Universal/smart remote advice? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 4 Old 08-19-11, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Universal/smart remote advice?

Does anyone have a remote that they REALLY like? I've had a couple remotes over the years but never one that I really stayed with.

I was looking at the Prontos - but I can't tell if they did shut down or not?

I've looked at one of the iPad solutions, but I think I want something a little less device heavy.

(Aka, my wife has an iPad, I'm not dying to go get one... and I don't want to leave one in the basement - or go buy one and then have to bring it down there to use it. )
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-20-11, 03:56 PM
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Re: Universal/smart remote advice?

Let me ask you, have you ever experienced any kind of touch-screen-based remote in your theater? In the case of the pronto, if you like to tinker and spend end-less hours programming youll end up with the most slick and customizable remote available on a consumer level. Theres lots of resources to help get it set up but it still takes lots of time and patience. And for the effort what you end up with, from the perspective of an old-school front projection guy, is a large unwieldy remote that has almost zero tactile properties, requires you look at it to operate it and ruins your light-adjusted eyesight in the process, and a remote that eats batteries (or a charge) like its going out of style. S-E-X-Y, customizable and well supported but in my opinion impractical for a serious channel-surfing-front-projection environment. I had owned a Marantz RC9500 for quite some time, very nice remote just like the Pronto. Got rid of it for the reasons mentioned above and the fact that it had a battery pack that wasnt compatible with my battery-based IR repeater system (critical in my theater)....

So that leaves us with more practical traditional solutions, Harmony remotes are the biggest and most popular solution for a reason. Excellent support, easy to program, huge selection and some models dont actually sacrifice tactile function for looks. Ive used the old 659 for years, its a fair remote but its power-hungry, not the best balanced or ergonomic remote Ive ever used, and ironically Ive found things it wont control.

That leads us to my favorite type, heres an example of what I consider a remote; notice it has back-lighting, good spread and raise on the buttons, it has no real display and it appears to be well balanced and designed for serious user-oriented operation for the buttons you use the most...

Now thats an older home theater master sl9000 but the general build idea is the same in that class of remote, model and manufactures are numerous. Admittedly that is the exact type remote that came with my first avr in my first theater but it was also a killer remote for a long time and was very user friendly.

Today I use the included remote that came with my onkyo 3007, very good remote that has taken every code Ive ever thrown at it (unlike my 659) and is very user friendly. In my zone 2 theater I use the harmony 659, it does the trick. Heres the onkyo remote:

Balanced, well spaced and shaped buttons, back lighting, universally programmable and easy to use, the only advantage a touch screen has over a traditional remote is customized button labels...

One of the best sources for remote control reviews:

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post #3 of 4 Old 08-25-11, 10:43 AM
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Re: Universal/smart remote advice?

I'm guilty of remote clutter, and I suppose I could program most basic functions into the remote for my Denon 2802 like I had in my old setup... but I still have reservations about moving to a universal. There are lots of things I do fairly regularly (like switching surround mode from DPL to Neo:6, or cnanging sources to the more obscure ones like VCR1 for example) that I'm not convinced a 3rd party universal would do well. I know they CAN do everything, but how confusing does it get?

As another example, a friend of mine has a remote similar to the first one posted by TypeA. Ah... here it is:

It looks nice, feels great, with a non-slip coating, and is well lit. I actually quite admired it. The problem came when I had to use it and he wasn't there... what changes the TV video source to the Xbox? How about the reciever? , what did I just disable...? To me, the problem is assigning buttons will be less intuitive, especially if you have to get creative. YOU might remember where they are, but other people will likely get lost. If that matters to you.

Now that I think about it, I am probably better off programming the simple common instructions for my TV, BDP and WD Live into the Denon's learning remote, and keeping the functionality it has for the more detailed receiver-specific operations. Just my .02˘ though.

- OJ -
DIY Ported Original Tempest Sub (offline)
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Last edited by Owen Bartley; 08-25-11 at 10:47 AM. Reason: reducing huge image
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-25-11, 11:44 AM
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Re: Universal/smart remote advice?

I really like my Harmony One, well, yeah, maybe....
Okay the only problem is the motion sensor, it should wake up when you shake it/pick it up, not so good anymore. That is the only problem. I love the customization. It controls my Onkyo 5007, my TV (mitsu), PS3 (with an adapter), Oppo, X10 devices, cable box, roku, HTPC, whole house fan and can be customized in many different ways. You want more options on the touch screen, do it! You want less, do it! Change the buttons around everything. You have a 3007, you can customized the touch screen and have a macro for "watch TV", "listen to nas", listen to radio, listen to usb, listen to ipod, turn on HTPC, watch blu ray, play ps3, what ever. It sets the source and turns on only what you need. So easy even my wife can use it. The macros are the best, when I watch my blu ray on my oppo the macro is huge because I turn on all four subs, tactile drivers, xpa-3, dim lights and all sorts of stuff. For tv I turn on one sub and leave the rest off.

11, it is one louder.
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