For the most part, that is not actually what Roomie users needed, and so we built Roomie Agent in part to solve the OS X control issue. A prime example of what Roomie users needed is the VLC control we introduced in Roomie 1.8. Remote Buddy has VLC control as well, but it is very rudimentary one-way control just like infrared, only some basic commands to open a menu, cursor keys. Roomie’s support for VLC meanwhile is as far as we are aware the best in the industry. Tons of useful live feedback, play position swiping, a full guide with access to the entire filesystem and VLC playlists, and the list goes on.
Roomie Agent in this case takes over where the integration with VLC leaves off which is that using VLC as an HTPC solution requires more than just controlling VLC. You also need to make sure the app is launched, wake the OS X system from sleep potentially, set the mouse to the middle of the screen so it doesn’t go back into a screensaver/sleep mode, etc. All of those commands need to be in a macro together with commands to set your receiver input, turn on your TV, etc. Those concepts are totally outside the realm of Remote Buddy, but is exactly what Roomie Agent does and much more.
The same concept applies to many different home theater related apps on OS X such as XBMC and Plex. In those cases, Roomie has already long controlled the apps themselves as solutions, but users get caught in a conundrum of real world problems like: the machine is sleeping, XBMC is not running, I left the mouse in the screen corner, etc. Again in those cases, both XBMC and Plex offer control APIs that Roomie supports with lots of home theater specific functionality such as media identification, play position control, etc. that are totally orthogonal to Remote Buddy.
A key aspect of what we’ve done with Roomie Agent is the ability to use commands to the OS X system as part of Activity Command lists. Actual control of a specific application on OS X is simply a different device to Roomie. One wouldn’t want to control VLC, Plex, or XBMC with basic cursor commands like RB, instead one would want to use the official controls built into those products and provide extensive additional integration like Roomie does.
Going forward, this is only the tip of the iceberg. As you’ve seen Roomie grow over the past two years, Roomie Agent will grow as well with more functionality that is specifically tailored to Roomie and we feel will be critical for using any kind of HTPC solution effectively. Remote Buddy will still be useful for what it does, but if you’re actually using OS X as an HTPC, we don’t think there’s a serious choice to be made between the two.
On a side note regarding pricing, just as the price for the HD Guide Pack went up over time to reflect significant new functionality and yet those who purchased it originally were grandfathered in to the original price, something similar may occur with Roomie Agent.