UNIVERSAL REMOTE & ACCESSORY REVIEWS

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 26, 2009 0 comments
Price: $250 At A Glance: Exceptionally intuitive • Web-based setup procedure • Help function uses questions and answers to fix system problems • Programmable power-on, inter-key, inter-device delays

Pretty and Pretty Smart

I don’t know what they put in the water cooler at Logitech, but I want to start drinking it. The Harmony One is another in its long list of affordable universal remote controls. It looks great, is easy to program, and is sweetly simple to use. The Harmony One is as narrow as most single-device remotes, but it’s thinner and surprisingly light. It’s even easier to hold and use. At the business end is a bright 1.25-by-1.5-inch color touchscreen with enough resolution that you can easily recognize the tiny DVD logo on the DVD player icon. The backlit hard keys are distinctly grouped together by function (transport, numeric keypad, etc.). Although the individual keys are only slightly larger than those on an average remote, each has its own unique shape and is spaced far enough apart so that you can easily use the remote for basic operations without looking at it. The Harmony One includes a built-in motion sensor that’s supposed to wake the remote when you pick it up. It’s not super sensitive, though, so sometimes you’ll need to give the remote a quick shake to bring it to life. To recharge the battery, just place the remote in its horizontal charging cradle. My older Harmony 890 is sometimes finicky and refuses to make contact—and therefore doesn’t charge—when resting in its cradle. This one has a deeper well that ensures a solid connection between the contact points on the remote and the charging cradle. By the way, the rechargeable battery is removable and replaceable, much like a cordless phone’s battery. This makes it environmentally friendly, and it won’t force you to buy a new remote when the battery finally expires.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 26, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,499 At A Glance: 6.4-inch diagonal color touchscreen • Motion sensor • Built-in IR, RF, and Wi-Fi • Kicks all other remotes controls’ butts

My Remote Can Beat Up Your Remote

If you like car analogies (I don’t, but I’ll use one here anyway), RTI’s T4 is the Hummer of universal remote controls. At a little more than 9 by 6 inches (not to mention over 2.5 inches thick), it’s a monster that will dwarf nearly everything else sitting on your coffee table. It weighs 2 pounds. It sports an LCD touchscreen that by itself is larger than most other remote controls. At this point, you’re probably thinking that the prime consumer demographic for the T4 is the guy who feels the need to make up for some, shall we say, inadequacy in his personal life.

David Vaughn Posted: Dec 29, 2008 0 comments

Who needs a universal remote? As far as I'm concerned, just about anyone with a media system, even as simple as a DVD player connected to a TV. Almost every piece of A/V equipment sold today offers its own remote with "universal" functionality, but these are cumbersome and offer limited programmability compared to third-party remotes.

Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 27, 2008 2 comments

Perhaps the most important aspect of any home-entertainment system is how you control it. What good is a pristine picture and sublime sound if members of your family—or even you—can't easily enjoy it? Each device has its own remote control with a different layout, making it nearly impossible for anyone to operate the system effectively.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Mar 10, 2008 0 comments
Lighting control for cowards.

When selecting products to review, I like to tackle new categories. Every new genre I explore provides the opportunity to better understand the industry as a whole. There is, however, one category that I've avoided like the plague: lighting systems. Why? Because my mama taught me never to stick fingers, screwdrivers, or any other conductive material into a wall socket. I have a healthy fear of my mama and an even healthier fear of performing any task that might lead to electrocution, fire, or total protonic reversal.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 08, 2007 0 comments

HDMI connections, combined with a pristine source and a great display, can produce beautiful images, perhaps the best ever available to consumers. But the format has not been trouble free. Even if we ignore consideration of which version of HDMI we're dealing with, and the length limitations of the connections, more than a few videophiles have had problems getting HDMI some combinations of source, display, and switcher to work together.

Joel Brinkley Posted: Jun 17, 2007 0 comments

Like many of you, I assume, a welter of remotes sits on the table next to my TV watching chair. Among them are remotes for the TV, the preamp/processor, the DVR, three DVD players, a CD player ... nine in all.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 02, 2007 Published: Jun 02, 2007 0 comments
Wash, rinse, condition, repeat.

I don't personally believe in fairies, nymphs, leprechauns, or even the boogeyman. In a rational, engineering-driven world, there's little room for such simpleminded fantasies. Reason, and reason alone, can explain the universe at large. Logic isn't only for Vulcans (now there's something I can believe in); it makes our part of the galaxy go around, too. That being said, I'm beginning to grudgingly accept the existence of gremlins—gear gremlins—as I don't have any other explanation for the last two months of nothing but misfortune and malfunction when it's come to anything electronic in my home.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: May 21, 2007 Published: Apr 21, 2007 0 comments
Got a converged home? Get a converged remote.

What distinguishes a good universal remote from a great one? A good remote controls all of your components the way you need it to; a great one controls those components the way you want it to. Customization and advanced functionality are the keys, and UEI's NevoSL universal controller has both. The NevoSL's software-based programming and UEI's extensive code database combine to produce an excellent home theater controller, but this product's real strength lies in its ability not just to control but to create a converged home.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
Is it possible to improve the greatest invention since the wheel?

If I needed any additional proof of the iPod's ubiquitous nature, I found it the other day when my son pointed out a state trooper with an iPod stuffed into his uniform shirt pocket and telltale white earbuds popped in his ears. I'm sure the trooper was perfectly capable of doing his law-enforcing job whilst enjoying a tune or two, but the thought of state troopers packing iPods gave me pause. What's next? Carthusian monks contemplating God's gift of the click wheel while rocking out to some Gregorian chant?

John Higgins Posted: Apr 12, 2006 0 comments
This Isn't Your Grandfathers Remote Control.

Say the words "universal remote" to some, and disturbing visions of programming a remote button by button fill their minds. Quite often, after these long, intimate sessions between you and your remotes, the universal remote doesn't perform exactly as expected, and you find yourself keeping the old remotes within reach in case something doesn't work as planned. After some time passes, the old remotes are used more often and the universal remote eventually disappears beneath the couch to be forgotten. So, why bother with another remote that supposedly does everything?

Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 15, 2006 0 comments
You know you need some accessories.

The vast capabilities of the Sony PlayStation Portable are realized not only with the latest games and movies, but with the targeted devices and software that pop in, snap on, and lord over the content and hardware. The following items are HT Gamer tested and approved.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 28, 2005 0 comments
Have my buns finally met their match?

Back in the days when I was a Quentin Tarantino wannabe, when I manned the counter at my local video store, I made frequent use of a rickety old metal stool as I pounded the computer keys. This prompted my boss to observe, "You like to sit more than anyone I know." Whether he ran with an especially prone crowd—or perhaps the rigors of retail work simply made my knees weak—I did set a precedent, and I appreciate finer seating to this very day. But, now that my fondness for home theater consumes my every waking moment—and some of my dreams—I welcomed the chance to test-drive something different, something bold: 5Binc.'s RX2 5.1 Media Chair.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 02, 2005 0 comments

Power conditioning has long been an assumed requirement for the best audio-video systems. And there's no shortage of manufacturers lining up to supply the perceived need. Need line filtering, surge and spike protection, and multiple outlets? Ding! There are dozens of choices, some more effective than others. Need a device that will not only clean up your power line, but also maintain 120 volts when your power company is straining to keep up with demand? Ding! The field narrows, but there are products out there that will do that, too. Need battery backup in case of a partial or complete power failure? Bzzzt! Wrong question. Until recently, you'd have to look for that in the computer department of you're nearby electronics supermarket.

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