Why you need to spend $100 on a universal remote

Mon, Mar 2, 2009


Remote Controls

Photo By Redjar

Now that you have amassed this this collection of gadgets (flat screen TV, DVD player, Hi Def cable box, etc.) you have 4 or 5 remotes scattered around your couch. What’s worse, when your friends show up and you try to show off your warez, they seem to lose interest in your great setup once you start grabbing for different remotes.

Those $15-$50 universal remotes you see hanging in bubble packages all over your local Best Buy are good, but let’s face it, they really don’t cut it. You are still left constantly changing which device should be controlled on the remote, and at the end of the day, most of the functionality isn’t really there – bottom line, they just don’t cut it.

Enter the $100+ remote market.

These remotes provide a tremendous amount of control over your home media setup. They are generally very easy to program, usually through a USB cable connected to your PC and have easy-to-navigate software to assist you with programming them (no more toggling through 15-20 different three digit codes for that Panasonic TV).

I purchased a Logitech Harmony remote and found it to be everything listed above. Set up was a breeze. After setting up an account with Logitech, I added my devices and then began setting up macros. Macros is what separates these remotes from the rest. When you want to watch a DVD, you need to turn on your DVD player, your TV and your stereo and the select the DVD input on the TV and your receiver, right? The cursor keys and select button on the remote should control the DVD player as well, but the volume should be controlled on the receiver. Then, when you want ot watch TV, you have to turn on the cable box and the switch the TV and stereo to the cable inputs. Sounds confusing, right? This is why your standard universal remotes just don’t cut it.

After the macros are set up, I plugged in my remote and downloaded all the information via the USB cable. After a few minutes, everything was programmed correctly – it’s just that easy.

With the Harmony remote (as well as other many other brands in the price range), when I select “Watch TV”, it sets everything up the way it should be. TV on; Cable Box on; Stereo on; and all inputs set correctly. When it’s time to watch a movie, select “Watch Movie” and your cable box turns off, your DVD player is turned on, and all inputs are set accordingly. Anyone who sits in your living room can begin watching whatever they want with no problems at all.

If you are looking to compare universal remotes currently out there, I strongly suggest that you check out Remote Central. They have a very extensive collection of reviews on just about every remote control out there. Mind you, you can pay up to $15oo for a universal remote if you want!

Which universal remote are you using?

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