Solving Remote Clutter

Solving Remote Clutter

When I brought home the Universal Gamer Remote, the first question asked of me was "Why?" Answering it, I felt like an infomercial host.

"It solves the problem of clutter in your living room," I blurted. I got a blank stare in response.

"Are you tired of always hunting for the right remote control? Imagine using your cable box, television, Xbox 360, PS2, DVD player and audio device all with one remote!" I entreated. Still nothing.


When my parents got a "universal" remote, I developed a strong antipathy toward remotes that have to be trained through an awkward code-entering mechanism. So when my home theatre started growing toward the unmanageable (that is, I hit five individual remotes), I did some research and wound up buying a Logitech Harmony remote -- the kind that comes with a USB cable. You plug it into your computer and select your devices from popup menus. Then you create a set of "activities" by defining which devices to include and what (if any) settings they require, and assign labels to the buttons (which are seated next to a small screen).

The end result is that I can sit down on my futon, press a single button, and have my TV, receiver, A/V switch, and Xbox 360 all activate and set themselves to the appropriate inputs.

It's also weighted at the right end (that is, the end in your hand).

I got one of the low-end ones, but the uglier ones with large colour screens can be pricey. I'll say this, too: whoever designed the interface for the web-based configuration utility needs to be let go and replaced, at least as a first step in Logitech's Continuous Improvement process, by a trained monkey. It works, but it's pretty cumbersome... still, it's a lot better than configuring it manually with device codes.

I, personally, find it easier to have a different remote for every device. I'm only going to be using one of them at a time plus the TV itself, so all you really need to know is which one goes to which.

Of course, all my life I have been strangely amicable to getting up and using the buttons, like an old man or pre-cambrian fish would.

We use a Logitech Harmony, (apparently one of the uglier ones?), and it works beautifully. As per Bongo Bill's statement that you'd only be using one at a time plus the TV itself, I guess if that's the case, sure, it's not so bad. Personally, in order to watch a DVD, we'd have to mess with the TV, the DVD player, and the receiver. And we would have to use them in sequence. As Ajar mentions, with the Harmony, you hit "Watch DVD", and the TV turns on to the correct input, the Receiver turns on the to the correct input and output, and the DVD player turns on. The remote then settles into its "Watch DVD" mode, providing you with DVD specific commands.

It's automagical.

Our Virgin Media remote has a kind-of built-in Universal Remote function thing going on, but we just changed our TV and can't find the manual that came with it to explain how to reprogram the thing for the new HD set - so we're back to two remotes. :"(

It always amuses me how trying to get universal remotes to work/use usually ends up taking more time than just flipping devices.

I've been using my yamaha receivers remote as it doubles as a poor mans universal remote.

For me it does the trick because I can power on my tv, receiver and dvd player, change channels and volume and control a dvd without having to juggle multiple remotes. That pretty much covers 99% of what I do infront of the tv (that requires an IR remote anyway......)

Unforunately I still need to have all my other remotes around for things like changing the aspect ratio on the TV when my gamecube games dont support widescreen, etc. so my lounge room isnt any tidier.

Might have to look into the logitech remote, it sounds great.

It sit on the carpet in front of my TV... where I can reach all my devices.

Seems like there's a whole world of fun I'm missing out on here !

Dom Camus:
It sit on the carpet in front of my TV... where I can reach all my devices.

Oh wow, I have this awesome image in my head of a little kid sitting on the carpet about 2 inches away from his tv, eyes glazed, controller in hand. Brings back some memories that does!!


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