Universal Remotes: Some Things to Consider

Almost all of us have about 8 “remote” remote locations these days. Every new component you buy comes with one, but none of them are “universal” because there is always a feature on one device other remote controls that do not have their own button. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use one remote control on all your devices? I agree!

There are so many universal in the market these days that it is almost impossible to surpass them all here. So I will hit the high points and let you decide. I will select a few popular types / models and look at a few points that will help me decide or resist them.

One thing you need to understand is what the ‘learning’ remote control is. That means you can set the remote control to read other remote control signals: set it right, direct another remote to it, press a button on that remote, and the remote reading control saves that signal.

Now any button you set up on the reading remote sends that same signal. This way even if your universal remote does not have a ‘Uninstall’ button, we can still send that signal.

All the remote controls listed here read b / c which is the only way to be truly universal.

Many remote controls these days also allow you to use macros. That way if you want to watch a movie, w / with the click of a few buttons, you can turn on the TV, stereo to DVD player, etc.

Also, they usually have timers to turn on and off the TV while you are out of town for example.

Large LCD: Sony RM-AV3000

This remote was a ‘big boy’ on the block for a long time. It does it all and it looks cool to do. The two main obstacles in this model are size and buttons.

Because it is so large, it is difficult to use it with one hand – you cannot access the remote control to press certain buttons or parts of the LCD. The next time you watch TV, look at how often you use one hand on the controller and consider quitting.

This model was more expensive, but it got better.

Internet: Harmony SST-659
I haven’t really tried this yet, but I get the idea and I love it. You can set this remote to work with your device and upload the configuration. That way others can use it. Specifically, you can use it to trap other people!

The point of this is easy to use so I think it is straightforward to integrate and edit it. Maybe a little scary, but I bet a lot of people cd do it and it would be worth it.

I would say the main drawback here is the price. Once set, you will probably not need to go online for months (until you have purchased a new component to manage) so that the difficulty is limited.

Lastly, setting up any remote control will involve learning something and this is probably worth more or less than others if you are willing to spend money.

Basic: Sony RM-VL1000
The remote I have and I love it. It is learning so it is really available all over the world. It is the right size, weight, and shape of any hand. It has all the standard consoles w / o buttons, but also 4 buttons next to the LCD. You can customize these buttons to whatever you want and label them to what you want to. You can scroll through 3 “screens” of these buttons so that each component has 12 buttons arranged on the LCD buttons.

Pre-configured w / parts most common and those settings use LCD buttons if needed, but you can change any of the buttons to customize.

It can control up to 12 components which is a lot common to most people, but you can set the volume to always control the same device. I have my volume buttons that always control the stereo even though the other buttons run TiVo. Similarly, I have my power button set on my TV even when working on TiVo.

It has a built-in macro ‘plug-in’ that locks all parts of Sony. You can define some macros yourself and use them on the timer (I have set my TiVo set aside every night).

It hurts to set up but once done it is set and worth it.
And it’s cheap!

Consider all factors when purchasing an international remote control: whether reading, macros, timer, size, shape, weight, cost, buttons, set, etc. What is important to you?

If you are willing to spend money, I can get Harmony. If not, I may find the Sony VL1000 – (probably) hard to stop, but very cheap and has a great remote control.

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