You've probably noticed my obsession with remote controls. The problem is that I want a "smart" remote that doesn't require a degree to use so it's nice when an inexpensive "learning" remote like the Sony RM-VL600 Remote Control comes along. RemoteCentral.com has an in-depth seven page review (yep, 7 pages) of the RM-VL600 that states:
Sony's proud tradition of economical universal remotes that are actually usable continues with the very capable RM-VL600 at a price of only $29.95. And while I've always been a fan of products that do more while costing less, I can't say that that the RM-VL600 is a completely successful upgrade over the RM-VL710, although truthfully that opinion is almost entirely due to the unusually high expectations imparted by that remote.
More devices, more macros, a larger code database and a better key layout are all great improvements, but attempting to deliver this at such a low price point has both impacted overall quality and continued to prevent certain much-needed features from being added, such as button backlighting. But with that said, in a market where price really is the most important factor this remote simply will not disappoint when held up against the currently-available competition.
Sounds pretty decent for a remote around $25.00. Be sure to check out the full review.
We've featured a lot of cool remotes here at TVSnob but nothing like the Monster AVL-300. Besides being a highly customizable TV remote, it also functions as a Home Automation remote. According to PopGadget.net:
I’ve spent some face time with the Monster Central AVL-300 home automation remote over the last two weeks. The AVL-300 remote is an all-in-one programmable home theater remote control, but it’s also a controller for Monster's IlluminEssence automated lighting systems. By integrating the two systems together seamlessly the company has produced a very powerful remote with a great feature set. However, that level of control adds a level of complexity that makes the learning curve for the initial setup a little steep.
The article states that overall:
The Monster 300 is a solid remote for controlling a full featured audio video system, and at $600 it’s priced within the realm of reason. Buying separate home theater and lighting controllers with comparable features would cost close to $600, and there’s a lot to be said for the convenience of having all the necessary features in the palm of your hand.
Of course at $600 this remote won't be for everyone, but it'll definitely be something to look at if you also need home automation control.
Tired of those sissy little remotes? Then check out these monster from Brookstone:
With giant buttons, this extra-large remote is easy to use and impossible to lose. Simple to program, this 6-in-1 remote controls your TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite, cable and auxiliary A/V device. It even features glow-in-the-dark buttons, so you can easily find the remote in the dark. Features 296 codes for most popular brands of A/V devices. Uses two AA batteries (not included).
Before you buy this remote (MSRP $35), you might want to reinforce the legs on your coffee table.
A few weeks ago we mentioned Logitech Harmony 720 Remote, which we really dig because of it's sleek design. There's another sleek remote that came out a few months ago that we neglected to mention. The Phiips SRU9600 Universal Touchscreen Remote is a pretty snazzy touch-screen remote and according to the review at I4U.com:
The SRU9600 uses a straight forward process to add a device. To configure my TV, I first select TV with the click wheel from the list. Next I choose the brand. The Philips SRU9600 has 1,100 brands in its database. I have tried it with a cheap Daewoo TV and the remote has this brand in its list. Now the remote tries to find the right device. For that I need to switch on the TV and then hold the OK button until the TV switches off. While I hold the OK button the remote cycles through available codes. I my case the TV switched off with the first code. I release the OK button and that was it. The remote is now able to control my TV with all functions.
One important tip is to think about which devices you use in sequence. you cannot change the order of the devices after you configured them on the click wheel. What I mean her is that you usually use your TV first and then the cable box. If you programmed your DVD player after the TV then you always have to scroll over the DVD component to reach the Cable Tuner.
The SRU9600 is pretty sweet and comes in around $130 which isn't too bad for a touch-screen remote.
I've probably mentioned how much I dig remotes controls on steriods. One of the newer super remotes on the block is the Logitech Harmony 720 which I really like because it's designed for one-handed use. According to this review at I4U.DigitalTrends.com:
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Harmony remote line is the ability to program it through a PC. Install the software on your computer (or use the web interface for Macs), plug in the remote, and a start tweaking. The process for initially setting up the remote takes approximately 10-15 minutes, but more inquisitive users could spend anywhere up to hours messing with each parameter and tweaking each setting. Most people with the skills to use a regular remote will have no trouble setting up the Harmony 720 in most configurations.
Power users will find the extensive use of Wizards and question based solutions a little annoying. For instance, we still cannot figure out how we managed to get our Yamaha receiver to toggle the 6 Channel Input when it leaves the Home Theater PC activity. But, it works. Users can adjust everything from the slide show that displays in the cradle, to the pause between commands being sent to individual components. Finding the screen where they’re done can be slightly annoying, but with a little work, it all comes together.
Overall, I agree with their conclusion:
If you’re looking for a great middle range universal remote with all the bells and whistles, the Logitech Harmony 720 should be at the top of your list. The unique combination of stylish aesthetics and an intuitive interface is sure to impress everyone at first sight. Not only does it look nice and operate well, but it is affordable and solidly built. If the $200 price tag puts you off, the cheaper, monochrome 550 model offers many of the same features for less.
It's amazing how fancy remote controls are getting (and yes a bit expensive too!). Logitech has just announced their newest remote today, the Harmony 1000. According to the press release:
DENVER — Sept. 12, 2006 — CEDIA — Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) has reinvented the Harmony® remote control. Adding a touch of luxury to its award-winning family of Harmony advanced universal remote controls, the company unveiled its new flagship Harmony 1000 remote, which includes a striking, color touch-sensitive screen. While it looks as expensive as traditional high-end, custom-installed remotes, the Harmony 1000 remote is more affordable, is easier for consumers to set up, and sets a new standard for ease of use.
“The Harmony 1000 remote delivers affordable luxury — it simplifies control of today´s complicated home-entertainment systems at a fraction of the price of traditional custom-installed remotes, and it´s luxurious in its sophisticated design, which adds an element of prestige to any living room,” said Bryan McLeod, vice president of Logitech´s remote control products. “The Harmony 1000 remote is the interface that people crave for their home-entertainment system — it´s sleek, it´s easy to use with its one-touch activity based control, and it comes without a prohibitive price.”
The Harmony 1000 remote´s touch-sensitive screen makes the renowned Harmony activity control even easier by displaying the important controls when they are immediately relevant. And unlike some of today´s high-end universal remotes, the Harmony 1000 remote controls any device with an infrared receiver — including VCRs, digital video recorders, high-definition televisions, and many household appliances. Using radio frequency (RF) technology, the Harmony 1000 remote can also control multi-room entertainment systems and high-end components hidden behind closed doors, when used in combination with the optional Logitech® Harmony® Wireless Extender (sold separately). Meanwhile, its stunning brushed-chrome and piano-black finish makes the Harmony 1000 remote an aesthetic complement to today´s most sophisticated living rooms
Some of the basic features include:
3.5-inch color screen
Nine fixed buttons
Activity-based control by using patented Smart State Technology
Optional Logitech Harmony Wireless Extender
Discrete codes and infrared commands of the more than 175,000 devices from more than 5,000 manufacturers
As far as pricing and availability:
The Harmony 1000 remote is expected to be available in both the U.S. and Europe later this fall for a suggested retail price of $499.99 in the U.S. The Logitech Harmony Wireless Extender will be available at the same time for $149.99 in the U.S. and Europe.
Very Nice! We look forward to checking the Harmony 1000 out and we'll be sure to let you know what we think. For those of you who dig fancy remotes, also be sure to check out our full review of the Philips RC9800i Touch Screen Remote
I just love products that help maintain my high degree of laziness. It's important to me that when I change the channels on my TV that I use a few muscles as possible, so I'm deeply intrigued by the InVoca Voice Activated Remote. According to OhGizmo:
The InVoca remote will accept up to 54 different voice commands and can recognize up to 4 different voices. It even allows you to setup macros and execute them with a single command. (ex. Power on DVD player, switch to component input then play.) It also includes rechargeable batteries and a charging base so you hopefully won’t ever need to scramble for fresh batteries.
Although I know nothing about this remote, I'm guessing it's probably easier and faster to use a regular remote than a voice activated remote but who knows. We'll try to get a hold of the InVoca and let you know what we think.
Lately, we've been getting a lot of emails about remote controls. The emails range from questions about the best remote to buy all the way to how to find remote codes. Because we love our readers so much, we'll start offering more content about remote controls in the near feature.
In the meantime, we wanted to point out one of our favorite remote control resources on the net, RemoteCentral.com. If you're looking for reviews, news, forums, or just about anything else having to do with remote controls, you won't go wrong with RemoteCentral.com.